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PLAYOFF ROUNDUP

Crescenta Valley Comes Up Short to San Clemente

February 25, 2001|JOHN KLIMA

The Crescenta Valley High girls' basketball team finally found a mountain it couldn't climb.

Facing a team featuring five starters taller than 5 feet 9, the Falcons, with only one player that tall, were overmatched.

No. 1-seeded San Clemente pulled away after a tight first quarter to win, 57-38, in a Southern Section Division I--AA quarterfinal game on Saturday at Crescenta Valley.

The Falcons (17-12), who posted upset playoff victories over Palmdale and Valencia, took an 11-2 lead in the first quarter behind freshman Jeanine Deno, who scored all the points.

The Tritons (26-3) called a timeout, regrouped and used its height advantage to force 10 first-half turnovers. San Clemente tied the score, 15-15, at the end of the first quarter.

San Clemente outscored the Falcons, 29-9, over the next two quarters to take a 44-24 lead entering the fourth quarter.

"I'd like to have one tall girl and they've got four or five of them," Coach Bruce Breeden of Crescenta Valley said. "I think we surprised them right away in the first quarter. They took that timeout and came out right after us."

Deno finished with 13 points. She fouled out with 5:44 to play.

"She's a little deceiving," Coach Mary Mulligan of San Clemente said. "Maybe I didn't give her enough respect in the first quarter. We called a timeout, changed defense on her, and did a good job after that."

The 5-6 Deno, who came in averaging 18 points, was guarded by 5-9 Ashley Housley, one of 10 San Clemente players 5-9 or taller.

"I think we surprised them, but got complacent after that," senior Emily Forsyth said. "It's not easy. We're used to playing against teams with height, but usually it's only one or two players, not five or six."

Megan Blackshire score 19 points for San Clemente, Sara Brown had 12 and Lindsey Pluimer added 11.

Breeden was left shaking his head.

"It's hard playing a team that big," he said. "But this is how you learn. People didn't think we'd even make it to the playoffs and we made it to the quarterfinals. That's a big step in the right direction."

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