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Girls basketball: League battles heating up O.C. scene
We're coming down to the final three weeks of the girls basketball regular season.
League championships and playoff seedings will be on the line as Orange County's top teams battle for positioning.
Here are the top 10 games left on the regular-season schedule:
Westminster at Segerstrom, Tuesday, 7 p.m.: The Lions and Jaguars have developed quite a rivalry in recent years. Segerstrom is the three-time defending Golden West League champion, but last season it shared the league title with Westminster. These two teams met on Dec. 1 in the championship game of the Corona del Mar Tournament and the Jaguars came away with the victory on a basket by Nancy De La Cruz with five seconds left. Segerstrom is led by junior guard Kayla Stephens (17.9 ppg) and senior point guard Natalie Perales (16.7 ppg). The Lions are led by Azusa Pacific-bound Maggie Dumphy (15.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 3.5 bpg), who has been one of the top post players in the county this season.
Brea Olinda at Troy, Saturday, 7 p.m.: This is the season the No. 2 Warriors have been pointing to for a while. Stanford-bound Briana Roberson, Oregon State-bound Gabriella Hanson and Denver-bound Alecia Dimas are all seniors and they are healthy. Troy has struggled in big-time matchups this season with losses to Mater Dei, Science Hill of Johnson City, Tenn., and Santiago of Corona, but the Warriors had a breakthrough with a 46-37 victory over Quest Prep of Las Vegas on Saturday in the OC/SD Challenge. Brea Olinda is out to show that reports of its demise were premature. The Ladycats are undefeated in the super-competitive Century League. Long Beach State-bound Anna Kim has been fantastic as the Ladycats' floor leader and Arin Perry has been knocking down a ton of 3s.
Mater Dei at JSerra, Saturday, 7 p.m.: The top-ranked Monarchs appear to be on pace to win their sixth consecutive Trinity League title. Can anyone in the Trinity League stop them? Probably not. But the team with the best chance might be the No. 4 Lions. Courtney Vaccher, a 6-2 junior, and Megan House, a 6-4 sophomore, give JSerra the kind of size in the post that Mater Dei does not have. August Touchard and Coco Miller are clutch guards for the Lions. That being said, Mater Dei defeated JSerra by 20 points in their first meeting. It's hard to stop the Monarchs with sophomore sensation Katie Lou Samuelson and Stanford-bound Karlie Samuelson bombing away from the 3-point line.
Cypress at Kennedy, Jan. 28, 7 p.m.: The Empire League crown will likely be decided when these two teams meet. Kennedy pulled out a 44-40 victory over the Centurions in the first meeting on Jan. 7. Keep an eye on Kennedy's Kylie Masumiya and Cypress' Rachel Masai when they have their second meeting.
Laguna Hills at El Toro, Jan. 29, 5:30 p.m.: The Chargers trail San Clemente and Laguna Hills in the South Coast League title race, but their chances got better when point guard Whitney Williams returned from a torn ACL. El Toro is 3-1 in its past four games with Williams in the lineup. Maddy Ziering-Smith is one of the more exciting point guards in the county and Anna Mumm, a 6-2 senior, and Taylor Messick, a 6-0 senior, give the Hawks some threats in the post.
Los Alamitos at Edison, Jan. 29, 7 p.m.: Edison has found its rhythm at the right time in the season. The Chargers have won eight consecutive games. St. Joseph's-bound Geena Gomez has been on been leading the way with her scoring and her ability to get her teammates involved in the offense. Junior guard Loli Gomez and freshman forward Justine Modde have also been big contributors. Senior guard Kate McCutchen (13.9 ppg) and freshman forward Neah Odom (13.9 ppg, 9.0 rpg) lead the Griffins, who can knock down 3-pointers at a high clip.
Foothill at El Dorado, Feb. 1, 5:45 p.m.: Foothill, El Dorado and Canyon appear to be able to knock each other off on any given night, which is what makes the Century League so entertaining. The sophomore duo of Jaylin Jones and Brooke Salas can be a force for the Hawks. Senior Hailey James is Foothill's go-to player. El Dorado beat Foothill, 58-42, in the first meeting, but expect a much closer game in their second meeting.
San Clemente at Laguna Hills, Feb. 4, 7:30 p.m.: The Hawks beat San Clemente, 67-60, in the third-place game at the Larry Doyle O.C. Championships in late December, but the Tritons avenged the loss with a 60-44 victory in a South Coast League game on Jan. 17. This one could decide the league championship.
Segerstrom at Westminster, Feb. 7, 7 p.m.: It always goes down to the wire when Westminster and Segerstrom hook up.
Orange Lutheran at JSerra, Feb. 7, 7 p.m.: Second place in the Trinity League will likely be on the line when the Lancers and Lions hook up in this rematch. JSerra defeated Orange Lutheran, 51-46, in the first meeting.
The girls games for the Nike Extravaganza XVII will be held Feb. 1 at Mater Dei High. Here are the matchups: Rialto vs. Rosary, 4:30 p.m.; Orange Lutheran vs. Oaks Christian of Westlake Village, 6 p.m.; and Mater Dei vs. Windward of L.A., 9 p.m. ...
JSerra plays host to the Division 4 Showcase on Feb. 2. The showcase features 12 of the top Division 4 teams in Southern California, including La Jolla Country Day, Windward, St. Anthony of Long Beach, Marlborough of L.A., Crossroads of Santa Monica, St. Bernard of Playa del Rey and JSerra. Lions coach Mary Rossignol said the matchups will be based on the rankings the week before the showcase. ...
Mater Dei is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the most recent USA Today rankings. No. 3 Windward and No. 10 Long Beach Poly are the other CIF-SS teams in the rankings. ...
Mater Dei is ranked No. 1 in the state in the most recent CalHiSports.com rankings. Here are the other CIF-SS teams in the state rankings: No. 2 Windward; No. 5 Long Beach Poly; No. 8 Chaminade of West Hills; No. 9 Santiago of Corona; No. 10 Troy; No. 11 Millikan of Long Beach; No. 12 Serra of Gardena; No. 14 Etiwanda; No. 19 Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley; and No. 20 Centennial of Corona.