SACRAMENTO — Nicole Erickson knew the consequences if she had declined to take the shot.
"I would have been killed by my coach," the Brea-Olinda High School guard said.
Instead, it was Erickson's three-point shot that killed Healdsburg in the State Division III girls' basketball championship Saturday at the Arco Arena.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Monday March 23, 1992 Orange County Edition Sports Part C Page 14 Column 1 No Desk 1 inches; 33 words Type of Material: Correction
Brea-Olinda photos--Two Brea-Olinda girls' basketball players were incorrectly identified in Sunday's editions of The Times Orange County. Katie Bauer was misidentified on the cover and Nicole Erickson was misidentified on Page C4.
Erickson's shot above the top of the key gave Brea a four-point lead with 1 minute 30 seconds remaining, and the Ladycats held on for a 47-44 victory. But this State title, Brea's third in the last four years, didn't come easily.
Healdsburg (31-4) had tied the score, 42-42, with 2:02 left when Carrie Dormire hit a 10-foot shot. However, Dormire fouled out 26 seconds later--Colleen Hudson made the free throw--and the Greyhounds appeared lost without their top scorer.
"I thought we had a chance until they hit that three-point shot," Healdsburg Coach Harry Tappin said. "We were out of position on defense when the ball got loose and she was open for the shot."
Brea (32-2) had problems getting untracked against Healdsburg's spread defense. The Ladycats shot only 33% from the floor and forward Jody Anton was the team's only effective shooter.
"I knew Healdsburg was going to give us a tough time," Brea Coach Mark Trakh said. "Their personnel resembled Placer (a team that defeated Brea in the 1990 State championship). They were tall and physical. That was one of the most physical games we've played all season."
Healdsburg held a 9-7 lead after the first quarter but Brea managed to gain a 14-11 lead with 5:19 remaining in the first half when reserve Lee Moulin completed a three-point play.
Brea played its best basketball in the second quarter when Anton scored six of her game-high 19 points and the Ladycats led at halftime, 25-21. They made half their shots in the quarter and six of seven free-throw attempts.
But Healdsburg rallied in the third quarter behind the three-point shooting of Dormire. Her second three-pointer of the period pushed the Greyhounds in front, 29-27. Neither team managed more than a four-point lead down the stretch.
Anton, who also collected 16 rebounds, made two big jump shots in the fourth quarter. Her 12-footer tied the score, 40-40, with 4:29 left to play and her 16-footer with 3:36 remaining gave Brea a 42-40 lead.
The stage was now set for Erickson's heroics. Afterward, Trakh said he instructed his team to get the ball to Anton with the game on the line.
"Erickson's shot was just what we needed at the time," he said. "Credit Healdsburg's defense. They had us scouted down to a T."
Tappin said he welcomed the challenge of playing against Brea's highly successful program that has won 129 of its last 135 games.
"I'd love to play that team once a month," Tappin said. "You learn so much playing games against teams like that. Peninsula (of Rolling Hills Estates, ranked No. 1 in the nation) is awfully good, but Brea is pretty close to them.
"I think we have to feel pretty good giving a quality team like Brea a good game. We defended them pretty good, but they got that three-point shot."
Which brings us back to Trakh. He wanted to clear up a little detail concerning Erickson's assessment of her decision to take the three-pointer.
"I wouldn't have killed Nicole if she failed to take the shot," Trakh said. "She would have been constructively criticized."