It didn’t take long for Coach Barb Bausch to notice a change in the Katella High School girls’ basketball team.
Riding a wave of optimism after winning the Southern Section 4-A championship, 54-48, in overtime against Muir Thursday, Bausch has turned the team’s attention toward the Division II Southern California Regionals.
Katella (26-3) plays host to San Marcos (21-7) of the San Diego Section tonight at 7:30 at Katella.
“I’ve got them thinking about state,” Bausch said. “They haven’t let down. It’s great they’re still improving.”
Joni Easterly, a 5-foot-11 guard, had a big game in leading the Knights to the title, scoring 34 points. She took command in the late going, scoring 19 in the fourth quarter and the overtime period.
Connie Vance, a reserve point guard, also had a big hand in helping Katella. She settled the team down when it was out of sync in the second half.
Should Katella win, it will meet the winner of the Muir-Bakersfield North game in Thursday’s semifinals.
San Marcos also boasts a high-scoring player.
Susie O’Brien was the San Diego Section’s leading scorer this season with a 29.9-point average.
In other games:
Canyon (22-5) at Vista (26-3): Not only did Canyon lose the 4-AA title to Valencia Thursday night, but two of its best players got hurt Saturday in the 3-A soccer final.
First, leading scorer Keri Erkenbrack, who plays goalie on the soccer team, got kicked in the head trying to make a save and suffered a mild concussion.
Then, playmaker Christa Ramirez, the leading scorer on the soccer team, injured her knee and limped through the game.
It’s hardly the best way to enter the regionals against the top-seeded team in the division. Vista won the San Diego Section Division II title.
Center Chris Enger, a 6-4 senior, averages 26.7 points a game to lead Vista.
Visalia Mt. Whitney (21-2) at Valencia (20-9): Mt. Whitney lost in the Central Section Division II championship game to Bakersfield North last week.
Mt. Whitney relies heavily on its defense. The team is not very fleet of foot, which hurt it against Bakersfield North.
DeAnn Lancaster, a 5-11 forward, and Elaine Harrell, a guard, each average 13 points to lead Mt. Whitney. The team has been helped by the return two games ago of Marcie Green, who missed six games with a hand injury.
Valencia may not be the best team in the division, but it could be the hardest working. The Tigers hustled their way to the 4-AA championship last week.
Nancy Amoroso, a senior guard, leads a relentless attack that dives after loose balls and disrupts offenses. Amoroso had 21 points in the title game.