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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Alemany Makes Most of Last Chance, 67-56

Girls' basketball: Indians, who thought loss 10 days earlier ended season, beat Wasco in regional.

March 08, 2000|DAVE DESMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASCO — Off the floor, over the Grapevine, nothing but net.

Alemany High, all but given up for dead two weeks ago in the girls' basketball playoffs, remained alive Tuesday night with a 67-56 victory over Central Section champion Wasco in the first round of the Division III Southern Regional at Wasco.

The Indians (24-6) looked nothing like the team upset by Rosary 10 days earlier in the Southern Section III-AA semifinals.

Alemany appeared sharp, responding from the long layoff and 120-mile drive to shoot 54 percent (27 for 50) from the field and give Coach Melissa Hearlihy her 350th career victory.

Coincidentally, Hearlihy's 300th victory came against Wasco in the 1998 regional playoffs.

Alemany travels to top-seeded Bishop Montgomery (26-3) on Thursday in a regional semifinal in Torrance. Bishop Montgomery beat Selma, 84-23, Tuesday night. The regional final is Saturday morning at the Great Western Forum.

"I want to win Thursday night a heck of a lot more than I care about any personal milestones," said Hearlihy, whose team is in the state tournament for the seventh time in nine seasons.

Following the 61-49 loss to Rosary on Feb. 26, Alemany players believed their season was over.

"I thought our season was over," said Rice-bound guard Kate Beckler, who scored 24 points. "Now we (could) have, what, three more games?"

They will if they continue to show the grit they did Tuesday.

The Indians built a 51-33 lead in the third quarter, then withstood a rally by Wasco (21-8).

Vandy Noldon and Lindsey West combined to score 14 points and the Tigers cut the difference to 59-53 with 2:30 to play.

That's when Alma Sandoval of Alemany took over, scoring six of her 14 points in the next minute to secure the victory.

She was the fourth Alemany player to take her turn dominating the contest.

Beckler, the two-time Mission League most valuable player, scored 18 points and Nyasha Bralock added 11 of her 13 points in the first half, when Alemany took a 37-28 lead.

Karina Siam scored all eight of her points in the third quarter as the advantage grew. Sandoval scored 10 in the fourth quarter.

Noldon finished with 23 points, West had 15 points and Lydia Irby added 12 for Wasco.

What will Alemany need to match up with Bishop Montgomery, the tallest team in the regional?

"A 6-4 transfer," Hearlihy said.

Her players were more optimistic.

"Bring them on," said Siam, a 5-10 forward. "I'm ready to go."

Said Bralock: "We're just happy to have another chance.

SOUTHERN REGIONAL PLAYOFFS

* PLAYOFF PREVIEW

* Simi Valley will try to regain its shooting form when it plays at Clovis West at 7:30 tonight in a Division I game. The Pioneers shot 24.5% Saturday in a loss to Mater Dei. Page 10

* BOYS' ROUNDUP

* Orange Lutheran upsets top-seeded San Diego Horizon, 63-61. Page 11

* GIRLS' ROUNDUP

* Redondo Union opens with an 83-30 victory over Tulare Western. Page 11

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