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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Buena Bounces Back Like Bulldogs, 69-45

Division I girls' basketball: Three days after losing undefeated season, they easily defeat Clovis West.

March 07, 2001|DAVE DESMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

FRESNO — For those wondering if Buena High would take another pratfall after suffering its first loss of the season, forget it.

On Tuesday night, the Bulldogs looked every bit like the team that has spent almost two months atop the national girls' basketball rankings.

They routed Clovis West, 69-45, in a Division I Southern Regional opener before a sellout crowd of more than 2,000 in Fresno.

Only three days earlier, Buena (29-1) lost in the Southern Section Division I-A final to Fullerton Troy, 58-51, a loss that could cost the Bulldogs the national championship.

"They have put it behind them, which is what you have to do," said Coach Joe Vaughan, who earned the 98th playoff victory of his career. "It's a dead issue."

From the opening tip, Buena appeared poised and ready to make a run at its first state title since 1984, taking a 17-6 first-quarter lead.

The Bulldogs' press forced 21 turnovers. Guards Emily Lewis and Lauren Sargent calmly handled the 26-6 Golden Eagles' pressure defense.

And Buena's all-star trio of Kelly Greathouse, Courtney Young and Courtney LaVere combined for 51 points.

Greathouse, a 6-3 center, had 25 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Young, who suffered a gash over her right eye while diving for a loose ball in the first half, had 14 points and five steals.

LaVere and Sargent each scored 12 points.

Lindsay Shaver scored 21 points for Clovis West.

A fine reward for Central Section champion Clovis West, getting an angry national power with something to prove in the first round.

"They were in a must-win situation and we were in a nothing-to-lose situation," Clovis West Coach Mark Weber said. "And they had a lot to prove to themselves, probably."

Greathouse agreed.

"We needed this kind of challenge to prove to our critics and to ourselves that we can bounce back and win state," she said.

When Buena walked off the court after its loss to Troy on Saturday, the players were serenaded by a chorus of "overrated." They weren't listening.

"If we listened to everybody, we'd have mental problems," Sargent said.

Tuesday's effort exorcised those demons, as well as avenged regional losses at Clovis West in 1991 and '95 to set up a regional semifinal showdown with top-seeded Harbor City Narbonne, defending state and national champion, on Thursday at Narbonne.

Narbonne routed San Clemente, 76-51, in its opener.

The winner will advance to the regional final on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Forum.

Buena defeated Narbonne, 71-61, at Buena on Feb. 3 in a nonleague game.

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