ALL-COUNTY GIRLS’ BASKETBALL TEAM : A Season Worth Remembering : Brea’s State Title Highlights County’s Unparalleled Success

Times Staff Writer

It was the most successful season for Orange County girls’ high school basketball teams. Ever.

Brea-Olinda High School won the county’s first state championship, defeating San Francisco Mercy for the Division III title Saturday in Oakland. Katella also was there Saturday, playing for the Division II title, but lost to Sacramento Grant.

Three teams--Brea, Katella and Valencia--won Southern Section titles. And a fourth, Canyon, played for, but lost, a Southern Section title.

An Orange County player, Amy Jalewalia of La Quinta, led the Southern Section in scoring with a 31.2-point average. Another, Tina Ranker of Mission Viejo, led the section in assists with 11.1 a game.

But Brea established itself as the team of the season on its way to the state championship.


The Ladycats finished the season with a 31-2 record and did not lose to a California school. Brea whipped its opponents by such scores as 70-46 and 71-39. And that was in the state playoffs. The Ladycats won the Southern Section 3-A title by a section record-tying 29-point margin.

And to think they had only three seniors on the roster.

“I really didn’t think it would be our year,” said Brea Coach Mark Trakh, basking in the afterglow of a 70-46 victory over Mercy. “But next year might be our year too.”

Indeed, Brea’s best players were junior guards Aimee McDaniel and Tammy Blackburn. But Jinelle Williams, a sophomore center, improved game by game late in the season. And freshman forward Jody Anton could be headed for greatness if she keeps improving, according to Trakh.

Katella was only a notch below.

“Second in the state was much farther then I ever thought we could go,” Katella Coach Barb Bausch said.

The Knights won the school’s first Southern Section title for boys or girls when it beat Muir in the 4-A championship game.

They advanced to the State Division II championship game, primarily on the shoulders of guard Joni Easterly.

Easterly led Katella by scoring 22 points a game, but her fourth-quarter heroics in the 4-A and Southern California Regional championship games will live longer in the minds of Katella fans.

Against Muir in the 4-A title game, Easterly had 19 points in the fourth quarter and then added nine more in overtime as Katella won, 54-48. She had a game-high 34 points.

Against Vista in the regional final, she scored all but three of her team’s 15 fourth-quarter points as the Knights again rallied to win. This time she had 24 for the game and Katella was on its way to Oakland.

Saturday, she had 22 points to lead the Knights, but they ran up against a superior team from Sacramento Grant and lost, 59-43.

Next season, Easterly will work her magic at USC.

ALL--COUNTY DATA HOLLY ANDERSON Capistrano Valley 6-1 Center, Senior

Anderson averaged 22.9 points a game for the Cougars, showing good range on her outside shots. She also was strong inside, averaging more than 12 rebounds per game. Anderson helped Capistrano Valley reach the second round of the 5-A playoffs.

KRISTEN BEVIS El Toro 5-10 Forward, Senior

Bevis carried the Chargers into the second round of the 5-AA playoffs this season, averaging 16 points a game. She was named the most valuable player of the South Coast League. Bevis led the Southern Section in three-pointers, making 25 of 64.

TAMMY BLACKBURN Brea-Olinda 5-8 Guard, Junior

Half of the talented backcourt that led Brea to the State Division III championship, Blackburn, who played shooting guard for the Ladycats, averaged 12.6 points a game and was named All-Orange League for the second season in a row.

JONI EASTERLY Katella 5-11 Guard, Senior

Easterly led Katella to the State Division II championship game, where the Knights lost to Sacramento Grant. She also led the Knights to the 4-A title over Muir, scoring 19 points in a fourth-quarter rally. The MVP of the Empire League, she averaged 22 points a game.

KERI ERKENBRACK Canyon 5-11 Forward, Senior

Erkenbrack helped Canyon reach the 4-AA championship game, where it lost to Valencia. She averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds for Canyon, which broke Foothill’s 66-game Century League win streak and won the league championship.

STACEY HISAKA Fountain Valley 5-6 Guard, Senior

Hisaka led the Barons to the semifinals of the 5-AA playoffs, where they lost to Morningside, the eventual state champion. Hisaka averaged 14 points a game as the Barons’ point guard. She was a three-year starter for Fountain Valley.

AMY JALEWALIA La Quinta 6-1 Forward, Junior

Jalewalia, the county’s most versatile player, often brought the ball upcourt as a guard. Primarily, she played forward for the Aztecs. She averaged a Southern Section-leading 31.2 points a game in leading La Quinta to the Garden Grove League title.

AIMEE McDANIEL Brea-Olinda 5-6 Guard, Junior

The other half of Brea’s potent guard tandem, Blackburn led the team with a 16-point average. She had 22 points in Brea’s state championship victory over San Francisco Mercy in Oakland. She was the Orange League co-MVP.

KRISTEN McDONALD Valencia 5-11 Center, Senior

McDonald, the Orange League co-MVP, led Valencia to its first 4-AA championship. She muscled her way to a 19.3 scoring and 9.1 rebounding averages for the Tigers. She wasn’t the biggest center in the county, but few were as scrappy.

JENNIFER ROHRIG Mission Viejo 6-2 Center, Junior

Rohrig, a second-team All-South Coast League selection, averaged 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds. She helped the Diablos to their second consecutive South Coast League championship and to the semifinal round of the 4-AA playoffs.