SOUTHERN SECTION CHAMPIONSHIPS : Palos Verdes Girls Crush Lompoc
By fall, Palos Verdes High will be but a memory.
But on Saturday night, the Sea Kings girls’ basketball team gave the student body something to remember by blasting Lompoc, 69-36, in the Southern Section III-AA championship game at Cal Poly Pomona.
It was the third time in four years that Palos Verdes (28-2) made it to the final. The Sea Kings captured the 3-A title in 1988 and lost to Brea in the III-AA final last season.
But no more. This fall, former Palos Verdes students, along with those from Rolling Hills and Miraleste, will report to newly formed Peninsula High.
“I know that was in the girls’ mind and it was my mind, too,” Sea King Coach Wendell Yoshida said. “But these were the type of girls who always set high goals for themselves anyway so I’m not sure they wouldn’t have played this hard even if it wasn’t our final year.”
Yoshida’s an off-campus coach--under normal circumstances, a drawback for the Peninsula job. But he is regarded as one of the area’s most talented coaches and is expected to be considered for the job.
Asked if he will be the Peninsula coach next year, Yoshida said, “I hope so.”
Palos Verdes hit 48% of its shots while holding Lompoc (22-3) to 32%. The Sea Kings forced 29 turnovers and blocked three shots.
But for a time, the Braves were right in the game. They even led, 16-15, with two minutes left in the first half.
Palos Verdes then scored the final eight points of the second quarter, which trumpeted the start of a 34-5 spurt that secured the victory.
“I think they might have taken us a little lightly at first,” Lompoc Coach Sherm Hansen said. “But when they started playing, we really got out of our game and that was it.”
Lompoc could not contain Sea Kings guard Kristen Mulligan, who scored a game-high 24 points, had out four assists and made seven steals. Jeffa Gausepohl, a 6-foot-5 center, scored 15 points and neutralized her counterpart, 6--5 center Nicki Manzo, who scored 14 points but spent much of the game in foul trouble.
Palos Verdes doesn’t have to quit yet. The Sea Kings will probably be seeded No. 1 for the State Division III regional tournament next week.
“We’re ready,” said Yoshida, who has coached the Sea Kings for 11 years. “We don’t want to ever quit playing.”