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Opportunity Knocks for Berkeley

March 23, 1997|MARK STRODER

ANAHEIM — Sometimes the most dangerous players are the ones who go unnoticed.

The Crenshaw girls' basketball team spent so much time Saturday night focusing on Berkeley's 6-foot-4 inch senior center, Shavaki Jackson, it forgot about a couple of talented underclassmen.

Aisha Hollans, a 5-9 freshman guard, scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and sophomore point guard Coriel Davis contributed seven points and three assists, leading Berkeley to a 57-44 victory in the state Division I girls' championship in front of 5,691 at the Pond.

Jackson, Berkeley's offensive leader with a 22-point average, scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but her presence in the middle opened doors for Hollans, who roamed the baseline for easy layups and offensive rebounds.

"Aisha and Coriel have been coming up big all year for us," said Berkeley Coach Gene Nakamura, whose team won its second Division I title. "We're not a one-player team. We're so deep, we can hurt you in all different ways."

Crenshaw (27-4), trying to become the first school to win Division I boys' and girls' titles in the same season, never got on track offensively. The Cougars made only 17 of 54 shot attempts (32%) and converted only seven of 27 shots in the second half.

"This was our worst offensive game of the season," said Crenshaw point guard Danielle Rainey, who scored a team-high 15 points but made only four of 13 shots. "I was hesitating to go to the hole because of my foul trouble (she committed three first-half fouls), and when I'm not penetrating and scoring or passing off to the wings we aren't nearly as effective."

Davis took only five shots but did a good job of handling Crenshaw's full-court pressure defense and distributing the ball to the proper teammates.

"I was really nervous at first, but I have confidence in my ability to run the team," said Davis, whose three-point basket with four minutes remaining in the second quarter gave Berkeley (29-3) a 22-19 lead that it would not relinquish. "I found a lot of holes in the defense and was able to break the press most of the time."

Two free throws by Rainey brought Crenshaw to within one point, 22-21, but the Yellowjackets, led by Hollans with six quick points, closed out the half with a 10-3 run to take a 32-24 advantage.

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