A year ago, the Louisville High girlsbasketball team played a league game during finals week. The result was 22% shooting from the field and a 41-36 loss to Chaminade, the Royals' only league loss of the season.
Tuesday afternoon at Louisville, the Royals again played a league game during finals week.
"I was worried about another lackluster performance," Louisville Coach Brian O'Hara said. "I thought we'd shoot about 35%."
Instead, the Royals shot 50% and took over first place in the San Fernando Valley League with a 61-56 victory over Alemany.
Louisville, which led by 19 points early in the fourth quarter, is 5-0 in league and 13-4 overall. The Indian Maidens fell to 5-1 in league and 10-5 overall.
Andrea Knapp, like her team, made 50% of her shots to pace Louisville. Knapp, a 6-2 junior center, finished with 23 points, making 11 of 22 from the field. She also had a team-high 18 rebounds.
Knapp scored the game's first basket, but then made only three of 10 shots the rest of the half.
Alemany had even more problems than Knapp, making only 9 of 33 shots (27%) in the first half. The Indian Maidens trailed by only five, 26-21, at the half by playing tenacious defense.
But Alemany never could find its shot, hitting just 20 of 65 (31%) for the game. Alemany's top two scorers--Jennifer Kroll and Jenny Beubis--both had sub-par performances from the field.
Kroll made only 5 of 19 shots, finishing with 13 points. Beubis had a team-high 19 points, but made only 5 field goals in 14 attempts.
"Jennifer is used to shooting against people 5-7 and 5-8," Alemany Coach Melissa Melton said. "In this game, when she turned around, she was shooting against people 6-2. She doesn't even face that in practice when she shoots against me."
Melton is 6-0, which means she would fit in nicely in the Louisville lineup. Besides Knapp, the Royals have two 5-10 starters, a 5-8 starter and another at 5-7.
Kroll, at 5-10, is the tallest Alemany starter.
"Jennifer and Jenny just couldn't get the boards, especially on offense," Melton said. "Jennifer is usually a force on the offensive boards."
Louisville maintained its five-point lead early in the third before going on a 12-2 run. Lynn Flanagan's layup with 1:17 left in the quarter gave Louisville a 44-29 lead. Flanagan had six points in the third quarter and finished with 14.
Knapp, who made seven of her 11 shots in the second half, was able to work her way inside effectively in the final 16 minutes. The Royals ran their set-offense more in the second half, with Knapp being the first option.
Knapp hit her season-average in both points and rebounds, but as O'Hara pointed out, "she's only played about 2 1/2 quarters in our other league games."
Before Alemany, no team had come closer than 22 points to Louisville in league. The Royals have won three league games by at least 52 points each.
Louisville didn't come close to beating Alemany by that type of score, but still was never threatened in the second half.
When Knapp hit her last basket with just over two minutes left, the Royals led, 58-42.
The victory was Louisville's sixth straight against Alemany over three seasons. Last season, Louisville defeated Alemany four times, including twice in league to grab the title.
That ended Alemany's streak of 14 consecutive years of at least sharing the league championship.
Louisville is on a streak of its own, having finished first in league the last three seasons--the first two tying with Alemany.
The Royals look like they'll make it four straight years of finishing first, provided they don't have a game similar to the one they had last year during finals.
Exams began Monday and run through Thursday. Louisville plays Bell-Jeff Thursday.
"We'll either be a totally jubilant team," O'Hara said, "or a totally tired one."