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Leading by Example

Senior forward McGuire was asked to step up, and Fullerton Troy is 60-3 since and about to play for its second consecutive state title

March 18, 2004|Martin Henderson | Times Staff Writer

Meghan McGuire had fouled out in the third quarter and had been, basically, no help in Fullerton Troy's narrow overtime victory over Orange Lutheran.

That was 15 months ago.

"I sat down with the coaches, and we talked about my role," said McGuire, now a senior. "I realized I couldn't be the same immature person I was. I couldn't hide and sit in the background.

"After that, my season and my career at Troy turned around. From that point on, I started taking more accountability for the way I played and realized I couldn't just stand around and watch. I had to take action. I had to step up."

She's expected to step up again Friday, when Troy (33-1) tries to win its second consecutive state title against Concord Carondelet (29-3) in the Division II game at Arco Arena in Sacramento.

It will take a group effort, to be sure. Troy doesn't have the size of Carondelet, which is 6 feet 4, 6-2, 6-0 in the frontcourt. McGuire, a 6-footer who began her career as a guard, will play forward. She must rebound. She must play defense. And she will have to score.

"We're not a statistically driven team," Troy Coach Kevin Kiernan said. "We're not built that way. We're not asking anyone to score 30 points, but Megan makes big shots at the end of games. When we need a basket, we have to go to her."

She made Troy's last five field goals and finished with 25 points to hold off Norco, 61-54, in the Southern Section Division II-AA title game.

But her defining performance was in the Division II state championship game last year, when teammate Amanda Livingston struggled and McGuire scored 27 points in a 53-40 victory over Vacaville for the school's first state title.

"She won that game for us ... a career night," Kiernan recalled. "That set the stage for her."

Since McGuire was sat down and asked to step up, Troy has won 61 of 64 games, including 46 of its last 47.

The only senior on the team, she led the Warriors in scoring, with a 16.2 average, and in rebounds, with eight per game.

"The thing I struggled with most was how to be a leader," said McGuire, whose next stop will be Reno in the fall. "I'm a quiet person, a lead-by-example type of player and didn't know if I would be verbal enough to lead a team in tough games and big situations."

That's one reason McGuire wants to do especially well in her final game. She sprained her ankle last week during practice and sat out the Southern California Regional quarterfinal, and played only eight minutes in the semifinal. In 17 minutes against Santa Ana Mater Dei in the regional final, a 47-25 victory, McGuire scored only two points on one-of-eight shooting.

"I was really disappointed with the way I played," she said. "Being hurt, it limited what I could do, but I expect myself to get rebounds, block out, support my team at all times, and I got really frustrated. I went into a shell, I was quiet....

"I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself. It's the last week of my season, why do I have to get hurt now?"

But it wasn't the last week of her season. This time, junior Nicole Hayman and sophomore Jaclyn Blied stepped up. Perhaps the torch was passed to one of them, or maybe sophomore guard Sara Yee.

Regardless, McGuire says she will be "close enough" to 100% for the game Friday that she won't go into a shell again.

"I'm a lot more focused, a lot more intense, a lot more aggressive," she said. "If the big game is my night to shine, my opportunity, then I'm going to take it."


(Begin Text of Infobox)

Winning Legacy

The year-by-year statistics of Meghan McGuire, the only senior on the roster of defending state champion Fullerton Troy.

*--* Season PPG Rec. Season PPG Rec. 2000-01 8.5 28-4 2002-03 14.3 32-2 2001-02 10.4 29-4 2003-04 16.2 33-1


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