Saturday's 1-A girls' basketball final between San Dimas and Valley Christian high schools at 9 a.m. at Long Beach Arena shapes up as a battle of opposites.
Montview League champion San Dimas (26-2) is a quick team, relying on a pressure man-to-man defense to set up a running offense. Valley Christian (19-7), the third-place finisher in the Olympic League, is a defensive team, one that has held every playoff opponent under 40 points.
But the most important difference may be the five seniors who will start for San Dimas, compared to four sophomores and one junior for the Lady Crusaders.
"There's no doubt that I would rather go into a game with more experience," said Valley Christian Coach Eleanor Dykstra, trying for her second win in five tries in the final.
Will experience play a factor?
"Hopefully," said San Dimas Coach William Wakeley. "(But) we've never been this far before, either."
This is a rematch of a second-round playoff game of a year ago, won by Valley Christian, 46-38. "They took our guards out of that game," Wakeley said.
His team is the favorite this time, though, what with three All-Montview League players from the squad that lost to Valley Christian.
Wakeley's Saints use a full-court press to force turnovers and set up their fast-break offense. But they proved against top-seeded Santa Clara that they can play the half-court game, too.
"Our press was not at all effective against (Santa Clara). They had us down 11-3 at the start. From that point on it was basically a half-court game, and we were able to win it (50-48)," Wakeley said.
"If that happens again (a halfcourt game), we will be able to hang in there."
Audrey Perkins leads the Saints on offense. She averaged 19 points a game during the regular season. Forward Kandi Eckard is pulling down nearly 14 rebounds a game.
Valley Christian is basically a power team, based on the rebounding strength of Donna Pollema, Kari Parriott, and Corinna De Young, who averaged 13, 13 and 12 rebounds a game, respectively. Parriott, a 6-0 sophomore, has caught fire in the playoffs and is averaging almost 16 points a game, two more than her season average.