RECORDS--Rancho Alamitos (23-2), Brea-Olinda (30-2)
RANCHO ALAMITOS--Coach Bob Becker has built a fine program in his three years with the Vaqueros, winning the first Southern Section title in any sport in school history last week with a 68-66 victory over West Covina South Hills in the Division III-A title game. But Thursday night, that same South Hills squad traveled to Brea for the Southern California Regionals Division III semifinals and got pummeled by the Ladycats, 74-25. That result would frighten anyone in line to face Brea, but Becker is keeping his cool. "It (the score) wasn't disheartening for me," he said. "We've never concerned ourselves too much with what other people are doing. We worry about the things we have to do to prepare ourselves to play." Nevertheless, Becker knows the Vaqueros are up against a potent opponent. "Brea is a great team and a great program," Becker said. "They don't have a weak player on that team." Becker said Rancho Alamitos will continue to stress the facets of its game that helped the team come this far, though he concedes that its effectiveness probably won't be the same against the Ladycats. "Obviously, our (full-court) press isn't going to give Brea the kind of fits that it's given other opponents. But our press has gotten us here so we are not going to give it up."
BREA-OLINDA--The Ladycats are on a rampage. Coach Mark Trakh's top-seeded team in the Division III regionals disposed of Santee West Hills, 96-16, in the first round Tuesday and West Covina South Hills, 74-25, in the semifinals Thursday. But Trakh said he expects a good game against Rancho Alamitos. "They are a very good team. I think they can beat us," he said. "Everything they do is to try and create frenzy with their press and all-out style. They are very disciplined. It probably takes more discipline to play that style than our style. They are not just running around. There's a reason for what they're doing." Trakh, however, gives Brea somewhat of an edge on experience for having played at the L.A. Sports Arena previously. "I think the depth perception in a bigger arena might hurt them because they shoot a lot of three-pointers," Trakh said. "It seems like the shooting percentages are always lower in the arena." Still, Trakh is not leaving anything up to chance. This is Brea's fourth consecutive regional championship game.
KEY TO THE GAME--Rancho Alamitos has to make its full-court press work against Brea and also keep the Ladycats to only one shot per possession. For Brea, almost anything it does works, so its main concern is missing the bus to the Sports Arena.
CONSENSUS--Brea wins. No need to go out on a limb with a final score, though.
P Name Ht. Avg. F Timerie James 5-9 10.6 F Lashanda Randle 5-8 7.9 C Anita Stecker 5-9 15.5 G Shannon James 5-6 15.7 G Tracy Keller 5-4 8.0
Coach: Bob Becker
P Name Ht. Avg. F Jody Anton 6-0 15.7 F Sarah Beckley 5-10 10.8 C Colleen Hudson 6-1 11.4 G Katie Bauer 5-10 8.4 G Nicole Erickson 5-6 13.0
Coach: Mark Trakh