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KEVIN SULLIVAN , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Westminster coach Dick Katz earned the 600th victory of his coaching career last week. He began his career in 1978 at La Quinta.

Katz passes one milestone, gears up for big playoff push

STAFF WRITER

His journey began in 1978 at La Quinta, took a brief detour to the Pacific Northwest before finally finding its current course at Westminster.

Lions girls basketball coach Dick Katz has won everywhere he’s gone, and last week he reached his latest milestone, earning career win No. 600 in a Golden West League game against Ocean View.

“It means I’m getting old,” Katz joked. “I’ve had the opportunity to coach some great players over the years. It recognizes all of their efforts, as well as the time my wife and I have put into this.”

With his head coaching career officially beginning in the late ’70s, Katz eventually took over the girls program at Westminster in 1991. After a four-year stint (2006-09) at Valencia, he returned to coach the Lions in 2010.

Westminster has won four consecutive Golden West League titles since 2012, and are closing in on making it five in a row. The Lions hold a two-game lead with four league outings remaining.

With the Lions’ primary goal - winning their league - nearly in hand, the focus will soon shift to its second objective – winning a CIF title.

“I really think we have the kind of ball club that can make a run,” Katz said. “You always have to get a little luck along the way, and you never know how the bracket is going to shape up. But we’ve gotten good post play and have some athletic wings.

“This might be the last opportunity I have to do something special.”

NIKE EXTRAVAGANZA

Mater Dei will host the annual Nike Extravaganza on Friday and Saturday.

The 13-game showcase features just one girls matchup, pitting top-ranked Mater Dei against Centennial of Las Vegas on Friday at 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in Nevada and have a 22-1 record. MaxPreps.com has them ranked No. 4 in the nation. Miramonte of Orinda is ranked No. 7 in the same poll, and it handed the Monarchs an 18-point loss on Jan. 16.

Mater Dei (21-2) has won four straight games since that loss, overcoming a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to top Fairmont Prep, 50-47, on Saturday in the Tony Matson Memorial Classic.

Tickets to Friday’s four-game session are $12.

ASSISTING THE CAUSE

Aliso Niguel point guard Makenna Lee broke the school record for assists in a game Saturday with 12 in a 71-41 victory over Dana Hills.

The junior also had eight rebounds and four steals. She took only two shots, but helped four teammates reach double figures in scoring.

The Wolverines improved to 5-0 in the South Coast League, and can claim at least a share of the league title today when they travel to take on Tesoro at 7 p.m.

Aliso beat the Titans by 10 points in their Jan. 12 meeting. A second victory over Tesoro would give the Wolverines a share of their first league crown since 2003.

COACHES VS. CANCER

JSerra will hold its fourth annual Coaches vs. Cancer Showcase on Saturday.

Fairmont Prep and JSerra are the only county schools competing in the seven-game event.

The Lions play Marlborough of Los Angeles at 2:30 p.m. Fairmont Prep wraps up the event with a 7 p.m. contest against West Torrance. The Huskies won the CIF-SS Division 4A title a season ago, while the Warriors are the reigning 1A champs.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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