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Buena Is Shocked by Troy

VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Division I-A girls' basketball final: Bulldogs, No. 1-ranked team in the nation, get into foul trouble and lose for first time this season after 28 victories, 58-51.

March 04, 2001|DAVE DESMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LONG BEACH — There will be no national championship for the Buena High girls' basketball team.

No Southern Section title, either.

Only disappointment and a few restless hours today as the Bulldogs wait to learn if they will receive the one at-large berth to the state Division I Southern Regional.

Pairings will be announced at 4 p.m.

All this agony was brought on Saturday night when previously unbeaten Buena, the top-ranked team in the nation, lost to Fullerton Troy, 58-51, in the Division I-A final before a raucous crowd at The Pyramid in Long Beach.

Buena (28-1) seemed invincible as it climbed the national charts, but Troy (27-4) did something no other team could accomplish this season.

The Warriors matched Buena's quickness and discipline, almost matched the Bulldogs' impressive size and managed to get Buena's top three players in foul trouble.

Center Kelly Greathouse, guard Courtney Young and junior forward Courtney LaVere had combined for 5,137 career points and 2,654 rebounds, but the only combined number that mattered was their nine combined fouls by midway through the third quarter.

The foul trouble and Troy's impressive full-court press and physical inside play left Buena helpless and frustrated.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Warriors led, 53-39, and Buena had almost nobody with a foul to give.

The result was one of the most stunning losses in Ventura County history and one of the biggest victories for Orange County.

"It might be [the biggest]," Troy Coach Kevin Kiernan said. "I couldn't tell you the last time an Orange County school beat the No. 1 team in the nation. This is pretty huge."

Alicia Komaki scored 20 points, including four three-pointers, and Veronica Johns-Richardson added 19 points for the Warriors, who took a 33-24 halftime lead after outscoring Buena, 20-5, in the second quarter.

Greathouse, the Bulldogs' 6-foot-3 center, picked up her third foul in the first minute of the second quarter and sat out the rest of the half.

Greathouse, averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds, had 11 points and five rebounds.

By the end, Greathouse and guard Emily Lewis had fouled out, the 6-2 LaVere had four fouls and guards Young and Lauren Sargent each had three.

Young scored 19 points, LaVere had 10 points and seven rebounds, and Sargent scored nine points.

Troy extended its winning streak to 17 games and captured its first title after losing in 1998 and 2000.

Buena was seeking its seventh section title in its 14th championship game.

For the fourth time, the Bulldogs reached the final with an unblemished record. They fell to 1-3 in those games.

"That's a crusher," said Coach Joe Vaughan, 634-69 in 26 seasons at Buena. "It doesn't get any easier, no matter how long you've been doing it."

Not that Buena thought itself unbeatable.

"Everybody loses," Young said. "Just because you're 28-0 doesn't mean you can't lose."

Lesson learned.

"Our 1983-84 team lost [a final] and went on to win state," Greathouse said. "That's a ray of hope to us."

SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYOFFS

Saturday's Finals

GIRLS

Division I-A

Troy 58

Buena 51

Division IV-AA

Oak Park 71

Morro Bay 64

* The Eagles made 11 three-point shots to win their first section title. D15

Division V-AA

Montclair Prep 67

Brethren Chr. 43

* Murphy and Wesley lead Mounties to their first section title. D15

BOYS

Division V-AA

Calvary Chapel 66

Kilpatrick 53

* Fortune held to 19 and the Mustangs failed to score in final 4:10. D15

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