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High Schools

Dual Purpose

Aliso Niguel's Scurich is a starter in soccer and basketball, often with games on same day

January 23, 2003|Lauren Peterson | Times Staff Writer

Allison Scurich has juggled two sports this season, usually without dropping either ball.

The Aliso Niguel junior showed her prowess last week on a typically busy Thursday, scoring a goal in the afternoon in a 2-1 girls' soccer victory and then getting 16 points that night in a 55-29 win in girls' basketball.

"I basically just go from the soccer field right to the gym every day. Or else from the gym to the soccer field," said the 5-foot-10 Scurich, a starting forward in soccer and the starting point guard in basketball.

"It's hard, but it's just so much fun that it really doesn't faze me too much," she said. "I think by playing just one, I'd probably be bored."

Scurich, 16, began playing both last season after competing in only basketball as a freshman. Both teams have benefited.

In basketball, Scurich averages team-highs of 12.4 points and 3.2 assists, and she is second on the team with 7.1 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.

She has only three goals and three assists in soccer, but Coach Randy Dodge says the statistics are deceiving because Scurich is playing out of position. She is on the front line out of necessity after seven starters from last season graduated.

Scurich plays sweeper, the top defensive position, for the West Coast Premier under-17 club team.

"She's a tremendous defensive player, but we put her up front because that's where we need her," Dodge said. "She's our best all-around player. She's dangerous, she's good in the air, she can play different positions. She can do it all."

She proved as much against Santa Ana Foothill last Thursday.

"So far, in terms of both sports, it was the best I've done on one day," Scurich said. "I hadn't scored [in soccer] in a long time. I hate not scoring, but I'm playing pretty well lately."

Her efforts have helped the Wolverines post a 7-3-4 record, including a 2-0-2 mark in the Sea View League, in soccer. They are 11-5, 3-1 in basketball.

Scurich, who began playing soccer in youth leagues at age 6 and took up basketball in the seventh grade, is one of several players on Southland teams who successfully handle two sports in the same season.

The San Clemente girls' soccer team has two players who also compete on their school's varsity basketball team. While Scurich is a starter on her teams, the Tritons' Kiley Jones and Kirstin Commins are starters only in soccer.

The double duty isn't always easy on athletes or their parents. The task of transporting Scurich to and from practices and games last season often fell to her mother, Patty Scurich, though Allison got her driver's license this year.

"That was a lifesaver," Patty Scurich said. "I probably, some days, made four or five different trips to the school, dropping her off in the morning, picking her up, and getting her to and from practices. It was pretty hectic at times.

"This year's definitely been better, I think, just because she's done it before, and the coaches have done it before."

Ken Nedler, the basketball coach, and Dodge minimized conflicts by consulting each other, scheduling tournaments that don't overlap and being flexible with Scurich's practice schedule.

"We really are a small school, and if we have to share an athlete, we share an athlete," Dodge said. "We just work it out."

Both teams play games on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with soccer matches at 3 or 5 p.m., and basketball games at 7 p.m. Scurich has missed only one soccer game and no basketball games.

"It's kind of a challenge, but I'm glad I can be in this kind of situation," Scurich said. "I love playing both so much. I wouldn't want to not play either one of them."

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