RAMONA — The Ramona High School girls' basketball team went from the Dawghouse to the penthouse Wednesday night when they dismantled Bakersfield Highland, 54-38, in a Southern California Regional Division III tournament semifinal.
It was the final game of 1988 in the raucous Ramona gym, which the Bulldogs and their fans like to call the Dawghouse. The girls' next stop: the Division III championship, against the winner of today's Lemoore-Lincoln game, at 11:15 a.m. Saturday in the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
The Bulldogs (19-7) were led by 6-foot junior Meleea Van Patton, who finished with 23 points and 9 rebounds. Junior Kris Miller, also 6-feet, had 8 points and 7 rebounds. Junior guard Gina Tamburrino had 14 points.
Ramona scored the game's first nine points and subsequently went ahead, 12-2, before settling for a 14-5 lead after the first quarter. Van Patton had 9 of Ramona's 14.
But Highland (7-15) scored eight unanswered second-quarter points to pull to within one, 18-17, at halftime. Highland's center, Marilyn Brown, picked up her third foul before halftime and was called for her fourth early in the third quarter.
"That was one of the keys of the game," said Dale Barker, Highland coach. "The other was that we couldn't keep Van Patton off the boards."
Tamburrino scored eight third-quarter points, and Miller was able to sneak free from a diamond-and-one defense to score five more as Ramona took a commanding 10-point lead.
"She's a good player, but she's going to have to learn to get open because she's going to be covered," Ramona Coach Joe Bess said of Miller, who was shut out of points and rebounds during Ramona's sluggish second quarter. "But she came through in the second half like the good player she is. She worked to get open and played well for us."