Prep Review : Corona del Mar’s Julie Smith Doesn’t Let Injury Keep Her Down


Julie Smith had a feeling something like this was going to happen. Playing for the Corona del Mar High School girls’ soccer team, a.k.a. Team 911, it was just a matter of time.

At one time or another this season, seemingly every player on Corona del Mar has been hurt or ill. At one point, Corona del Mar had eight seniors out with various afflictions.

Smith’s time came Thursday, with 10 minutes remaining in the first half of Corona del Mar’s match against Sea View League rival Newport Harbor. Smith, on a breakaway, had her heel clipped from behind and fell hard on her right shoulder.


Though Smith couldn’t raise her right arm more than a few inches and had to latch her right hand to her shorts “just to keep my arm straight,” she remained in the match.

She felt she couldn’t come out because Corona del Mar’s only reserve, Susie Peters, was available but had just come off an ankle injury.

“We’ve really got beat up this season,” said John Nguyen, Corona del Mar coach.

The team’s record hasn’t, however. Corona del Mar, defending Sea View League champions, is 9-5-4 overall and 1-1 in league play.

Smith, a 4-year starter who has stayed healthy enough to be described by Nguyen as “my iron woman,” was told at halftime that she had a separated shoulder.

With the score tied, 0-0, Smith decided to play the second half.

“I fell on it one time and that was really scary,” Smith said. “And it was frightening to get into a crowd of people.”

Smith assisted on the only goal in the match, dribbling across midfield and passing to Kristen Borland, who took a shot that deflected off the goal. Prentice Perkins, who had a 102-degree temperature the day before, got the rebound and scored with 5 minutes left.

“That kind of made it all worth it,” Smith said.

Smith, who has the right arm in a sling, said her family doctor has told that her she’ll be out a week or two. She says she’ll be practicing by Wednesday so she can play in Thursday’s match against Tustin.

“We went undefeated through league last year, but we tied Tustin twice,” Smith said. “So you can see why I want to play.”

There’s a euphemism for a basketball player with an ability to make a shot no matter the circumstance. Shooters like that are called unconscious.

Meet Lee Green.

Friday, during Fullerton’s Freeway League game against La Habra, Green fell on his head going for a rebound and had to be carried to the Fullerton bench with what Coach Chris Burton described as “a golf ball on his forehead.”

With 55 seconds to play, Fullerton, which had trailed by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter, had rallied to trail, 68-66, in large part because of guard Rene Arias, who scored 16 of his 35 points in the fourth.

With the ball and 11 seconds to go, Fullerton called timeout. Burton knew that La Habra would be keying on Arias and forward Pete Bach, who came into the game averaging 18 points a game. Burton looked at Green, a shooting guard who came into the game averaging 14 points.

“I asked Lee if he thought he could play,” Burton said. “He looked at me for a second, then said he thought so.”

Burton put Arias and Bach on one side of the court, to draw La Habra’s defense, and Green on the other. Green came off a screen, received the ball at the top of the key and let sail with a 3-point shot that gave Fullerton a 69-68 lead. Fullerton added 2 free throws to win, 71-68.

“He was probably a foot behind the 3-point line when he let that thing go,” Burton said. “I’ve always told him when he shoots to just go unconscious and let it happen. Looks like he listened to me.”

There were a couple of big victories last week by a couple of boys’ basketball programs that haven’t had a lot to cheer about recently.

Wednesday, San Clemente beat El Toro, 56-49. San Clemente came into the game with only three victories and had never beaten El Toro in Dion Kerhoulas’ 3 years as coach.

El Toro came in with 10 victories and Khari Johnson, one of the county’s top players, who has signed to attend UC Irvine.

Kerhoulas stuck Eddie Morgan, a 6-foot 6-inch sophomore, on Johnson for much of the game. Johnson, who came into the game averaging 16 points a game, got only 4.

Morgan is one of two sophomores who start for San Clemente; the other is Bill Hagedorn. Kerhoulas also starts two juniors. San Clemente has played well against tough competition, but its inexperience always seems to show up.

San Clemente was leading Capistrano Valley, ranked No. 5 in Orange County, by 3 points with 3 minutes left in the first half earlier this season.

“Then the bottom just dropped out,” Kerhoulas said.

That translates into 28 consecutive points by Capistrano Valley. San Clemente lost, 84-50.

“When you’re as young as we are, things like that are going to happen,” Kerhoulas said. “That’s why it was real good for them to get the win against El Toro.”

Kerhoulas said there was “no pandemonium after the game” because his team had played steady throughout.

Such was not the case Friday when Garden Grove beat defending Garden Grove League and 3-A champion Kennedy, 37-35, in overtime at Garden Grove.

“Bedlam basically broke out,” said Gene Campbell, who has coached at Garden Grove for 11 years.

Campbell, who watched his team lose two games to Kennedy last season, each time by more than 40 points, slowed the tempo down Friday. Way down.

“We just pulled the ball out. We knew that if we went head up with them, they’d blow us out,” Campbell said.

Even with the strategy, Garden Grove, which came into the game with only two victories, found itself down by 11, 33-22, with 4:48 left.

Chuck York, the team’s designated 3-point shooter, hit one to cut the lead to 33-25. After the shot, Garden Grove’s Brian Tran attempted to call a timeout, but was pushed as he ran toward a referee. Kennedy was called for a flagrant foul. Tran made both free throws to cut the lead to 33-27, and Garden Grove got the ball back.

Point guard Gilbert Alavarez penetrated and passed to Joe Squyres, who made a layup and was fouled. Squyres made the free throw to pull Garden Grove to 33-30 with 2:35 left.

Kennedy scored to lead, 35-30, but Tran answered with a jumper.

Kennedy turned the ball over on a pass thrown out of bounds, and Garden Grove got the ball back with 1:10 left.

Garden Grove held the ball until 19 seconds remained when York missed a 3-pointer. Julian Velas got an offensive rebound but missed on the follow. York got the rebound, dribbled out beyond the 3-point line and set sail with another. This one went in with 4 seconds to go and tied the score, 35-35.

Kennedy missed a desperation shot, then missed its first shot in overtime with 2:48 left. Garden Grove held the ball until Campbell called timeout with 13 seconds left.

Tran’s 10-foot jump shot put Garden Grove up, 37-35. Kennedy missed a long jump shot at the buzzer and Campbell and his players were mobbed by a capacity home crowd.

Campbell said this was only the third time he had run a slowdown game. In 1978 he held the ball against a Los Amigos team destined to be a Southern Section finalist.

“Clayton Olivier (who played at USC) made 2 free throws late and we lost by 1,” Campbell said.

In 1982, against a La Quinta team that would win the Garden Grove League title, Campbell held the ball and lost by 2 on a last-second shot.

Campbell said he was so happy it worked against Kennedy that “I couldn’t sleep at all Friday night.”

Streaks go and go on:

--The Huntington Beach boys’ basketball team defeated Ocean View, ranked No. 7 in Orange County, 74-65, Friday. It was Huntington Beach’s first victory over Ocean View in 7 years.

Huntington Beach, which entered Sunset League play with a 5-8 record, is a surprising 2-1 in league play. Wednesday, Huntington Beach beat Marina, 62-61, on Jeff Long’s shot at the buzzer.

--The Woodbridge boys’ basketball team lost to Laguna Hills, 68-62, Friday. It was the first Pacific Coast League loss for Woodbridge, which had won 22 in a row over 3 seasons.

--With its 48-7 Century League-opening victory over El Modena Thursday, the Canyon wrestling team has won 47 consecutive Century League matches spanning 10 years. The last time the Comanches lost was to El Modena.

--The Mission Viejo girls’ soccer team just keeps rolling along. Thursday’s match against Irvine was supposed to be a major test. Some even thought Irvine would end Mission Viejo’s national record of 82 matches without a loss.

Final score: Mission Viejo 6, Irvine 1.

What’s a coach to do?

Alex Acosta, Bishop Amat boys’ basketball coach, was suffering through a miserable second half Friday in which his team scored just 17 points en route to a 61-40 Angelus League loss to Servite.

His team made only one shot outside 8 feet and scored only 4 points in the third quarter. And only four Bishop Amat players would score.

Acosta was trying everything to shake his team up. He had his players run, he slowed them down, they shot from the outside, they tried to jam the ball inside the key. Nothing worked.

Finally, exasperated, Acosta yelled his last-gasp order: “Don’t shoot! Just don’t shoot!”

But a Bishop Amat player did anyway.

He missed.

Former Fountain Valley High kicker Micky Penaflor of Northern Arizona University has been named to Football News’ first-team All-American team for Division I-AA.

Penaflor, a junior, established a Northern Arizona career scoring record with 180 points. Last season, he scored 90 points, making 19 of 24 field goal attempts, the longest from 52 yards.

Penaflor’s best game came on national television against Northern Iowa when he made 6 of 7 field goal attempts, the second most productive day for a field-goal kicker in a National Collegiate Athletic Assn. I-AA division game. Penaflor’s coach, Goran Ling-merth, set the NCAA I-AA mark in 1986 while playing for Northern Arizona. Lingmerth made 8 of 8 attempts against Idaho.

Penaflor is a hotel restaurant management major at Northern Arizona.