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Girls basketball recap: Building on success
OCVarsity takes a look at the regular-season highlights and top performances.
This was supposed to be a rebuilding season for Mater Dei's girls basketball team.
After all, the Monarchs lost Jordan Adams, Alexas Williamson and Nirra Fields to graduation. All three went on to play at Pac-12 schools.
But Mater Dei picked up Edison transfers Karlie and Katie Lou Samuelson and once again the Monarchs head into the postseason undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the county, No. 1 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and No. 1 in the nation by ESPN. The Monarchs are overwhelming favorites to win a fourth consecutive state championship.
Troy has been pointing to this season for a long time. Oregon State-bound Gabriella Hanson, Stanford-bound Briana Roberson and Denver-bound Alecia Dimas are all seniors and healthy and that's why the Warriors are contenders in CIF-SS Division 1AA.
Troy struggled in big games early in the season, but the Warriors recorded victories over Brea Olinda and Long Beach Poly on consecutive weekends, giving them huge momentum heading into the playoffs.
JSerra is a program on the rise. The Lions have excellent guard play from August Touchard and Coco Miller and they have 6-foot-4 Megan House and 6-2 Courtney Vaccher doing damage in the paint.
The Lions are in the extremely competitive Division 4AA that includes top-ranked Windward of L.A. JSerra gave the Wildcats a battle in the PAW Division IV Showcase on Feb. 2 before Windward pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 59-48 victory. JSerra went toe-to-toe with the Wildcats all game, so the Lions know they are right there.
Brea Olinda had another fine season going until star point guard Anna Kim fractured her left ankle last week. The Ladycats closed the regular season with consecutive losses against Foothill and El Dorado and shared the Century League title with Foothill. Brea's chances in Division 1AA will be greatly diminished without Kim in the lineup.
10 players who helped their teams the most in the regular season:
1. Andee Velasco, Mater Dei
2. Gabriella Hanson, Troy
3. August Touchard, JSerra
4. Anna Kim, Brea Olinda
5. Maddy Ziering-Smith, Laguna Hills
6. Geena Gomez, Edison
7. Abbey Goodsell, Orange Lutheran
8. Emma Shimizu, Woodbridge
9. Lindsay Uyematsu, Canyon
10. Natalie Perales, Segerstrom
10 teams that exceeded our expectations in the regular season:
1. Brea Olinda
3. San Clemente
4. El Dorado
6. Laguna Hills
8. La Habra
10. Fairmont Prep
10 players who could be postseason MVPs for their teams:
1. Katie Lou Samuelson, Mater Dei
2. Karlie Samuelson, Mater Dei
3. Briana Roberson, Troy
4. Coco Miller, JSerra
5. Jessica Salottolo, Orange Lutheran
6. Sarah Lipton, Woodbridge
7. Maggie Dumphy, Westminster
8. Kayla Stephens, Segerstrom
9. Kylie Rodriguez, Sonora
10. Hailey James, Foothill
10 teams poised to make deep runs in the postseason:
1. Mater Dei
4. Orange Lutheran
6. Brea Olinda
8. Laguna Hills