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Ventura Girls Seek 1st Title in Basketball in 15 Seasons

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Ventura High girls’ basketball team will approach tonight’s Southern Section II-AA Division championship game against top-seeded Brea-Olinda as it has its other games this season.

“We’re not going to do anything different,” Ventura Coach Glenn Gray said. “We’re just going to play hard basketball and execute the fundamentals.”

Third-seeded Ventura (23-3), the Channel League co-champion, defeated second-seeded Gahr, 56-43, Wednesday to advance to its second consecutive title game. The contest will be played at Cal Poly Pomona at 8:15 p.m.

The Cougars also tied a 15-year-old school record for most wins in a season.

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Ventura last won a Southern Section championship in the 1975-76 season when it went undefeated.

Seven players, including all five starters, return from last season’s team that lost to Muir in the 4-AA Division title game.

The Cougar offense revolves around three-year starter Cori Herman, a 5-foot-7 senior guard who averaged 16.7 points and 7.9 rebounds during the regular season, and Denise Rea, a 5-9 junior forward. Rea averaged 10.4 points and 6.7 rebounds during the regular season but scored a game-high 18 points in the semifinal win over Gahr.

Brea-Olinda (28-1), the nine-time Orange League champion and state Division II runner-up last season, beat Riverside North, 68-59, in its semifinal. Brea-Olinda’s only loss was to nationally-ranked Christ the King of New York in January.

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This will mark Brea-Olinda’s third consecutive appearance in the final and its seventh under Coach Mark Trakh.

Judy Anton, a 5-11 junior center, and 5-6 freshman guard Nicole Erickson, who averaged 5.9 assists during the regular season, scored 21 and 17 points in the win over North. Senior forward Jinelle Williams (5-9) was limited to seven points against North but averaged 24 points in the Lady Cats’ three other playoff games.


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