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ARMANDO BROWN, FOR THE REGISTER
Troy's Alecia Dimas, left, blocks a shot by Rancho Verde guard Tierra Fuqua during the championship game of the Ladycat Classic on Saturday. Dimas has signed with the University of Denver.

Girls basketball: Can Troy challenge Mater Dei?

OCVARSITY.COM

Mater Dei, the three-time defending state champion, entered the 2012-13 season as the top-ranked team in the county and it will remain No. 1 until someone proves different.

Troy could be the team to challenge the Monarchs this season. Oregon State-bound Gabriella Hanson, Stanford-bound Briana Roberson and Denver-bound Alecia Dimas are healthy, throw in some talented freshmen and its easy to see why the Warriors are legitimate state championship contenders.

Hanson, Roberson and Dimas were as good as advertised, leading Troy to victories over Yorba Linda, 65-8, Gahr of Cerritos, 64-33, Millikan of Long Beach, 48-37, and Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley, 49-43, to claim the Ladycat Classic championship last week at Brea Olinda High.

Monarchs coach Kevin Kiernan said his team was going to live and die with the 3-pointer this season and Mater Dei knocked down 32 3-pointers in victories over Bullard of Fresno, 75-43, Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills, 73-34, Clovis West of Fresno, 66-43, and Ridgeview of Bakersfield, 80-45, to win the Nike Central Valley Showdown last week at Clovis West High.

We might not have to speculate or theorize about which team deserves to be ranked No. 1 for much longer because the Mater Dei and Troy could meet in the finals of the Mater Dei Matt Denning Girls Hoops Classic this week at Mater Dei High.

The eight-team tournament runs Tuesday-Friday. Mater Dei is in Pool A with Huntington Park, Silverado of Victorville and Yorba Linda. Troy is in Pool B with Workman of City of Industry, St. Bernard of Playa Del Rey and Warren of Downey. The championship game is Friday at 7:45 p.m. at Mater Dei High.

NOTES

Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland is ranked No. 1 in the state in Cal-Hi Sports' preseason rankings. Here are the CIF-SS teams in the rankings: 2. Long Beach Poly; 3. Mater Dei; 6. Santiago of Corona; 8. Windward of L.A.; 10. J.W. North of Riverside; 11. Serra of Gardena; 12. Troy; 13. Alemany of Mission Hills; 14. Lynwood; 19. Millikan of Long Beach; 22. Mark Keppel of Alhambra; 24. Brea Olinda; and 25. St. Anthony of Long Beach. ...

St. Mary's of Phoenix is ranked No. 1 in the nation in USA Today's preseason poll. No. 4 Mater Dei and No. 13 Long Beach Poly are the only CIF-SS teams in USA Today's national rankings. ...

What is the best rivalry in the county? Segerstrom and Westminster are developing quite a rivalry in the Golden West League. Last season, the Jaguars and Lions split their two meetings and shared the Golden West League title. The league rivals met up in the finals of the Corona del Mar/Northwood Tip-Off Classic on Saturday at Northwood High and Nancy De La Cruz's put back with 5 seconds remaining gave Segerstrom a 49-48 victory. Natalie Perales scored a team-high 19 points and Kayla Stephens added 14 points for the Jaguars. Maggie Dumphy scored a game-high 21 points, hauled in 15 rebounds and blocked five shots for the Lions. The two league meetings are Jan. 22 at Segerstrom and in the regular-season finale on Feb. 7 at Westminster. ...

JSerra plays in the Battle at the Beach VII Monday-Saturday at Redondo Union High of Redondo Beach. The loaded field features Millikan of Long Beach, Marlborough of L.A., Bishop Montgomery of Torrance, Serra of Gardena, St. Anthony of Long Beach, Redondo Union and Inglewood. The championship game is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ...

The South Coast Holiday Classic runs Monday-Saturday at University High and Woodbridge High. Pool A has University, San Clemente and Foothill, Pool B has Woodbridge, Dana Hills and Aliso Niguel and Pool C has Santa Margarita, Los Alamitos and Laguna Hills. The championship game is Saturday at 7 p.m. at Concordia University. ...

The Lady Barons Hoop Challenge runs Monday-Saturday at Fountain Valley High. Pool A has Huntington Beach, Esperanza and Schurr of Montebello, Pool B has El Toro, Villa Park and Kennedy, Pool C has Orange Lutheran, La Salle of Pasadena and Beckman and Pool D has El Modena, Fountain Valley and Long Beach Jordan. The championship game is Saturday at 2 p.m. ...

A player to keep an eye on this season is 5-10 senior Allyson O'Brien, who is averaging 24.6 points and 4.2 steals per game in helping La Habra get off to a 4-1 start. O'Brien played with Orange Lutheran's Jesse Spittel, Abbey Goodsell and Jessica Salottolo, Troy's Hanson, Brea Olinda's Anna Kim, Santa Margarita's Zaire Williams and Sunny Hills' Madison Cruse on O.C. Elite's national team in the offseason. ...

The Lady Highlanders Classic runs Monday-Friday at La Habra High. Pool A has La Habra, Eagle Rock, Capistrano Valley and Rowland of Rowland Heights and Pool B has Long Beach Wilson, La Mirada, Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach and Thousand Oaks. The championship game is Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Follow Carlos Arias on Twitter @LosOCVarsity.


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