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NOTEBOOK

Experience the Key For Oak Park Girls

February 27, 2001|JOHN KLIMA | From Staff Reports

When Oak Park plays Morro Bay in a Southern Section Division IV-AA girls' basketball final Saturday at The Pyramid at Long Beach, four starters will take the floor, each with at least three years' experience.

The Eagles (22-5) reached the program's first section title game with a 48-44 victory over Cerritos in a rematch of last season's semifinal that Oak Park lost.

Juniors Lisa Bregar, Jannel Buckley, and Holly Stewart started as freshmen on a team that went 9-13. This year they helped Oak Park set a program record for victories.

Bregar averages 18 points and scored 18 against Cerritos. Guard Kim Bryan, the only starting senior, averages 14 points and added 19 against Cerritos.

Oak Park has only one player taller than 5-foot-9 and will be tested defensively against Morro Bay, which has two post players over 6-0.

"We can be like gnats around one of the twin towers, but two will be hard," Oak Park Coach Lindsay Strothers said.

Bregar could be the key for Oak Park's defense.

"She's a warrior," said Oak Park boys' Coach Rob Hall, who coached the girls' team two seasons ago with Strothers as his assistant. "She's one of the toughest players I've ever seen, boy or girl. She's an absolute fighter. [Oak Park's] defense is based on the guards creating loose balls. She's the one that chases them down."

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For Oak Park, it not only is the first Southern Section girls' basketball championship-game appearance, it's the school's first trip to the finals in a team sport since the baseball team lost in 1992. The school has two section titles.

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The key to stopping Santa Clara (15-12) is stopping 6-foot-3 center Ashley Biggins, who averages 19 points, according to Santa Paula Coach Emily Stenzel.

Santa Paula won the Frontier League with two victories over Santa Clara.

"We focused on slowing her down," Stenzel said. "She's a very good player and can be an impact player in the playoffs. You have to find a way to stop her if you want to beat Santa Clara."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Girls' Basketball Matchups

SOUTHERN SECTION

Semifinals, today

Division V-AA

Flintridge Prep vs. Brethren Christian at Pasadena Poly High, 7:30 p.m.

Santa Clara vs. Montclair Prep at Oxnard College, 7:30 p.m.

Finals, Friday

Division III-AA

Harvard-Westlake vs. Bishop Montgomery at The Pyramid at Long Beach, 4:45 p.m.

Finals, Saturday

Division I-A

Buena vs. Troy at The Pyramid, 6:30 p.m.

Division IV-AA

Oak Park vs. Morro Bay at The Pyramid, 1 p.m.

Division V-AA

Montclair Prep or Santa Clara vs. Flintridge Prep or Brethren Christian at The Pyramid, 11:15 a.m.

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