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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

End of the Line for Oak Park

Girls' basketball: After a memorable playoff run, Eagles are routed by Bishop's in Southern Regional final, 66-41.

March 11, 2001|DAVE DESMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

INGLEWOOD — When Oak Park High puts away the girls' basketball uniforms this week for the last time this season, the Eagles can at least hang their jerseys on the fact that they were the last area team standing.

Not national girls' power Buena, not traditional state playoff participant Harvard-Westlake. Not Crespi's boys.

Spunky little Oak Park.

But that wasn't enough to keep Oak Park from falling, 66-41, to La Jolla Bishop's on Saturday in the Division IV Southern Regional final at the Great Western Forum.

"We definitely take pride in that," forward Holly Stewart said of the playoff run. "The fact that we're little Oak Park and we made it this far."

Said Coach Lindsay Strothers: "I told them on the bus on the way here that we're the only small public school still playing."

But the Eagles (25-6) quickly found themselves in over their heads against a team that was taller, quicker, more experienced and with plenty of motivation.

The top-seeded Knights (24-6), who qualified for the state final in Sacramento after losing in the region final three of the last four seasons, took the court wearing rival Santana High's pregame warmups.

Santana qualified for the Division II regional, but withdrew after a shooting Monday on campus took the lives of two students and injured 13 others.

The Knights will wear the warmups again next weekend in Sacramento.

"I think San Diego basketball in general feels for them," Coach Fentriss Winn said. "When it comes down to it, we're all coaches and athletes that have to stick together."

Oak Park, with no player taller than 5 foot 10, marched to its first Southern Section Division IV-AA championship and through two regional games with quickness and a barrage of three-pointers.

That was turned around on the Eagles, who made only three of 20 three-pointers on Saturday.

Bishop's made eight of 19, including a Division IV final-record four by Lindsay Killus, who scored 24 points.

UCLA-bound guard Brianna Winn scored 17 points and sister Mallorie Winn added 12 points for Bishop's.

Michelle Bregar scored 12 points and Shir Raanan added 10 for the Eagles, who made 26 three-pointers in their last three games to extend their winning streak to 15 games.

Stewart had seven points and 11 rebounds.

Rarely did Oak Park have an uncontested shot.

The Knights extended their defense and blocked nine shots, mostly from the outside.

Senior Kim Bryan, who made a school-record 80 three-pointers this season, had only one Saturday.

"I was very frustrated," Bryan said. "They're very quick and they were everywhere."

Bishop's had little trouble getting off shots and made 29 of 56 (51.8%), many from NBA three-point range.

"They made everything," Bryan said. "You get in their face, they chuck up a shot and they hit everything."

Bishop's benefited from a tough schedule, including games against Southern Section champions Lynwood (Division I-AAA) and Fullerton Troy (Division I-A).

Oak Park had a less-rigorous schedule, something Strothers hopes to change next season, when four starters return.

"Before [when I tried to schedule tougher teams], they were like, 'Oak Who? No, we're not going to play you,' " Strothers said. "Maybe it will be different now."

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