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Alemany Receives Scouting Report That's Taylor-Made

Division III: Coach at Harvard-Westlake says Indians can beat Bishop Montgomery.


Coach Brian Taylor of Harvard-Westlake High has had his fill of the Bishop Montgomery girls' basketball team.

Alemany Coach Melissa Hearlihy is about to get hers when the Indians (24-6) play at Bishop Montgomery at 6 tonight in the second round of the Southern Regional Division III playoffs.

Everybody in the Southland better get used to the Knights.

They are 26-3, Southern Section Division III-AA champions and start two freshmen and two sophomores, indicating their best seasons have yet to come. They opened the regional Tuesday with a 84-23 rout of Selma.

"They're very athletic and press very well," said Taylor, who watched Bishop Montgomery rout his Wolverines, 85-56, in a section semifinal. "We tried to zone them, but they shot at a high percentage. We tried to press them, but they consistently broke it."

Laura Ervin, a 6-foot-3 center, and Noelle Quinn, a 5-11 forward, are mobile freshmen who compliment All-Southern Section guard Tamara Quinn, a 5-7 senior who is no relation to Noelle. The three each average more than 15 points and have led the Knights in scoring throughout the postseason.

Sophomores Melinda Loera, a 6-foot forward, and 5-6 guard Brittney Thomas complete the starting lineup.

"Ervin is a legit 6-3, and she can jump out of the gym," Taylor said. "They don't even have to go to her because she maneuvers so well, that you have to assign one person to her to block her out."

First-year Coach Lisa Corona had no idea Bishop Montgomery would progress this quickly.

"We didn't have any [lofty] goals," Corona said. "We just took the season one game at a time. The girls are really excited about the season, but it's amazing because they are calm about [the playoffs]. I think I'm more nervous about it than them."

The Knights have reason to be confident. Although Alemany twice defeated Harvard-Westlake in Mission League play, the Indians lost, 61-49, in a III-AA semifinal to Rosary, which was beaten, 69-56, by Bishop Montgomery in the section final.

"On paper, we're down 25 [points] walking into the gym, but I told the girls it doesn't have to be that way," said Hearlihy, who was pleased to see her team rebound from a poor performance against Rosary to defeat Wasco, 67-56, in a regional opener on Tuesday. "As Tiger Woods would say, 'We're going to have to bring our 'A' game.'

"I felt the intensity [against Wasco] was improved and we ran our offense a lot better [than against Rosary]. We'll have to play like that against [Bishop Montgomery]."

Taylor thinks Alemany has a chance for an upset with seniors Kate Beckler and Alma Sandoval, and juniors Karina Siam and Nyasha Bralock.

"If Alemany is able to hold on, hold on, hold on until the fourth quarter and make it a pressure game . . . they stand a good chance if they can play smart," Taylor said. "Melissa [Hearlihy] is so smart that maybe she can come up with a game plan to confuse [Bishop Montgomery]."

Coaches better pay attention if she does, because next year Noelle Quinn has a sister joining the team.

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