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1996-97 GIRLS' BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Orange League

December 10, 1996|MARTIN HENDERSON

Anaheim: 4-16, 1-9 in 1995-96. Coach: Tony Simon (first year). Prospects: Stephanie Durrett (Cal State Northridge, 16.0 points) is gone, and Tee Coleman decided not to play. The Colonists will rely on guard Yadira Moreno, forward Nishaun Battle (5-11) and guard Brenda Arreola; none averaged in double figures last year, but each will need to make that jump for the Colonists to be competitive. Their overall fortunes could hinge on the development of freshman center Alexis Posley (6-2), who is likely to be an impact player.

Brea Olinda: 29-4, 10-0 in 1995-96. Coach: Jeff Sink (third year, 59-7). Prospects: Brea will win its 15th consecutive league title because four starters are back from last year's team that won the Division II-A championship and lost to state champion Woodbridge, 53-45, in the Southern California Regional final. Four other players saw significant playing time, and sophomore guard Lindsey Davidson (seven points, four assists) started one-third of the games. Those who will be counted on most in Brea's drive to another section title are seniors: point guard Jennifer Saari (13.3 points, 5.6 assists), guard Marissa Bradley (14.2 points, 3.6 assists), 5-11 forward Stephanie Wettlin (9.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 50.9% FG) and 5-10 forward Rochelle Anthony (11.8 points, 7.8 rebounds).

Magnolia: 15-10, 7-3 in 1995-96. Coach: Marian Mendoza (first year). Prospects: Doug Romeo (eight years, 85-80), an off-campus coach who maintained some consistency at Magnolia, left because of his other job. Mendoza tries to maintain some continuity without four-year starter Andrea Picchi (20.8 points, 12.1 rebounds). The Sentinels weren't exactly rewarded last year for finishing in second place. They were given a wild-card game and pitted against Torrance Bishop Montgomery, a 9-17 team because of forfeits. Bishop Montgomery blew out Magnolia, 62-20, and won the Division III-AA title, 62-34, over Pasadena Muir. The top returning players are forward Stacy Tewell (5-11, 10 points, 10.9 rebounds) and junior guard Imelda Ortiz. Although two of the three other returning players are 4-11, the third is Karra Picchi, a 5-8 junior forward with a familiar last name.

Savanna: 4-18, 2-8 in 1995-96. Coach: Mike Willey (first year). Prospects: The Rebels return four starters, including their top scorer, Kai Starr (8.5), and best three-point shooter, Shannon Pendergraft. Both are four-year starters. Joining junior forward Cristina Aquino (5-8) is senior center Vanessa Warden, the team's leading rebounder as a reserve last season. Savanna has depth, and reasonably sound defense, but lacks anyone over 5-10 and proven scoring ability.

Valencia: 10-15, 5-5 in 1995-96. Coach: Mike Arias (second year, 10-15). Prospects: If consistency at coach counts, Valencia should have a head start on the five teams playing for second place. The Tigers also return three starters, guard Reychel deLeon (10 points, four assists), forward Allison Jacobs (6-0, six points) and junior guard/forward Heather Hoppe (5-6, four points, 10 rebounds). Freshmen Monika Jackley (forward, 5-10) and Trish Christian (guard/forward, 5-8) could make an impact.

Western: 14-13, 5-5 in 1995-96. Coach: Chandra Ricks (first year). Prospects: Adrienne Ratajczak (5-10, 13.8 points, 11.6 rebounds), a four-year starter, is probably miscast as a center, but as one of the county's better players, she should make the Pioneers competitive in league. She is joined by another senior starter, forward Nahivie Echenique (5-6). Forward Robyn Thomas (5-7) was also on last year's team.

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