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1996-97 GIRLS' BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Garden Grove League

December 10, 1996|MIKE TERRY

Bolsa Grande: 11-12, 6-6 in 1995-96. Coach: Rich Brodowski (seventh year, 62-91). Prospects: The Matadors are setting their sights on a league title. And they should. Of the six returning players, five started at some point. Bolsa Grande has a league MVP candidate in 6-1 senior center Jana James (13 points, seven rebounds), a first-team all-league pick. Two other key performers, both seniors, are 5-3 guard Alina Ly (four points, three assists) and 6-1 forward Jonielle Schmidt (6.5 points, nine rebounds). If Brodowski fills the small forward spot to his liking, look out.

Garden Grove: 13-9, 8-4 in 1995-96. Coach: Keith Clarkson (second year, 13-9). Prospects: Clarkson isn't sure the Argonauts can take second again in league, or even win it. Garden Grove has downsized this season; senior forward Carla Smith (5-9, 4.5 points, 3.5 rebounds) is the lone returning starter among six returning players. She'll be aided by senior guard Deana Melendy (5-6, 1.5 points, two assists) and junior forward Katie Werdel (5-10, five points, 5.5 rebounds). What the Argonauts lack in height they try to make up in speed.

La Quinta: 3-18, 1-11 in 1995-96. Coach: Holly Rodriguez (first year). Prospects: It's usually not a good sign when a first-year coach is not even sure who is returning to play besides two senior starters--guard-forward Zeinab Elachkar (5-4) and junior forward Pat Rains (5-7). But having to build from scratch, in the long run, might be the best thing for Rodriguez. One thing is certain: Since the Aztecs have won only three games the past two seasons, Rodriguez won't be burdened with unrealistic expectations.

Los Amigos: 4-15, 2-10 in 1995-96. Coach: Kimberly Brefka (first year). Prospects: This is the first high school coaching job for Brefka, who played college ball at Tri-State (Ind.) University. She has a tough assignment; the pickings are so slim they're invisible. Brefka inherits one returning player--senior guard Sawsan Chaaban (5-7)--who did not start last season. Her roster has two seniors, four sophomores and six juniors.

Pacifica: 19-6, 12-0 in 1995-96. Coach: Matt Murphy (second year, 19-6). Prospects: The Mariners have won or shared two consecutive league titles. Three in a row is possible even though both experience and speed are lacking. Two of Murphy's best returnees are seniors, guard Heather Green (5-9, 17.1 points), the league MVP, and guard-forward Jaymee Pendergast (5-10, 15 points), a first team all-league pick. Tracy Downs, a 6-0 junior center (four points), stands out among the other returning players.

Rancho Alamitos: 8-16, 6-6 in 1995-96. Coach: Dave Jankowski (second year, 8-16). Prospects: With eight players having graduated, Rancho Alamitos will need time to jell. But Jankowski has a strong corps to work with among the five returning players, including seniors guard Ha Nguyen (5-7, 4.3 points, 4.8 rebounds) and forward Araceli Hernandez (5-11, 8.9 points 6.3 rebounds). Things will improve rapidly if junior forward Eurydyka Ciejka (5-10, 6.3 points, five rebounds) is ready to be a front-line player.

Santiago: 12-15, 7-5 in 1995-96. Coach: Ron Heusser (eighth year, 84-90). Prospects: Heusser has won four league titles, but those were all with boys' teams. The past two seasons he has been close to getting a championship. But it does not appear Heusser or the Cavaliers will get there this season. Once again Santiago is small; the best player is senior guard Stacey Trujillo (5-5. 10.2 points), a first-team all-league pick.

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