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PREP EXTRA

Perfection Is Still Her Goal

Girls' basketball: All that's missing for Crescenta Valley's Greco is a title.

January 01, 1998|DAVE DESMOND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Michelle Greco is such a perfectionist, she swears she once decided not to turn in a piece of math homework because a portion of the paper was creased.

On another occasion, she wrapped the Christmas presents her brother bought for their parents because, she said, "He would have done it wrong."

Today, Greco has the Crescenta Valley High girls' basketball team in perfect position to make a run at the Southern Section Division I-AA title. The Falcons are 9-1 heading into Friday night's game against Arroyo Grande for the championship of the Thousand Oaks tournament.

In her first three seasons with the Falcons, Greco has been named the state's freshman, sophomore and junior of the year by Cal-Hi Sports. She is an annual member of All-Southern Section teams and in November accepted a scholarship to UCLA.

Last season, she averaged 34.4 points in the playoffs. She scored 54 points in one playoff game and 34 points in a 59-55 loss to powerhouse Buena in the Division I-A final.

Last month, she was named a preseason All-American by at least two publications. But the 5-foot-10 guard-forward is hardly satisfied. Her otherwise perfect resume still is missing a Southern Section title.

"Sometimes, at night, I close my eyes and imagine us jumping up and down, celebrating after winning it all," said Greco, Crescenta Valley's all-time leading scorer who eclipsed the 2,000-point mark in her first game this season. "I really want it bad."

College recruiters have wanted Greco since her freshman season, only her third in organized basketball.

UCLA finally won out over USC and UC Santa Barbara.

"What makes her special, what sets her apart from almost all other athletes is her pure competitive greatness," UCLA assistant coach Pam Walker said. "If you were to thumb wrestle her, she would want desperately to beat you."

That spirit was evident during a recent game at the Tournament of Champions in Santa Barbara.

Crescenta Valley was trailing New York Christ the King by 17 points in the fourth quarter when Sue Bird, the New York City player of the year, took off for a breakaway layup.

Most players would have allowed the uncontested basket. Not Greco.

She caught Bird from behind, got her hand on top of the ball as Bird went up, and forced Bird and the ball to the floor.

The crowd, which included many of the nation's best players, stood and roared its approval.

"That's part of her greatness," Crescenta Valley Coach Damian Scribner said. "She's proven just about everything she could possibly prove at this level. She easily could just lace up her shoes and just have fun, but she keeps working, trying to get better and maintains that focus and determination."

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