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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

Palkie Helps Keep Buena Rolling Smoothly Ahead

February 01, 1990|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A young woman doesn't so much play basketball at Buena High as fit in. But if the fit is right, she will find herself playing at a level she may never have dreamed possible.

Buena players figure that as long as no one stands out, no one stands to lose.

It's a belief instilled by Coach Joe Vaughan, who has directed the Bulldogs to the Channel League title 11 times--and the state title twice--in the past 13 years. This year is no different: The scoring and rebounding are spread as evenly as lawn seed and the team has mowed down every opponent.

Typifying the selflessness, yet finding room to grow as an individual, is Mia Palkie, a junior forward. In three games last week, including two against Buena's toughest Channel League foes, Palkie scored a team-high 37 points.

That's hardly a good night's work for the likes of Michelle Palmisano of Thousand Oaks or Nichole Victoria of Camarillo. But who is the most valuable cog on a team boasting a record of 19-0 entering the week?

"Mia should become a major college player," Vaughan said. "She has a well-rounded game. Besides scoring and rebounding, she is a key force in our pressing situations."

Palkie, 5-foot-8, is just now understanding how good she can become, Vaughan said.

"She plays like a boy the way she attacks the basket and drives for layups," he said. "She'll keep getting better. Mia is a player who doesn't realize her potential yet."

Palkie did realize the value of fitting into Vaughan's system, however, and that will enhance the growth of her individual skills as well as increase her chances of playing for a Southern Section championship.

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