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STEVEN GEORGES, FOR THE REGISTER
Laguna Hills' Cheyenne Berbey drives to get past Janelle Gil of Pasadena during a CIF-SS, Division 3AAA first-round girls basketball game game Thursday. Laguna Hills won, 74-47.

Early playoff highlights for O.C. teams

OCVARSITY.COM

Taking a look at the early highlights from the CIF-SS girls basketball playoffs:

THEY MEET AGAIN

Sonora has high expectations after earning the No. 2 seed in Division 3AAA for the second consecutive season. The Raiders took care of Murrieta Mesa of Murrieta, 45-33, in the first round on Thursday, setting up a rematch at Agoura in the second round today.

Agoura upset the Raiders, 62-56, in the second round last season.

Sonora needs strong performances from senior center Kylie Rodriguez (15.6 ppg) and senior guard Margo Campos (16.6 ppg) if it hopes to avenge the loss.

TOUGH, TOUGH, TOUGH

Division 1AA easily is the toughest bracket with seven teams ranked in Cal-Hi Sports' most recent state rankings.

The quarterfinals are expected to be brutally tough.

There shouldn't be too many surprises in the first round today, but there could be some interesting games in the second round Wednesday.

If Neah Odom (14.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Kate McCutchen (13.1 ppg) can help Los Alamitos get past visiting M.L. King of Riverside today, the Griffins likely will play 16th-ranked Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley.

If Geena Gomez, Loli Gomez and Justine Modde can get Edison past visiting Chino Hills today, the Chargers likely would play 10th-ranked Etiwanda on Wednesday.

FOOTHILL SIZZLING

Many believed Foothill was going to have a rebuilding season after winning the Division 2A title and reaching the CIF SoCal Division 2 regional final last season.

But Foothill coach Vince Namba had Hailey James back to build around, and the senior guard has been up to the task in her role as team leader.

The Knights enter the postseason as one of the hottest teams in a wide-open Division 1A bracket. Foothill closed the regular season with a seven-game winning streak, including victories over El Dorado, Brea Olinda and Canyon to claim a share of the Century League title.

LAGUNA HILLS BATTLES

Laguna Hills, the defending Division 3AA champion, lost 6-foot-2 senior center Anna Mumm to a season-ending knee injury almost three weeks ago.

So how would the Hawks react without their center in the first round of the Division 3AAA playoffs?

Taylor Messick scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Cheyenne Berbey (15 points), Christina King (12 points), Aaleah Brown (11 points) and Maddy Ziering Smith (seven points, six assists) contributed to Laguna Hills' 74-47 victory over Pasadena. The fourth-seeded Hawks play at La Habra today.

BREA OLINDA HURTING

Brea Olinda lost point guard Anna Kim to a fractured ankle almost two weeks ago, which will really hurt the Ladycats' chances in Division 1AA.

If the Ladycats beat Great Oak of Temecula today, they would be huge underdogs in a likely matchup against fourth-seeded Long Beach Poly in the second round.

***************

O.C. NAMES AND NUMBERS

10 star players from the first-round games:

Allyson O'Brien, La Habra

Natalie Tran, Irvine

Zaire Williams, Santa Margarita

Taylor Messick, Laguna Hills

Blaysen Varnadoe, Fairmont Prep

Sydney Lopez, Whittier Christian

Caitlin Heinly, Santa Margarita

Jaylin Jones, El Dorado

Samantha Hernandez, Rosary

Abby Conklin, San Juan Hills

10 teams we expect to make it past the second-round games:

Mater Dei

Troy

Orange Lutheran

JSerra

Westminster

Foothill

Woodbridge

El Dorado

Laguna Hills

Sonora

Contact the writer: carias@ocregister.com


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