Pam Walker is certain that her Hart High basketball team will make its presence known tonight in a girls’ Division I state playoff game at Point Loma. She isn’t sure, however, whether her identity will be clear to Lee Trepanier, the Point Loma coach.
Walker has worked with Trepanier for the past three summers at a basketball camp at Pepperdine, but she doubts that Trepanier knows who she is.
“I was one of a few coaches assisting him and he never called me by name,” Walker said. “I don’t think he’s made the connection yet that I’m the Hart coach. I think he’ll be surprised when he sees who I am.”
Walker and her team have been full of surprises this season. Two years removed from a winless Foothill League season, the Indians are the reigning Southern Section 5-A Division champions and they have a state tournament playoff victory under their belts.
Hart (26-2) beat Fontana, 68-57, Tuesday to advance to today’s semifinal round of the Southern California regionals.
Point Loma, one of the premier programs in the state, won four consecutive state championships from 1984 to ’87, and Trepanier has compiled a 305-45 record in 13 seasons. The Pointers (31-1) are led by Monica Filer, a 5-6 senior point guard who has set the state single-season assist record (356) and also averages 22 points a game. Center Tyeast Brown (5-9) averages 15 points and 16 rebounds, and sophomore forward Chris Drumm (5-9) averages 15 points.
Hart cannot match Point Loma’s speed and will try to capitalize on its height advantage. Hart boasts four starters who are at least six feet tall, led by 6-3 junior Sara Wilson (17.8 points, 14.1 rebounds) and 6-1 senior Nikki Brodowy (11.4 and 9.8).
“We need to break their press early and play calm and controlled,” Walker said. “We have to get a handle on Brown and Filer and use our size inside.”
Entering the game as the underdog may work to Hart’s advantage.
“The pressure is off us,” she said. “They’re the No. 2 seed and they have to back that up. They’ve got tradition and that’s a credit to their program, but we’re building a tradition of our own.”