The Ventura High girls' basketball team will take on Muir for the second time in less than a week Thursday night in the semifinals of the Southern California Regional Division II tournament.
Muir defeated Ventura, 56-49, Friday for the Southern Section 4-AA Division championship. The Mustangs received an automatic berth in the regionals, while the Cougars were an at-large selection.
In the first round of the regionals Tuesday, Ventura (20-10) defeated Bakersfield North, 47-42, and Muir (27-5) routed Escondido San Pasual, 56-39.
The regional championship will be Saturday, and winners advance to the State tournament next weekend in Oakland.
"We didn't get off to a good start the last time we played Muir," Ventura Coach Glenn Gray said, referring to his team's 18-10 first-period deficit. "We got close to them a couple of times, but we just we're never able to catch up. We'll have to start much faster this time.
"I think the girls are very excited at a second chance. They know they have something to prove to themselves. They believe they can win."
Ventura is a younger team than Muir with four underclass players in the starting lineup. Muir starts all seniors.
In the 4-AA championship loss, Ventura junior Cori Herman scored a game-high 26 points but sat out most of the first half with three personal fouls. Muir senior guard Rose Jone connected on four three-pointers to lead the Mustangs with 24 points and five assists.
Ventura balanced things out against Bakersfield North as sophomore forward Denise Rea led the team with 14 points and junior guard Andrew Williams added nine. Herman had five points.
"This is a young team and you never know what to expect," Gray said. "Maybe the experience from the last Muir game will help us out the second time around. I'm sure hoping it does."
Elsewhere, the Buena girls capped a productive season on a disappointing note.
The Bulldogs entered last Friday's Southern Section 5-A championship game against Hart with a 26-0 record, but were beaten 49-45.
Buena received an at-large berth in the Division I regional tournament, but lost to top-seeded Morningside, 56-49, Tuesday night.
Morningside, the defending state champion, led by only four points, 45-41, heading into the final period but outscored Buena 11-8 to pull out the victory.
Junior guard Mia Palkie scored a team-high 15 points in a losing cause.