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PREVIEWS: HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS : SOUTHERN SECTION GIRLS : Palos Verdes Strolls Into III-AA Final

TIMES PREP SPORTS EDITOR

After spending most of the regular season as The Times’ No. 1-ranked girls’ Southern Section basketball team, Palos Verdes figured it had something to prove when it dropped to No. 2 after recently losing the Ocean League title to Inglewood Morningside, 56-50.

The Sea Kings have made a strong bid to regain No. 1 by breezing through the III-AA Division playoffs. In three playoff games, Palos Verdes has outscored its opponents, 256-112. Its closest game was a 78-54 victory over Pomona Ganesha in the semifinals Wednesday.

Palos Verdes (27-2) will make its second consecutive title-game appearance Saturday when it faces Lompoc (22-2) at 4:30 p.m. at Cal Poly Pomona. The Sea Kings lost to Brea-Olinda in the III-AA final last year, 50-33.

Morningside (23-3), three-time defending section major division champion, plays Chino (24-3) tonight at 8:15 at UC Irvine for the I-AA title. Under first-year Coach Ron Randle, Morningside hopes to win a third consecutive state title.

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Janet Davis of Morningside has taken over for graduated All-American Lisa Leslie, averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Ranked No. 3 behind Morningside and Palos Verdes is Ventura Buena (25-2), which meets Thousand Oaks (27-3) for the I-A championship tonight at 6:30 at UC Irvine. Buena, playing in its seventh title game, is going after its third championship. Thousand Oaks is led by Michelle Palmisano, who is averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Brea-Olinda (28-1), which has won three section championships under Coach Mark Trakh, will play Ventura (23-3) in the II-AA title game Saturday at 8:15 p.m. at Cal Poly Pomona.

Saturday at Cal Poly Pomona, Irvine Woodbridge (24-5) will face Torrance Bishop Montgomery (24-4) in the II-A championship at 6:30 p.m., and Costa Mesa (20-8) meets Playa del Rey St. Bernard (23-6) at 2:45 p.m. for the III-A title.

The IV-AA championship game between Morro Bay (23-3) and Santa Ynez (15-11) will be played tonight at 7:30 at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. Morro Bay won both games against its Los Padres League rival during the regular season.

The IV-A final between Santa Maria St. Joseph (22-5) and Riverside Notre Dame (21-4) will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Hancock College in Santa Maria; the V-AA title game between Pasadena Poly (29-0) and San Luis Obispo Mission Prep (20-5) will be tonight at 7:30 at Caltech, and the V-A final between Arcadia Rio Hondo Prep (22-3) and Hemet Baptist Christian (21-4) will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Citrus College in Azusa.


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