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PREP EXTRA | GIRLS' BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS

Narbonne Advances With Win Over Troy

March 09, 2000|MARTIN HENDERSON

Their state title stripped in 1998, ineligible for the playoffs in 1999, Harbor City Narbonne took its first step toward a girls' basketball Division I state title Wednesday night with a 56-40 victory over Fullerton Troy in a Southern California regional quarterfinal at Narbonne.

For the first time in nearly three months, Narbonne played a second half--in particular, a fourth quarter--that actually mattered.

"This was the first game we've played since Santa Barbara [at the Tournament of Champions] where there was real concern we could lose," Narbonne Coach James Anderson said. "They [Troy] don't want to lose like we don't want to lose, so you can throw that No. 1 stuff out the window."

Narbonne is ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today, but Troy paid no attention to that.

With less than a minute left in the third quarter, Narbonne's lead was single digits, 39-32, and Troy had momentum.

But Narbonne's LaTasha O'Keith got a rebound with five seconds remaining in the quarter and went the length of the court for a basket, sparking a 12-0 run that secured Narbonne's 41st consecutive victory.

Narbonne (31-0) faces Long Beach Wilson, a 63-47 winner Wednesday over San Diego Mt. Carmel, in a semifinal Friday.

Troy, the top-ranked team from Orange County, finished 27-5.

The critical run was highlighted by Lisa Willis' two three-point baskets from the corner, which put too much distance between the Los Angeles City Section champion and the Southern Section Division I-A runner-up.

Willis finished with 11 points, second on her team to Loree Moore, who scored 14 and had eight steals.

"They were definitely a little tougher than we expected," said Ebony Hoffman, who scored nine points and had a game-high 13 rebounds.

"They outhustled us, but we came up with the big plays at the end of the game."

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