The Brea-Olinda High School girls' basketball team will tie a record when it plays East Tustin Foothill tonight in the Southern Section 3-A final at 7:30 in Kellogg Gymnasium at Cal Poly Pomona.
The game marks the Wildcats' fourth straight appearance in a Southern Section final, tying a record set by Riverside Poly starting in 1979.
There is one difference.
Riverside Poly, led by Cheryl Miller, won each time it appeared. Brea, 26-3 this season, has yet to win a championship game.
"We'll tie one record by appearing," said Mark Trakh, Brea coach, after the Wildcats had defeated Walnut in the semifinals. "I just hope we don't come all this way to set another record--losing four finals."
Brea shares the dubious honor of having lost three finals with Brawley and Cerritos Valley Christian. The Wildcats, however, are the only team to have lost three in a row.
Two of those losses were in the 2-A division, to Indio in 1983 and to Artesia in 1984.
Last season, the Wildcats were moved up to 3-A. They were 29-0, had a high national ranking and were highly favored against Foothill, a team they had beaten earlier in the season, in the final.
So what happened?
Brea's running game fell apart and Foothill's Chris McFerson, a 6-foot 1-inch junior center who averaged eight points during the season, scored 28, had 13 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocked shots, and Brea lost, 63-34.
For Foothill (28-1), McFerson's role has changed. Last season she complemented Knight guard Jennifer Osur, the 3-A player of the year. With Osur gone, McFerson's responsibilities have grown. So has she. Now 6-3, McFerson is Foothill's leading scorer and rebounder with averages of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
With her leading the way, the Knights have won 27 straight.
Foothill's front line is rounDed out By 6-1 Becky Sullivan and 5-11 Stephanie Fleischaker.
Fleischaker led Foothill with 19 points in the Knights' 63-53 semifinal win over Louisville.
To combat Foothill's strong front line, Brea has 6-1 forward Kristen McPhee and 6-2 Susan Tousey. Both have improved markedly from the beginning of the season, especially Tousey, a sophomore.
"She's only 15," Trakh said. "People keep forgetting that. She's going to make mistakes. But she's getting tougher with each game."
Brea's other forward, junior Carrie Egan, does most of her damage from the outside. Averaging 18 points a game during the season, Egan, one of the area's best perimeter shooters, has averaged 20 in four playoff games.