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Nordhoff Overdone by Moorpark, 71-69

VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Frontier: Musketeers rally from 13 points down, win on Hinojosa's basket with 11 seconds left in overtime.

January 24, 1998|DAVE DESMOND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

MOORPARK — In a few weeks, Moorpark High will play its final Frontier League girls' basketball game before moving to the Marmonte League.

On Friday night the Musketeers played like there was no tomorrow.

Moorpark rallied from a 13-point deficit, squandered a lead in the final seconds, then outlasted Nordhoff, 71-69, in overtime before a raucous crowd at Moorpark.

Junior forward Damaris Hinojosa capped an impressive night with a nifty inside move and a layup with 11 seconds left in overtime to break a 69-69 tie.

Hinojosa, a Times All-County selection, finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and five blocked shots and allowed the Musketeers to extend a home winning streak that dates to January of 1995.

"In my opinion, she's the best player in the state of California," Moorpark Coach Brent Milburn said of Hinojosa. "And California is bigger than some nations."

The Rangers (14-5, 3-1 in league play), ranked eighth in the region by The Times, led, 45-32, after guard Nell Becker hit a three-pointer midway through the third quarter.

Nordhoff led, 47-38, entering the fourth quarter.

Moorpark (16-3, 5-0), ranked ninth, opened the final quarter with an 11-2 run to catch Nordhoff, 49-49.

The Musketeers led by as many as three points, and held a 63-61 advantage when Nordhoff's Erin Barker made two free throws to tie it with one second remaining in regulation.

Moorpark had an opportunity to put the game away, but struggled at the free-throw line.

The Musketeers made only 20 of 51 free throws, while Nordhoff made 23 of 33.

"It was the refs," said Barker, who made 13 of 19 free throws and finished with 24 points before fouling out with 25 seconds left in overtime. "They homered us. They were calling fouls that weren't there."

Nordhoff was called for 30 fouls, while Moorpark was assessed 27.

Christen Roper, the Rangers' 6-foot-5 center, was dominant at times, collecting 19 points and 10 rebounds.

She became the first of three Nordhoff starters to foul out, however, when she made contact with Moorpark's T.C. Plante after a shot 16 feet from the basket.

With the imposing Roper gone, Hinojosa was free to penetrate and pass.

She found reserve forward Nicole Nestico three times for easy layups in the closing minutes.

Nestico scored 13 points, while Sonia Ceja added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Becker scored 11 points for Nordhoff.

The game was a matchup of the Frontier League's defending co-champions, two teams that advanced to their respective Southern Section division finals last season.

The victory over Nordhoff marked the Musketeers' fifth in seven tries under Milburn.

The Rangers' Barker promised Moorpark won't make it six out of eight.

"Next time, they're going to get it," Barker said, referring a Feb. 13 meeting at Nordhoff.

The Musketeers are expecting another emotional, hard-fought game.

"They're going to be ready for us," Hinojosa said of the Rangers.

Said Milburn: "It's going to be a war."

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