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GIRLS' BASKETBALL 1994-1995: FREEWAY LEAGUE : Fullerton's Hoerner Ready to Make Noise : Basketball: After turning the other cheek last season, she wants to let opponents know she will not back down in pursuit of a title, scholarship.

November 17, 1994|GABE LACQUES | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

FULLERTON — Listening to Nadia Hoerner talk about the 1993-94 season with the Fullerton girls' basketball team, one gets the impression she was a pushover.

"I let people push me around," she said. "I decided I don't want to do that anymore, because then (opponents) look and say, 'She's nothing. We can push her around and she's not going to do anything.' So late last year, I started to change that, and over the spring and summer, I started playing more aggressive and took it more seriously."

No doubt the words of a timid bench warmer, right?

Hardly. Hoerner averaged 20.2 points and 12.7 rebounds last year, leading the Freeway League in both categories.

But her coach, Marty Perez, says she merely scratched the surface of her talent last season.

"I think she's one of the top five players in Orange County," said Perez, in his third year as Fullerton coach. "People are probably going to laugh at me for saying that, but I think it's there."

Perez said Hoerner will be much improved this season because he has seen her attitude and work ethic change.

Also, Perez said the lure of a college scholarship might be a driving force.

"Last year, she was a little immature, and she didn't realize the importance of her junior year (for obtaining a scholarship)," he said. "She kind of had a lazy work ethic, and didn't take things like summer league very seriously.

"Plus, she's an unselfish ballplayer. She likes to spread the scoring around. But this year, she needs to be more selfish. Once she realizes that, she'll be dominant."

Hoerner, a 6-foot-3 center, said getting a scholarship is a high priority, but she is motivated by a more immediate concern.

"There's one goal I want: a league championship," she said. "Last year, we were close with Troy, and it came down to three and two points difference. I decided after Troy beat us last year, that they weren't going to do it this year."

"Losing it makes you want it more. You go after everything and not give up at all. When it's not there, you're like, 'Ohhh, no.' "

But Hoerner knows about achieving goals. She played an important role on Fullerton's Division II-champion softball team.

Hoerner had a key triple in the 12th inning of the Indians' 2-0 upset victory over fourth-seeded Lakewood in the second round.

She also had two hits in a 3-1 victory over La Puente Bishop Amat in the championship game.

"It was the best," she said. "Nobody thought we could do it. We had no chance at all. Our team was not so good at first, but winning (the Southern Section title) brought our whole school together."

Hoerner said she expects to play basketball or volleyball in college, and plans on majoring in sports medicine.

"I'd like to get a scholarship for college," she said. "It doesn't need to be some high-profile school. I'd just like to go and play. There will always be pressure wherever I go, but I don't want to go to some school where there's all the pressure if you don't win, you know?"

Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount and Utah had shown preliminary interest in Hoerner but have since backed off.

Perez, however, said he believes that will change.

"I think she's going to surprise a lot of people this year," he said. "I think by the end of this year, some of those colleges that gave up on her will be back."

1993-94 / IN REVIEW

Standings

League Overall School W L W L Troy 10 0 20 6 Fullerton 7 3 14 10 La Habra 7 3 13 10 Buena Park 3 7 6 16 Sunny Hills 3 7 5 15 Sonora 0 10 1 22

Highlights

Troy's unblemished league record survived two scares from Fullerton. The Warriors won, 55-52, at Troy, and escaped, 56-54, at Fullerton. . . . Troy's Jennie Gadd, who averaged 18 points, was the league MVP. Fullerton's Nadia Hoerner was the league's leading scorer with a 20.2 average and leading rebounder at 12.7 per game. . . . The Warriors had a tough draw in the first round of the Southern Section Division II-A playoffs: Compton Dominguez (20-8). "Everybody said, 'Good luck with Dominguez--they're big, they're fast,' " Troy Coach Brad Sand said. But the Warriors won, 52-39, led by Dinah Shah's 19 points and seven assists. Troy then beat Canyon, 46-30, led by Audra Gamst's 13 points, setting up a game with Cypress in the quarterfinals. The score was tied, 35-35, entering the fourth quarter. "They were playing a zone (defense), and in the first three quarters, we hit our jumpers," Sand said. "In the fourth quarter, we couldn't make a basket." On the other end of the floor, Jessica Eggleston scored 18 second-half points as Cypress won, 52-39. Fullerton never really had a chance in Division III-AA. The Indians drew Brea-Olinda, the eventual State Division III champion, in the first round and were eliminated, 90-36. La Habra also had an early exit; the Highlanders lost to Magnolia, 40-38, in a wild-card game. La Habra and Troy each had three players on the all-league team.

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