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|All-County girls basketball 2011-12|
The 2011-12 all-county girls selections are introduced as well as interviews with the player of the year Nirra Fields, and coach of the year Vince Namba. Video by Jonathan Khamis, OCVarsity.com
|All-County basketball 2011-12 bloopers|
All-County basketball bloopers. Video by Jonathan Khamis, OCVarsity.com
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Foothill's Namba is girls basketball coach of the year
Foothill finished second behind Brea Olinda in the Century League before it embarked on an amazing run to the CIF-SS Division 2A championship and the CIF Southern California Division 2 Regional finals.
Foothill coach Vince Namba was there to guide the Knights the whole way and he is The Register's girls basketball coach of the year.
"It was amazing," Namba said. "It's one of those runs where you tell yourself and you tell the team you just gotta enjoy this. Not a lot of teams get to experience something like that."
The Knights pulled off three incredible victories in the state tournament.
Foothill needed a 40-footer at the buzzer from Dayanara Armenta to stun Monroe of North Hills, 44-41, in the first round.
UC Davis-bound Molly Greubel had a huge game to lead the Knights past Ventura, 50-48, and she hit the tying jumper at the end of regulation and the winning free throws in overtime to give Foothill a 53-51 victory against top-seeded Lynwood in the regional semifinals.
That put Foothill in the regional finals for the first time in school history. Foothill's amazing run came to an end one step away from the Division 2 state title game with a 57-49 defeat to J.W. North of Riverside.
The Knights fed off Namba's cool, calm and focused demeanor throughout the season.
"That's something we've never been through before," Namba said. "We literally had three straight games where it came down to the last five seconds of the game. Even the game we lost to J.W. North it went down to the last two or three minutes. It's exciting for the fans. It's a little more nerve-wracking for a coach. But definitely when you look back at it, it was a fun experience to come out big in those tight games and win three out of four of them."
Namba said he had a group of girls that refused to lose. Greubel, UC San Diego-bound Taylor Hirz, junior Hailey James, senior Kourtnee Kanemaru and senior Dayanara Armenta made up the starting five.
"I mean, any of those games could have gone either way," Namba said. "Really, going back to our (CIF-SS Division 2A) semifinal game there were probably five straight games where if it goes a little different, it goes the other way and your season is over. That's what happens when you have a group of seniors that refuse to lose. They were just willing to do everything. We were down against Murrieta Valley, we were down against Lynwood, we were down against Ventura ... three out of those five games we were down at halftime and usually that's not a very good equation.
"Usually you spend so much energy to get back in the game that by the end you're done. We were pretty tired at the end of them, but it's amazing that we came out on the top end of those games."
Foothill has had some great players in the past such as Kristen Mann and Christina Marinacci, and Namba puts Greubel up there with those all-time county greats.
"It starts at the top with a player like Molly," Namba said. "She has a competitive spirit like no other girl or guy player I've seen at Foothill. Even some of the other kids like Hailey and Dayanara, you could see the pain on their faces after we lost the year before.
"You could almost see it in their faces at the Murrieta Valley game. They didn't want that to happen again. It was a little bit of confidence and refusing to lose. Sometime with girls they're just happy to be there or they're pleased with the season they had. This team wasn't going to be satisfied unless they won the game. It didn't matter if they were playing Lynwood or some team at the bottom of the pile. They didn't care who it was. They weren't going to lose."