The schools split their Alpha League games this season, and both were reasonably close, Whittier winning by four points and Maranatha winning by two. “Yes, this time at least it seemed easier,” Heralds point guard Kim Yoshinaga said with a smile after she engineered the 19-point win. Whittier Christian spotted the Minutemen a quick basket and then went on an 8-0 run before finishing the opening quarter with an 11-7 lead. Neither team managed much offense in the second quarter, with the Heralds holding a 11-7 rebounding edge to increase their lead to 17-11 at halftime. “I thought we played a real gritty game for a first time in the semifinals,” coach Bill Crammer said. “We overcame our nerves in the second half and settled down. We played outstanding defense the whole game. “Jacko did a nice job of finishing off Whitley’s passes, and Whitley did a nice job of seeing the opportunity to get the ball to her.” Joseph finished with 12 points and Brown had eight rebounds. [email protected] (562)698-0955, Ext. 3046 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LA MIRADA – Whitley Brown scored 13 points and had six assists, leading Whittier Christian High School to a 42-23 victory over Maranatha in Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section, Division V-AA playoff semifinals at Biola University. The victory put the Heralds in the school’s first CIF championship game in the sport. “We all came out really hard. We had a lot of intensity. I’m so excited (to be in the finals). At the beginning, I didn’t think we would get this far. It seemed so far away at the time, the reality of it all.” Maranatha played without its leading scorer and rebounder, Natasha Herring, who missed the game because of a personal commitment. Without the 6-foot junior center, the Minutemen had no answer for Whittier Christian’s front line of 6-2 Jacko Joseph, 6-0 Kristen Schaefer and the 5-10 Brown. Brown was particularly effective in getting the ball inside to the other two, who helped the Heralds control the boards. “Without Natasha, we couldn’t prevent their big players inside from getting the ball,” Maranatha coach Duane Takayama said.