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Laguna Hills survives ups and downs to beat Mission Viejo

OCVARSITY.COM

Laguna Hills' girls basketball team has been forced to get used to life without Celia Marfone, arguably one of the best players in the school's history.

Marfone, who was the CIF-SS Division 3AA player of the year last season after leading the Hawks to the Division 3AA title and the CIF Division 3 state championship game, starts for UC Davis.

The No. 10 Hawks have had some ups early in this 2012-13 season, but their lackluster effort in the second half of a 49-34 victory over Mission Viejo in the 12th Santa Ana Elks Classic on Wednesday at Segerstrom High wasn't one of them. Laguna Hills built a 36-15 lead by halftime and coasted in for the finish.

"It's up and down. We have flashes," Laguna Hills coach Jim Martin said. "Like tonight, I just felt like we didn't play. I think all the girls will tell you that. We just didn't seem to have any jump in our step. I give Mission credit. They played hard."

Senior point guard Maddy Ziering-Smith, a third-team All-County selection last season, and senior center Anna Mumm are the only returning starters for Laguna Hills (5-1).

"It's a little different without (Celia) and all our girls from last year, but we have a lot of people that are coming in and doing a lot for us. " said Ziering-Smith, who is being recruited by BYU, UC Irvine and a few other schools. "So it's going to be different, but if we work hard I think we'll do good."

Ziering-Smith had 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Mumm scored 10 points and senior forward Taylor Messick had 12 points and 10 rebounds against the Diablos (3-4).

"I think she is one of the better athletes in the county," Martin said of Ziering-Smith. "I mean, she does a little bit of everything. She's averaging 8.0 rebounds going into this game. She's our leading scorer, leading assists, she's third in rebounds, so, yeah, she is a pretty good athlete."

Martin said he saw some brights spots when his team went 3-1 last week in the South Coast Classic at University High.

"It's an up-and-down process," Martin said. "We don't have the same experience level and we're not as deep. We got some size with Mumm and Messick. We don't have a lot of depth behind that. We're starting three kids that are 5-4 or shorter. It's a big difference. You go from the 6-footer and 6-2 girls to 5-4, 5-4 and 5-foot."

Laguna Hills plays Segerstrom, which won the Corona del Mar Tournament a couple of weeks ago and is off to a 7-0 start, in a pool-play game on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Segerstrom High.

"They are undefeated," Martin said of Segerstrom. "That's going to be a challenge for us."

In the Hawk Holiday Classic:

Anaheim 49, Laguna Beach 44: Lara Maceren scored 25 points, including five 3-pointers, to help the Colonists (7-3) defeat the Breakers (6-2) in a consolation game at Ocean View High.

In the Arroyo Tournament:

Sonora 52, La Canada 32: Margo Campos scored 17 points, Lauren Nakahara had 13 points and five assists and Avalon James had two points and 12 rebounds to lead the Raiders (7-1) past the visiting Spartans (4-3).


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