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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | Alemany Basketball:
STATE FINALS

Big-Time Challenge Awaits Indian Freshman in Middle

March 21, 1998|DAVE DESMOND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SACRAMENTO — Big game? Big deal.

That's how Alemany High forward/center Karina Siam is approaching the Division III state girls' basketball championship game today at 1:15 p.m. against San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral at Arco Arena.

"It's in a big arena, but it's just another game," she said. "After the game, though, it won't be just another celebration."

Siam's confidence and poise belie the fact she is a 15-year-old freshman.

"She is a very confident kid," Coach Melissa Hearlihy said. "And she is a vocal and emotional leader. That's something we needed."

Siam tied a Southern Regional record by making nine free throws (in 10 attempts) in a 50-45 victory over Harvard-Westlake in the final. Siam finished with a game-high 19 points to help send Alemany (27-6) to the state final for the first time.

"It is phenomenal how comfortable she is at the free-throw line," Hearlihy said of Siam, who as an eighth-grader last summer made 16 of 16 foul shots to win a competition against high school players at a UCLA camp.

"That's always been my claim to fame," Siam said.

A few free throws today would be nice, but Siam's primary contribution could come on defense, where she will be matched against Sacred Heart Cathedral center Sarah Richen, the San Francisco area player of the year who has accepted a scholarship to Pepperdine.

"That's exactly what I've been thinking about all week," said the 5-foot-10 Siam, who gives up four inches to Richen. "I'm ready. I figure I've been playing against the Harvard-Westlake girls all season [in Mission League play]. I'm not going to treat [Richen] any differently."

Siam hasn't always been so self-assured.

Earlier in the season, she was more than willing to yield the spotlight to Kelli Kobayashi and Kate Beckler, Alemany's All-Southern Section guards.

"But I've gained a lot of confidence through the year," Siam said. "Before, I would get the ball and immediately look to kick it back out to Kelli and Kate."

Kobayashi, the Indian point guard, often handcuffed an unsure Siam with entry passes. No longer.

"I don't worry about that anymore," Kobayashi said. "Karina has improved a lot and done a great job, especially for a freshman. She's stepped up whenever we've needed her and she's a big reason why we're where we are right now."

Siam arrived at Alemany with a lot of potential, much of it unrealized.

Hearlihy, a former college forward, worked daily with Siam on post moves.

"I owe a lot to her," said Siam, who is averaging 10.4 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds. "She was the one out there with me at 6 a.m., working on my game. It made a difference."

A big difference.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Alemany Basketball: STATE FINALS

* WHO: Alemany (27-6) vs. San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral (21-10)

* WHAT: Division III championship game of the state basketball tournament.

* WHEN: Today, 1:15 p.m.

* WHERE: Arco Arena in Sacramento.

ALEMANY

Roster

*--*

No. Player, Yr. Pos. 3 Nyasha Bralock, Fr. F 10 Debbie Borra, Jr. G 11 Nicole Klosterman, Jr. F 12 Kelli Kobayashi, Sr. G 14 Kate Beckler, So. G 15 Amy Lowe, So. G 20 Alma Sandoval, So. G 23 Julie Mullins, So. G 33 Monica Brown, Sr. C 34 Karina Siam, Fr. F-C 42 Danielle Messiha, Jr. C 54 Anna Karas, Jr. C-F

*--*

Coach: Melissa Hearlihy

Season Review

76 Bell-Jeff 29

68 Santa Clara 40

59 Newbury Park 43

66 Ventura 69

60 Hart 64

71 Camarillo 29

56 Grant 50

70 St. Lucy's 76 (2OT)

64 Simi Valley 60

79 St. Monica 51

60 Crossroads 52

77 Dorsey 71

63 Royal 65

92 Notre Dame 52

75 Chaminade 35

59 Artesia 41

45 Harvard-Westlake 59

53 Flint. Scrd Hrt 34

55 Ayala 61

61 Louisville 40

81 Notre Dame 55

79 Bishop Montgomery 48

84 Chaminade 29

73 Harvard-Westlake 53

84 Flint. Scrd Hrt 36

58 Louisville 36

Southern Section Playoffs

92 South Hills 27

81 Barstow 65

69 Pomona 58

62 La Puente 39

Southern Regional Playoffs

87 Bakersfield Shafter 59

70 Wasco 51

50 Harvard-Westlake 45

Roster

SACRED HEART CATHEDRAL

*--*

No. Player, Yr. Pos. 5 Crissy DeLuzio, Jr. G 11 Toni Russell, Fr. G 12 Kelly Montague, Fr. F 15 Nicole Perkins, Fr. G 25 Jessica Guitran, Fr. F 31 Megan Kelly, Jr. F 32 Danielle Mulhair, Jr. C 33 Theresa Bisio, Sr. C 34 Kandace Hom, Fr. F 35 Sarah Richen, Sr. C-F 40 Jennifer Romanini, Fr. F

*--*

Cach: Brian Harrigan

Season Review

67 SF Washington 51

57 SF Lowell 43

69 Woodside 45

64 College Park 34

56 Amador Valley 64

57 Vanden 26

82 Justin Siena 43

63 Scott (Kentucky) 35

59 St. Dominic (NY) 47

54 Sapulpa (Okla.) 69

70 Menlo 48

38 Atherton Sacred Hrt 43

61 SF Mercy 25

60 Int. Studies Academy 38

56 Belmont Notre Dame 63

35 St. Ignatius 41

49 Menlo 52

60 St. Francis 61

41 Atherton Sacred Hrt 43

54 SF Mercy 22

54 Casa Robles 38

46 St. Ignatius 39

62 Belmont Notre Dame 53

49 St. Ignatius 51

Central Coast Section Playoffs

60 Saratoga 36

64 Santa Cruz 50

55 Monterey 29

38 St. Ignatius 55

Northern Regional Playoffs

46 Bear River 44

51 Northgate 34

56 Lafayette Acalanes 50

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