Monday, October 15, 2018
Page 775

Long Beach Poly 67, Colony 54

Poly won the Division I title, but Colony made them work for it. The girls from the country are no joke, and Poly only broke the game open in the final quarter.

Colony waits to take the court for warm-ups.

Poly walks on to the court for their warm-ups.

Former Jackrabbit Jasmine Dixon (foreground, right), now with UCLA, sat with Poly during the first half of play.

Colony’s big three: Camille Buckley battles in the post while Jazmyne White (23) and Te’onna Campbell (44) look on.

Haley White (1) and Buckley defend the hoop.

Buckley is a force of nature: high vertical and 12.8 butt-kicking rebounds per game, 22 points and three assists a game. Yet Monday night, one of the Colony team statisticians told me she has had only a few offers from colleges and hasn’t decided where she wants to go yet.

Turns out this guy was an ignoramus, because Buckley has signed with Loyola Marymount University. I’m confident she’ll have a brilliant career there.

White is pretty good too. I hope some SoCal college scout is in the process of signing her.

It’s on to Arco Arena for Poly.

Shocker in Westwood: Brea Olinda 44, Mater Dei 38

Brea did it – they took on the dragon and they won. The matchup that everyone had been waiting for all year was surprisingly one-sided, as the Wildcats dominated the number one-ranked team from beginning to end, and handed them their first loss of the season when all was said and done.

Senior guard Jonae Ervin lead all scorers with 18 points in a gutty performance that saw her do everything from drive to the basket for the layup to steal the ball to sink crucial free throw shots. Ervin told OCvarsity.com that “this is the game to prove we are the better team, and we proved it.”

Indeed. She was named MVP of the game.

Story link, featuring videos: http://www.ocvarsity.com/articles/game-state-olinda-2335761-brea-dei

Both teams looked nervous to start the game, as a veritable turnover fest ran for the entire first quarter and most of the second. But what did it for Brea was their defense. Though shorter and smaller than the physical Monarchs, the Wildcats played suffocating defense and double-teamed Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis on every possession. The sophomore sensation was held to just four points on the day.

Brea sophomore guard Alexis Perry takes it up the right side.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Janier Olukemi line up for a free throw shot.

Brea celebrates the victory…….

……and keeps celebrating.

A subdued Mater Dei prepares to accept their second-place award.

Mosqueda-Lewis and Alexyz Vailotama approach the medal stand.

I ended up sitting in front of the former attendance secretary at Brea (25 years before retiring a long time ago), whose crew was pretty amusing. They were gracious about their opponents, and the husband of her friend said with a shrug, “Brea will enjoy it now, because Mater Dei will be untouchable for the next several years.”

He’s right. Mosqueda-Lewis and Vailotama are both sophomores, and another of their top players – Jordan Adams – is only a freshman. Once they get some more playing experience under their belts this summer and next year, it will be lights out for other teams.

Both Brea and Mater Dei have great team composure. There were times on both ends where referees made calls players disagreed with, and several kids had their mouths open to say something, or their faces scrunched up into anger, but then they put themselves in check. I respect that; they’ve had good coaching.

Former secretary waxed on about Brea Coach Jeff Sink – not on the court but in the classroom. She said he is a heckuva history teacher, and doesn’t hesitate to break something or rip something up to make a point. This doesn’t surprise me.

“And the kids learn!” she said.

She and I were walking down the stairs when Sink came, and hugged her right next to me. I thought about saying something, since he’d posted on this blog, but…..naw. It was his moment.

On to Arco Arena Friday for the Wildcats.

Pac-10 tourney: it’s a Cali thing, baby

For the first time in Pac-10 Tournament history, today’s semi-finals will feature all California teams. USC and California will square off at 6 p.m., and Stanford and UCLA take each other on at 8:30 p.m.

I was at work yesterday morning but was following online (and with the help of friend Daniel in the last minute) when USC hung on to upset #16 Arizona State, 70-65. Trojan point guard Camille LeNoir lead the charge with 18 points, and Heather Oliver added 17 – including five three-point shots. Danielle Orsillo lead the Sun Devils with 17 points.

I was on hand for the Arizona-Stanford game at 5 p.m., and Arizona is not as the 77-46 final score would indicate. It’s not that Arizona is that bad – it’s that Stanford is that good. The Cardinal is so loaded that one of their reserves – Lindy La Rocque – went off for four three-point shots. Three other reserves played key minutes as well.

The thing I really appreciated about Arizona was how scrappy they played, and how they kept fighting all the way until the final buzzer. There was never a moment where their heads hung and one got the sense they’d given up. I addressed that in the post-game press conference by asking Ify Ibekwe and Courtney Clements what improvements they’d noted from beginning to end of the season.

Ibekwe said they’d grown and matured, that they think more, and now they fight back and they didn’t used to. Clements said the team had needed to find players who would step up to be leaders, and now they have several.

I liked hearing both of those things. The Wildcat program was never the same since the death of Shawntinice Polk in September, 2005.

Another thing I really like is Coach Niya Butts. She has a serious demeanor, but at the same time is very warm. When she had a short coughing spell during the press conference (she said she’s been a little ill), Ibekwe rubbed her on the back. It’s obvious the players like their coach, and I can see why from talking to her a few times. She’s the perfect answer in the Arizona program.

Doreena Campbell, Christina Nzekwe, Rebekah Gardner.

Doreena Campbell plays D.

Doreena Campbell walks down court while a free throw shot is being set up.

The biggest flopper in the Pac-10, point guard Mercedes Fox-Griffin.

The UCLA-OSU game was exciting, as expected. UCLA finally got the monkey off their back (lost to them a few weeks ago) by putting them away, 62-56. Mad props to Brittney Davis, who scored 22 points for the Beavers – 15 in the first half. She was playing big.

I was amazed at UCLA freshman Antonye Nyingifa, who put up a team-high 18 points. She has been a monster the last few weeks, and I asked her and Doreena Campbell at the post-game press conference what has been going on.

“As a team, we have come together and begun to work together as a team,” Campbell said.

Nyingifa said she’d had a slow start as a freshman, but that she was constantly trying to “build in daily improvement, like coach says.”

I have really become a Campbell fan this year, and it’s not just because of her fearless play and work ethic on the court: it’s because she’s also a bit of a nerd. It seemed like it on her player interview that they’d run at timeouts at Pauley Pavilion. Then I learned from a reliable source that Campbell has been known to hit the library after games, and I was in platonic player love. How could I not adore a young woman who can break ankles both on the court and in the classroom? (She also yells when she’s running the point, as she was last night).

OSU is much, much improved, and Coach LaVonda Wagner said this year’s 19-11 record is the best the program has had in a long time. The only fault I’d find with the Beavers is point guard Mercedes Fox-Griffin, who likes to flop. She was flopping all over the place at Pauley back in January, and tried it a couple times last night. The first time was the most blatant, and the refs weren’t buying it at all (nor did they the second time). Still, it’s irritating. It reminds me of the Sparks circa 2002, when they played dirty, dirty ball.

The winners of tonight’s semi-finals will go on to play in the championship game Sunday at 6 p.m.

Pac-10 Tournament update

Arizona gutted out a win over Washington State last night, so will face first-ranked Stanford at 5 p.m. tonight at Galen Center. Following that game, at 7:15 p.m., UCLA and Oregon State face off.

Tomorrow, in the semi-finals, the winners of today’s early games will face the winners of tonight’s games. The championship game will be 8 p.m. Sunday. Unless something really weird happens, that game should feature Cal and Stanford.

Bracket: http://www.pac-10.org/w-baskbl-tourney/

I will be there tonight, and Sunday night. Anyone else going should share their game thoughts.

Tomorrow’s Southern California division high school games

At Pauley Pavilion:

Division I

Colony vs. Long Beach Poly, 6 p.m.

Division II

Mater Dei vs. Brea Olinda, 2 p.m.

Division III

Marlborough vs. Inglewood, 10 a.m.

Tickets are $16 general admission, $10 high school student with ID

I’ll be at the 2 and 6 p.m. games, and am interested in game thoughts from others who go.

High school playoff scores rolling in

Marlborough 63, Foothill 49

Inglewood 62, Woodridge 55

and the biggest shocker of the night:

Colony 59, Cajon 56

WOW

Tina Thompson interview

On teammate Candace Parker:

TT: We’re actually very close. We’ve spent quite a bit of time together, in the off-season. We have a relationship outside of basketball. And it’s so funny, her being so close to me, I think that she’s probably the only person that didn’t kind of push me to come to a team. Because our friendship is much more than just the basketball side of it. I did get an occasional, “You could just come to LA,” but it was never a push, and I think that shows the genuine side of the friendship. I appreciated it.

I’m really glad TT will be there to mentor CP.

Link: http://www.spmsportspage.com/published/spmfeatures/tina-talks-thompson-on-la.shtml

Pac-10 Tournament bracket

Action starts tonight at 6 p.m. at the Galen Center on the USC campus:

http://www.pac-10.org/w-baskbl-tourney/

Tina Thompson to play for Sparks

It’s official:

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-spw-sparks-tina-thompson12-2009mar12,0,4312883.story?track=rss

No one can keep a secret anymore, can they?

Candace makes cover of ESPN

OOO, interesting:

Parker has always been unflappable, an ocean of calm, the by-product of clear intention and unprecedented success. “I remember when we played at DePaul,” says legendary Lady Vols head coach Pat Summitt. “Candace was maybe 12, and she came up to me to get a picture. I remember looking up at her and thinking, Wow! When she walked away, I said, ‘Who is that?’ She was mature beyond her years.”

Oh, great! Just tell her she can’t, and that’s the best thing for the Sparks:

The important thing, everyone agrees, is to get the basketball player back on the court. “No C-section, that’s the biggest thing,” Parker says. “I’m stubborn. I’ve been through knee, ankle, shoulder injuries. I feed off of doubt, people telling me I won’t be able to come back. We’ll see about that.” She says she’s training hard, prepping to play as soon as July, two months after her due date. The dedication pleases Team Parker very much.

Ah, I knew it:

Parker does demand a lot from herself. She insists on making her own way. “I just want to be who I am,” she says. And who is that? Parker carefully considers her answer. “I’m very sensitive,” she ventures shyly. “Not many people know that. I don’t like to show my emotions. I may go behind the door and cry, but I’m not going to cry in front of anybody.”

…..which goes along with the last sentences of the first paragraph…..I never could understand why some people on rebkell have called her arrogant:

She’s nice, too. Sweet, even. Kind to animals and children, she is the sort of woman who worries about others more than about herself, a saint in high-tops.

Link: http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3967891

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