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SOUTHERN SECTION GIRLS' BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS

Orange County's Finest Are in Best Positions to Win Titles

February 13, 1996|MARTIN HENDERSON

Three Orange County girls' basketball teams are in prime position to win Southern Section titles, thanks to section officials, who released playoff pairings Monday.

Mater Dei, in the toughest division, Division I-A, and the two Division II teams, Woodbridge (II-AA) and Brea Olinda (II-A) were given the best positions to advance to the section finals.

Mater Dei will be trying to win its second straight title, Woodbridge its third and Brea Olinda its seventh.

All received first-round byes, but not all were happy about it. The playoffs begin Thursday and continue Saturday.

"That's too many days of practicing without playing," Mater Dei Coach Mary Hauser said. "We'll come out flat Saturday night and our opponent will be coming off a win.

"The playoffs is all about momentum and we'll have nine days off."

Nine days off since its 20th straight victory, that is.

Woodbridge first-year Coach Pat Quinn, whose team is ranked seventh in a national poll, said he wasn't happy about having a bye, either.

But Sink, in his second year, was happy to have the extra preparation time.

"It's not so much the first game that makes a difference, but the preparation involved," he said. "If you play Thursday, you only have one day to prepare for the second game. On all the other [succeeding] games, we'll play Wednesday and Saturday, so the turnaround won't be so bad."

Fountain Valley (I-AA), Ocean View (II-A), Laguna Hills (II-A), Villa Park (II-AA) and Estancia (III-A) were also seeded in their divisions.

Forty-six county teams will compete in nine of the 10 divisions.

Here's a division-by-division look at the playoffs:

DIVISION I-AA

Defending champion: Long Beach Poly.

Top teams: Palos Verdes Peninsula (25-1), Simi Valley (24-2), Fountain Valley (23-4), Lynwood (22-2).

Dark horse: Esperanza (17-7). The Aztecs are sitting in a good spot if they can get past their road game against Moreno Valley Valley View; they would play fourth-seeded Lynwood--no easy task--but at least it would be at home. Not too bad a deal for a fourth-place team.

Top players: Leah Combs (Esperanza), Lindsay Foss (Esperanza), Danielle Gaskin (Lynwood), Kristin Geoffroy (Los Alamitos), Shanna Humphries (Upland), Khristian Johnson (Lynwood), Tanisha Johnson (Lynwood), Jennifer Ludwicki (Fountain Valley), Stacey Nichols (Los Alamitos), Nicole Strange (Fountain Valley), Reta Sula (Long Beach Jordan), Eden Palacio (Peninsula).

Notes: Top-seeded Peninsula lost only once this season, 62-46, to Fountain Valley. . . . Fountain Valley's only losses were to Woodbridge (59-43), Mater Dei (73-72), Marina (64-54) and Edison (67-63); the Barons also beat Marina (71-52) and Edison (62-56). . . . Lynwood's Tanisha Johnson averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds, but it was point guard Danielle Gaskin who showed up at the last minute and sparked the Knights to a 42-40 victory over Brea Olinda. . . . With Los Alamitos drawing the final position in the bracket--the Griffins play top-seeded Peninsula--the Sunset League had all six teams qualify for the playoffs. The Griffins tied Huntington Beach for fifth place. . . . Fountain Valley lost in the I-A semifinals last year to champion Mater Dei. . . . Apple Valley (20-4) lost twice to Brea Olinda, 64-41 and 68-36, and twice to Palmdale. . . . Esperanza is 13-1 outside the Sunset League. . . . Simi Valley's two losses were to La Crescenta Crescenta Valley and Thousand Oaks. Tawnee Cooper is averaging 26 points and 10.8 rebounds. . . . Tysell Bozeman is averaging 15.4 points for Valley View, Esperanza's first-round opponent.

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