SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Feeding off of their spark plug, sophomore guard Ellie Monson, San Marcos controlled the first half of the program's first ever CIF-SS semifinal appearance in girls basketball.
The Royals led 29-22 at the break against #1 seed Oaks Christian in a Division 3A matchup at the Thunderhut.
But the Lions put the clamps down on the Royals in the second half holding them to just ten total points as Oaks Christian won 44-39 to advance to the finals where they will host Shadow Hills on Saturday.
The Royals jumped out to a 15-12 lead after the first quarter as Mia Martinez, Natasha Bender and Monson all connected on three-point shots.
They extended the lead on a couple of driving layups by the fearless, 5'2 Monson who had a team-high 13 points.
Her assist to Carly Nielsen for a layup gave San Marcos a 27-14 lead.
But the Lions roared back in the third quarter behind freshman Brooklyn Shamblin who is from Carpinteria.
She scored 9 of her team's 11 points in that quarter as Oaks Christian took a 33-31 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Shamblin scored a game-high 15 points.
Oaks Christian gradually built up a 42-33 lead as the Royals made just 3 second half field goals.
San Marcos expects to play in next week's CIf-State Tournament.