SAN DIEGO — The question most San Diego County girls' basketball observers are asking is can Point Loma High School be beaten in the San Diego Section 3-A playoffs?
At least two coaches say there is no way Point Loma, which is ranked No. 1 in the county and No. 3 in the state, will lose before the state playoffs. And both might add that the Pointers have a good chance to repeat as state champions for the third straight season.
Point Loma plays Mount Miguel in the semifinals Friday night at Serra High. Matador Coach Sewell Dutton does not expect any surprises from his team.
"We know we're going to get ripped," Dutton said with a laugh. "If we can stay within 30 points that will be an accomplishment for us. They could probably blow us away without working up much of a sweat."
After losing to the state's top-ranked team, Muir of Pasadena, in an early season tournament in Santa Barbara, Point Loma (25-1) has dominated San Diego County basketball. The Pointers beat No. 2 Southwest (23-2), which plays Lincoln in the 2-A semifinals Saturday at Serra High, by 40 points, 73-33. They beat Hilltop, 87-25 in the first round Tuesday.
Point Loma's 6-foot 2-inch forward Terri Mann led the county in scoring (27.0) and rebounding (17.0). Even when she missed three games with an injured ankle, the Pointers won all three easily.
Eastern League opponent Madison was the only San Diego team to come within 20 points of Point Loma, when it lost by 15 during Mann's absence. But Warhawk Coach RaNae Seaman said Point Loma probably wouldn't lose in the playoffs.
"That was our best game of the season," Seaman said. "I'm not so sure a team in San Diego can beat them. You would have to play the most outstanding game of your life as a team to beat them.
"The only way is to maybe get their starters in foul trouble and cause them to make a lot of turnovers. That's what we did. But Terri wasn't there."
Third-ranked Monte Vista is most likely to face Point Loma in the final next Saturday in the Sports Arena. The Monarchs (24-2), who play Madison Saturday at Mira Mesa High, are led by senior guard Paula Mascari. She led the county in scoring all season until the last game. That's when Mann, a junior, had 55 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists and 15 steals in Point Loma's 122-30 win over Mira Mesa.
Dutton, who played the Monarchs twice, says there is no way Monte Vista, or anyone, could beat Point Loma.
"Even on Monte Vista's best days, Point Loma is a far superior team," Dutton said. "I'm not trying to put down Monte Vista. I like (coach) Manny Silva. But I've seen Point Loma play a couple of times. If anyone beats them, it would be the upset of the century."