The stakes will be the highest yet for Alemany and Bishop Montgomery highs when the Mission League rivals meet today for the fourth time this season and the second time in a week in the girls' Division II Southern regional final at 12:30 p.m. at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Last Saturday, Alemany defeated Bishop Montgomery, 56-51, at UC Irvine in the Southern Section Division II-A championship game. Such are the vagaries of the state tournament that the teams meet again, this time with a trip to next weekend's state championship game at stake.
Alemany (28-4) split games against Bishop Montgomery during the regular season, losing its league opener to the Knights on the road, 51-41, then rebounding for a 63-52 win at home en route to the league title.
Bishop Montgomery (26-7) finished third in league play but has regained its stride in the playoffs. The sixth-seeded Knights advanced to the state playoffs as an at-large team and have twice won on the road, beating Central Section champion Sanger, 52-51, and Southern Section Division II-AA champion Gahr, 60-50.
The fourth-seeded Indians have not lost since the defeat at Bishop Montgomery 16 games ago. In the state playoffs, Alemany defeated Central Section runner-up Fresno Edison at home, 66-61, then crushed San Diego Section champion and top-seeded Carlsbad, 68-42, on the road.
All five starters--point guard Rachel Corelli, freshman wings Samantha Rigley and Kelly McKay, and post players Sarah Guziel and Zevette Mitchell--scored 12 or more points against Carlsbad.
Corelli has been the Indians' spark. The fiery senior scored 28 points in Alemany's regular-season win over the Knights and 18 in the section final.
Nicole Haynes, a 6-0 forward, led Bishop Montgomery with 16 points against Gahr. Guard Mirlen Martinez scored with two seconds left as the Knights edged Sanger.