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Southern Section 4-A Girls : This Time, Muir Is Favored to Win Title

March 07, 1986|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | Times Staff Writer

Pasadena Muir High School has been there before, but not under quite the same circumstances.

The Mustangs, who will play Lynwood for the Southern Section 4-A girls' basketball championship at 8:45 tonight at Cal Poly Pomona, are the overwhelming favorites. That in itself is a change from past seasons.

Muir has advanced to the 4-A final for the third straight season, after losing to Compton last year and to Ventura Buena in 1984. Both times, the Mustangs were underdogs.

This season is different, though. Muir, ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today, has routinely beaten opponents by 30 points on its way to a 28-0 record.

In addition, the Mustangs have the Jordan twins, Pauline and Geannine, two of the Southern Section's best players.

Pauline, a 6-3 senior center, averages 24 points and 13.3 rebounds a game. Geannine, a 6-2 senior forward, averages 15.7 points and 12.1 rebounds.

They are the reason Muir is 40-0 in Pacific League play in the last four seasons, and the reason Muir won the prestigious Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions this season.

They're also the reason Muir has steam-rolled its playoff competition, including Gahr, a 68-35 victim in Tuesday's semifinal.

And when the Jordans don't take charge, there is 6-2 sophomore forward Tasha Bradley to help out, as she did against Gahr. With the Jordans in foul trouble, Bradley scored 12 points and had 15 rebounds.

So, how does Lynwood (26-3) defeat this juggernaut?

"We'll try so hard to keep them off of the boards, that's where they beat you," Lynwood Coach Van Girard said. "There's no way we can match up with them."

No one does, as Girard pointed out.

"The girls are not afraid of them," he said. "They're not intimidated. We are the underdog."

Despite that, the Knights gave the Mustangs a tough time in two games this season. Muir beat Lynwood, 43-34, in the first meeting and 54-38 in the second.

Plus, the Knights are coming off an emotional 48-46 upset victory over Buena in Tuesday night's semifinal game.

In that game, Trise Jackson, the Knights' leading scorer at 18.7 a game, made two free throws with 41 seconds left to win it.

Jackson is a 5-7 sophomore guard. Shurrell Johnson, the Knights' best rebounder with 15 a game, is only 5-9, and that may pose problems against Muir's formidable front line.

"Generally speaking, we have the size of a college team," Muir Coach Archie Newton said. "It's really nice to see (the Jordans) under the basket."

Muir's size may offset Lynwood's quickness. The Knights rely heavily on their fast break.

Still, it will be a big upset if the Knights win. But Girard said his team is thrilled to be in the final.

He said: "I told the girls, 'I want you to realize no matter what happens you've already made it farther than any other team from Lynwood. Just enjoy it. No one expects us to beat them.' "

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