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GIRLS' BASKETBALL

El Toro Leftovers Provide Satisfying Finish

February 27, 2001|MARTIN HENDERSON

Senior Carrie Twaddell had to fight back tears after El Toro lost its Southern Section girls' basketball quarterfinal on Saturday, but she admitted she is getting the last laugh on teammates who transferred to other schools in the off-season.

"Yeah, in a way, I kind of do," said Twaddell, a 6-foot-3 center who was one of the county's top defensive players. "I couldn't ask for a better team. Everyone played their hardest."

It looked like the cupboard was bare at the beginning of the season. Junior Amy Shaw transferred to Huntington Beach and sophomore Sara Brown went to San Clemente. The family of freshman Lindsey Pluimer, who emerged as one of the top players in the county, moved from Lake Forest to San Clemente. Coupled with the graduation of The Times' Orange County player of the year, Giuliana Mendiola, the exodus figured to hurt El Toro.

The Chargers' season ended with a 55-30 loss to Irvine in a Division I-AA quarterfinal. Though Twaddell was the only starter from last season on the team, El Toro won two playoff games and finished 20-7. The Chargers tied Capistrano Valley for second place in the South Coast League, getting good efforts this season from seniors Alissa Tan, Candice Quiroz, junior Tara Sickmeier and sophomores Keri Garcia and Kristin Travers.

And nobody had to hang her head.

"Everyone transferred, and everyone was looking past us," Twaddell said. "Everyone pulled through and did the best with what we had."

Irvine Coach Dennis Hurley was among the admirers of what Twaddell and Coach Greg Yeck accomplished.

"People predicted they would be horrible," Hurley said. "You just never know what to expect. They were well-coached, they played hard."

SECTION FINALS SET

Times have been set for the Southern Section championship games at the Pyramid in Long Beach, with three sessions, including two on Saturday.

All three Division I games will be played Saturday, beginning at 2:45 p.m. with the Division I-AA final between the winners of tonight's semifinals: San Clemente vs. Moreno Valley and Irvine vs. Murrieta Valley.

The Saturday evening session starts with the Division I-A game between Troy and Ventura Buena at 6:30. The I-AAA final between Lynwood and Esperanza is at 8:15.

Friday, Playa del Rey St. Bernard and Calvary Chapel play for the IV-A title at 3.

The winner of tonight's Brea Olinda-Santa Margarita game at Brea will play in the II-AA final at 8:15 Friday, and the Brethren Christian-La Canada Flintridge Prep winner will play the Montclair-Oxnard Santa Clara winner in the V-AA final Saturday at 11:15 a.m.

Brethren Christian will play its semifinal tonight at Pasadena Poly. San Clemente plays Moreno Valley tonight at Perris High.

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If you have an item for the girls' basketball report, fax (714) 966-5663 or e-mail martin.henderson@latimes.com

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