Another game, another rout for the Brea-Olinda High School girls’ basketball team.
As has become their method of operation lately, the Wildcats won yet another Southern California Regional Division III playoff game by 30 points or more. This time, Brea thumped Lemoore, 71-39, to win the regional championship Saturday in the Sports Arena.
It was the Wildcats’ third regional game this week and the third time they won by at least 30 points.
Was there any reason to think this game would be any different from past wipeouts?
Brea led from start to finish. And, as if they needed it, the Wildcats threw in a 25-0 run late in the game for good measure.
Brea (30-2) advances to the state Division III championship game against San Francisco Mercy Saturday in Oakland.
Brea is the first Orange County girls’ team to reach a state championship game since Mission Viejo lost the Division II title game in 1982. The Wildcats take a 21-game winning streak into the state championship game. Lemoore finished its season 20-8.
Jinelle Williams, a sophomore forward, led Brea to its latest blowout by scoring a game-high 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Aimee McDaniel, a sophomore guard, had 18 points and made four of eight three-point shots. And forward Cindy Gunn, the only senior starter, added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Rachel Rossiter, a junior forward, led Lemoore with 15 points.
“They’ve been killing everyone and now I know why,” Lemoore Coach Karen Wood said.
Brea started slowly, but behind McDaniel’s outside shooting, opened an 18-13 first-quarter lead and never let up. McDaniel had 10 points in the first quarter.
Brea extended its lead, slowly but surely pulling away as Williams and Gunn controlled the inside. The pair was one reason why Brea outrebounded Lemoore, 51-40.
Brea ended any lingering doubts as to who would win late in the third quarter.
Brea led, 42-30, with 3 minutes left in the quarter, but went on a 25-0 tear to push the lead to 67-30 and put the game out of reach.
Not until Shari Fetterhoff made a free throw with 4:34 left in the game did Lemoore break the streak.
Lemoore had been without 6-foot-2 center Ginger Thayer, who had knee surgery at midseason and had no one to contend with either of Brea’s inside players.
“If you don’t have an inside game, you better be able to shoot outside and we didn’t,” Wood said.
Lemoore made just 14 of 57 (24.6%) shots from the field. Brea was 27 of 65 for 41.5%.
“They were overplaying Jinelle and we were getting a lot of lob passes to her,” Gunn said.
Williams is 5-8, but was too quick and Gunn, 5-10, worked hard to get good position under the basket.
“It’s a combination of some things,” Brea Coach Mark Trakh said. “I don’t think the teams we’ve been playing are that bad. We’re just peaking at the right time.”
In seven postseason games, including the Southern Section 3-A playoffs, Brea has been challenged only once. Lakewood St. Joseph came within seven points of Brea in the 3-A semifinals. But every other game, including a 29-point victory over Atascadero in the 3-A title game, has been a rout.
Brea is undefeated against California schools this season. Its only two loses came in the Christ the King tournament in New York in December.
“I don’t think it’s hit me that we’re in the state championship game yet,” Gunn said. “We’ve just kept winning.”