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GIRLS' BASKETBALL 1994-1995 / GOLDEN WEST LEAGUE : Late Start Does Not Hold Back Farroux : Basketball: Westminster star did not take up the game until high school. She has earned a scholarship to play at Nevada Las Vegas.


WESTMINSTER — Before she entered high school, Amber Farroux had never played organized basketball.

Now, she is the first Westminster girls' basketball player to sign a letter of intent with a Division I school--Nevada Las Vegas.

"We have had players play at Division I schools, but not straight out of high school," Lion Coach Dick Katz said.

It was Katz who convinced Farroux to come out for the basketball team her freshman year.

"I was a cheerleader and he asked me if I would want to try out for the basketball team," Farroux said. "I decided to give it a try."

She gave it a try and made the varsity team her freshman year.

"She had raw ability and made the team on hard work," Katz said. "She has always been a hard worker. Both in practice and in games, she gives 100% all the time."

Farroux struggled with injuries during her sophomore and junior seasons and she was not even considered for the All-Sunset League team. This, combined with her late start in the game, combined to make her signing with UNLV that much more remarkable, Katz said.

It was between her sophomore and junior seasons that Katz believed Farroux started to become a more competitive basketball player.

"She started to take her game to a higher level," Katz said. "Her inside game improved and things started to come together.

"This summer, she has worked even harder to make her game a more complete game. At this point, she can play inside or outside. She's a better shooter now and she's more well-rounded in all facets of the game."

Along with two to three hours of practice a day, Farroux spends several extra hours per week on her shooting, post game and ball handling. During the off-season, she participated with the school's volleyball and track and field team. She is a two-year varsity middle blocker and runs the 400 meters and high jumps.

Farroux, 17, believes it's her intensity and love for basketball that makes her work even harder.

"I love the game and I hate to lose," she said. "I love people that like to play hard.. . . What it takes to win is to play hard."

Farroux credits Westminster softball Coach Gretchen Bock for teaching her how to prepare mentally for each game.

"Gretchen taught me to imagine what the game will be like, from start to finish. Just preparing ahead of time by yourself and setting goals, both for yourself and your team, helps a lot."

With the graduation of Lisa Tamamasui, one of Westminster's top players last season, Farroux will be asked to be the team's leader. It's a job she looks forward to.

"Last season, we had Lisa and she handled a lot of that responsibility," Katz said. "But this season, Amber will have to take on more of that responsibility.

"Her intensity makes everyone she plays with on the court better. They realize that if they are going to survive on the court with her, they better play hard with her. She does not accept any lack of concentration from her teammates, and they have followed her example."

Farroux has played with the varsity for three seasons and has been on some tough-luck teams.

"When Amber arrived her freshman year, the team had won one game in five years," Katz said. "But as she has gotten better, the team has also improved. Practices are more spirited, players are more eager to play and to work hard. I think she believes that winning is important."

Farroux agrees.

"Personal goals are nice, but I always try to work hard to make the team better. My goals are to help this team win our league, make the playoffs and win CIF."

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