Simi Valley Girls Routed in 4-A Playoff

Times Staff Writer

Freshman center Lisa Leslie of Morningside High smiled sheepishly as she ambled down the court in the second quarter Saturday night, almost looking embarrassed at the way her team was swatting Simi Valley.

Hardly the look of a killer, but then, Leslie, a 6-foot-4 14-year-old, was having a great time doing what she does best--exterminating the shots of those pesky little players on the other team.

Leslie scored 8 points, had 9 rebounds and blocked 11 shots in less than three quarters of play as Morningside (27-2) routed Simi Valley, 68-37, in a Southern Section 4-A quarterfinal at Simi Valley.

"She flyswatted a few, didn't she?" admitted Simi Valley Coach Dave Murphy. "And the rest of them; heck, they must have four legitimate Division I starters out there."

Leslie's front-court teammate Shaunda Greene, an All-Southern Section player last season as a junior, scored a game-high 19 points and added 17 rebounds to complement the play of Leslie inside.

But then again, there were plenty of rebounds for everybody.

Simi Valley made 3 of 17 shots in the first half as Morningside opened a 32-15 lead at intermission. Simi Valley did not score a field goal in the second quarter, missing on all 14 attempts. All four points were on free throws.

Simi Valley (23-4) finally scored a basket again with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter on a jumper by Keira Irwin, but Morningside had already built a 45-21 lead.

"After the first couple of shots are blocked, you kind of say 'Whoa,' " said Simi Valley senior forward Paula Cooper. "You try to reverse, or move to the other side away from her and she's right there and reaches back and gets you."

Other Simi Valley victims agreed.

"I don't think I ever played against anybody that tall," said senior center Julie Arlotto, the Pioneers' career scoring leader who was held to a team-high 12 points.

If Leslie doesn't get to you, her teammates will. Four Morningside players scored in double figures. Guards Carla Gladden and Tia Thomas had 14 and 13 points.

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