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Girls' Division III : Woodlake Reaches Final Again

March 16, 1986|ROBERT YOUNT | Times Staff Writer

For the Yucca Valley girls' basketball team, the Sports Arena was intimidating. And confusing. When play stopped during the Division III Southern Regional Saturday, Trojan players frequently gazed toward the seats, as if in awe of it all.

However, for Yucca Valley's opponent, it was old hat. Woodlake of Tulare County, the Central Section 1-A winner and defending state champion, rolled into its third straight state final with a 52-31 win over Yucca Valley that was more lopsided than the score might indicate.

Woodlake (23-2) will face Calaveras in the State Division III final at Oakland Saturday.

Woodlake starts three seniors, including four-year starter Michele Vincent.

In a game decided on composure and experience more than anything else, Vincent took control at the outset, scoring 12 points as Woodlake increased a 4-2 lead into an 18-4 advantage. Vincent finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Yucca Valley, which starts two sophomores and three juniors, could manage only 10 points in the first half, although it moved through the Woodlake full-court press with relative ease. The Lady Tigers later switched to a zone.

"I decided we'd drop back and force them to shoot from outside," Woodlake Coach Marvin Welch said. "They weren't shooting that well from outside."

The Trojans shot 11 of 48 from the field and could do little about the defensive rebounding of Vincent and Carie Pever, who had 11 points. This didn't leave much space for Yucca Valley scoring.

"The arena really affected us," said Yucca Valley Coach Ginny Pelton. "We were nervous at the beginning, and they came out very fast. We weren't nearly as aggressive, and I think nerves have a lot to do with it," she said.

Becky Geeson, a 5-10 junior forward, led Yucca Valley with 11 points and 9 rebounds, and sophomore Hilary Brown added a game-high 17 rebounds.

Yucca Valley, which saw its 21-game winning streak snapped, finished at 26-3.

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