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Alemany Girls Prevail in a Heated Struggle

February 21, 1988|VINCE KOWALICK | Times Staff Writer

It almost looked more like The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling than the Southern Section 3-A Division girls' playoff opener between Palmdale and Alemany highs Saturday night at Alemany.

"Inside, I don't know what was going on," Alemany Coach Melissa Melton complained.

Alemany, however, had little to bemoan after recording a 58-51 win. The Indians (21-3) play at El Toro on Wednesday in a second-round game.

"People were falling on the floor and nothing was being called," Melton said.

Actually, two busy referees whistled both teams a combined 33 times for various instances of unladylike conduct. Players repeatedly rolled on the floor for loose balls, resulting in eight tie-ups and exchanges of possession.

There would have been nine tie-ups, but Alemany's Cynthia Llerenas was called for a technical foul in the fourth quarter for continuing to wrestle for the ball after the whistle.

At one point, Palmdale Coach George Corisis leaped off the bench and screamed at the officials "Someone's going to get hurt."

Someone did. Alemany's Michelle Paul hit the floor hard after going up for a rebound in the third quarter and turned an ankle.

"Our guard got bumped to the ground. We knocked one of their players to the ground and what do they call? A jump ball," Corisis said. "The refs were pathetic."

Paul returned four minutes later and finished with eight points. But it was junior guard Sylvia Castanada who sparked the Indians. Castanada muscled inside for a game-high 12 points, including eight in the fourth quarter. Castanada fouled out with 1:55 to play, but Alemany led, 55-45.

"They were coming on pretty strong, but I knew we would pull it out," said Castanada, who sported a slight scratch on the side of her nose. "I think we could have had better refs, but we've played games that were more physical than this."

Said Melton: "She's broken a fall with her face before. Maybe she's been more physical, but this game was not typical."

Alemany, which led the entire game, took a 27-20 lead at halftime.

Palmdale (14-11), the third-place team from the Golden League, made its only serious challenge in the third quarter. Molly Johnhum, who finished with 10 points to tie Lorena Mejia for team-high honors, scored four points in the period.

Alemany was charged with 22 fouls; Palmdale was called for 11.

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