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CIF State championship preview: Brea Olinda vs. St. Francis

STAFF WRITER

The Register's preview of the CIF State Championship game between Brea Olinda and St. Francis of Sacramento.

CIF STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

DIVISION I

Brea Olinda (28-4) vs. St. Francis of Sacramento (29-5)

Where, when: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, Thursday, 6 p.m.

Fan info: tickets, $16 general admission; $10 students (w/school ID), seniors, children (13 and under); parking, $15. The game will be shown on Time Warner Cable SportsNet Live and streamed on www.twccommunity.com.

Outlook: Brea Olinda is back in the state final for a second consecutive season and looking to win its 10th state championship. Senior guard Reili Richardson has been spectacular while leading Brea to Sacramento, averaging 26 points in her last three regional outings. More attack-minded in that same span, Richardson has made 43 trips to the free-throw line in the last three rounds and has converted 88 percent of those shots. Tyiona Watkins and Jasmine Rachal are also putting up double figures in points consistently. Rachal buried a couple of early 3-pointers against a lengthy Vista Murrieta defense during the regional final Saturday to open up the floor for the rest of her teammates. The Ladycats will need to create that kind of spacing again tonight against another lengthy opponent. “I try to preach to the kids, ‘Just play ‘D’ and rebound, let the offense take care of itself,’” Coach Jeff Sink said. “We’ve played our best basketball when we do that. Let’s stop them first, they’ll make some mistakes and we’ll get some easy baskets.” The Troubadours have the advantage of having played at Sleep Train Arena last week, plus the much shorter trip to the arena. St. Francis has four players scoring in double figures with regularity, led by 6-foot-2 senior forward Lauren Craig (17.1 ppg, 13.4 rpg). The two schools have a common opponent in Fairmont Prep. The Troubadours lost to Fairmont by 26 points in December, and 10 days later the Ladycats topped the Huskies by 17. Brea has thrived of late in tight contests decided in the final minutes of the game. If Richardson continues to attack the basket and get to the free-throw line, the Ladycats could hoist state title No. 10.

KENNY CONNOLLY

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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