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2-A Girls : Arena Aura Tests Newcomers

March 08, 1986

SAN DIEGO — For most high school basketball players, the thrill of advancing to the CIF finals is nearly overshadowed by the chance to play in the coveted Sports Arena, which has played host to some of the NBA's top players.

Girls from San Marcos and Southwest high schools get their first opportunity to play at the Sports Arena today, when the teams meet in the 2-A final at 2:30 p.m.

In recent years, Southwest (24-2) has seen its hopes for advancing to the final erased in the early rounds of the playoffs. For San Marcos (25-3), the story has been relatively the same, since the Knights beat Chula Vista, 59-38, to capture the title in 1982.

Southwest Coach John Boone hopes his team won't be overcome with the thought of playing at the arena.

"Playing at the Sports Arena probably would affect any team," Boone said. "I hope we can channel that excitement in the right direction."

The bigger, more physical San Marcos team may have a slight advantage over the Raiders under the basket, but Southwest's 5-foot 11-inch forward Michele Wilkes will be the tallest player on the court. Wilkes will have to deal with San Marcos senior Debbie Hartwig, 5-9 1/2.

Raider point guard Nancy Caparaz, 5-3, could also prove to be a nuisance to the Knight offense. Caparaz has written herself into the section record books the past three seasons under the steals column. This season, Caparaz, the Raiders' only four-year varsity starter, is averaging 9 steals and 14.5 points a game.

Robin Paladino and Hartwig have paced the Knights this season, averaging 19.9 and 15.3 a game.

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