Talk about ruining a weekend.
During a Saturday scrimmage with Kennedy High, Westlake's top basketball player, Michelle Stevens, suffered a broken left hand.
"The rest of the weekend was very depressing," said Nancy Bowman, the Westlake coach.
Bowman could be excused for feeling less than chipper. After all, she was losing a two-time All-Southern Section player and a two-time Marmonte League MVP.
"At the Monday practice, the whole atmosphere was very sad," Bowman said. "The general feeling was, 'There goes the season.' "
Luckily, for both Bowman and the Warriors, Stevens' season was not over.
The 5-9 senior guard returned after missing the first eight games and promptly led Westlake to its third straight league championship.
Stevens' play earned her league MVP honors for the third consecutive time and a spot on The Times' All-Valley girls' basketball team for the second straight season.
"There is no question she is the most naturally talented individual I've had," Bowman said. "I think Michelle would have averaged 22 to 25 points a game without the injury."
As it turned out, Stevens averaged 19.1 points and 7.7 rebounds a game. She shot 54% from the field and had 3.9 steals a game.
Stevens, a four-year starter, was named the Ventura County Player of the Year and is a shoo-in to earn All-Southern Section honors again.
The Warriors were 3-5 without Stevens but finished the season 16-7. They lost in the quarterfinals of the 4-A playoffs to Compton, the eventual champion.
UC Irvine, Pepperdine, Hawaii and Loyola-Marymount are the leaders in the race for Stevens' services. UC Irvine is the favorite.
"She'll play off-guard in college," Bowman said. "Scoring is such a strong point of her game. With the smaller ball (used in college), she can be deadly from the outside."
Two girls who led Kennedy to the City 4-A title game also earned spots on the All-Valley team.
Stacy Parson, a 5-7 junior guard, led the Golden Cougars in scoring at 22.1 points a game. Her outside shooting helped Kennedy compile a 21-5 record and earn Parson the league MVP trophy.
Diane DeCree quickly established herself as one of the area's dominating big people, averaging 20 points and 15.5 rebounds for Kennedy. The 6-0 sophomore forward is the sister of Fonda DeCree, last year's Times Valley Player of the Year.
Louisville center Andrea Knapp helped end Alemany's streak of having won or shared a league title for 14 straight seasons. Knapp, a 6-1 sophomore, sparked her team to a 13-1 league mark and the San Fernando Valley League title.
Knapp averaged 18.7 points and 9.6 rebounds a game, shooting 55% from the field. She was named first-team all-league despite playing just 20 minutes a game. Louisville's average margin of victory in league was 32 points.
"She just works so hard during the season and in the off-season," Louisville Coach Brian O'Hara said. "She deserves whatever she gets."
Despite her team's second-place finish, Alemany's Ilene Hauser was named the league's MVP. The 5-7 senior guard, who has commited to San Diego State, led the team in scoring (17) and assists (six).
Another four-year starter, Hauser will probably make the All-Southern Section team for the fourth time.
"She is certainly one of the finest passers Alemany has ever had," coach Nancy Graziano said. "She was our quarterback."
Cathi Cotti of Bellarmine Jefferson was another player named to the All-San Fernando Valley League team. The 6-0 senior center led the Guards with 22.5 points and 12.6 rebounds a game.
Cotti, a third-team All-Southern Section performer last season, shot 62% from the field this year.
Kippie Brown was the driving force behind the Thousand Oaks team. The 5-8 senior guard scored an average of 12.8 a game for the Lancers.
Brown, a first-team All-Marmonte League selection, also had six assists and five steals an outing. She used her quickness to collect 9.8 rebounds a game, the second-highest total on the team.
The Lancer point guard has drawn interest from Hawaii, Georgetown and UC Irvine. Several small schools are also after Brown's services.
Monica Burke was also a diminutive player who was the mainstay of her team. Burke, a 5-6 senior guard, paced the Hart Indians with 22.6 points and 13 assists a game.
Louisville's O'Hara is a Burke admirer.
"She is one of the most underrated players around," O'Hara said. "She is unselfish and very quick and very smart. I wish we had her."
The All-Valley team is rounded out by two more centers.
El Camino Real's Michelle Kirby played organized basketball for the first time this season and the results were startling--18.3 points and 14 rebounds a game.
The 6-2 junior was dominating at times for the Conquistadores, scoring 31 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and blocking five shots in a game against Chatsworth.
Her mere presence in the middle of the key altered many opponents' shots.
"If she keeps working hard and improving," El Camino Coach Neils Ludlow said, "I see no reason why she will not score 25 to 30 points a game next year."
Kirby was named first-team all-league and team MVP.
Desiree Mims of Reseda collected more rebounds a game (18) than she did points (17). The 6-0 senior center was named the league's MVP after leading Reseda to a 9-1 mark and the co-championship with Van Nuys.
In a game against Verdugo Hills, Mims scored 40 points. The Regents went 12-2 on the season, losing in the first round of the playoffs to San Pedro.
All-Valley Girls Basketball Team
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. PPG Kippie Brown Thousand Oaks G 5-8 Sr. 12.8 Monica Burke Hart G 5-6 Sr. 22.6 Ilene Hauser Alemany G 5-7 Sr. 17.0 Stacy Parson Kennedy G 5-7 Jr. 22.1 Michelle Stevens Westlake G 5-9 Sr. 19.1 Cathi Cotti Bell-Jeff C 6-0 Sr. 22.5 Michelle Kirby El Camino Real C 6-2 Jr. 18.3 Andrea Knapp Louisville C 6-1 So. 18.7 Desiree Mims Reseda C 6-0 Sr. 17.0 Diane DeCree Kennedy F 6-0 So. 20.0