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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GIRLS’ PLAYOFF PREVIEW : Lynwood Has Been Down This Final Road Before

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Saturday will be the day to take care of some unfinished business for the Lynwood High girls’ basketball team.

Lynwood cruised through the season with a 26-0 record, but the Knights’ campaign will not seem complete without a victory over Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley (24-3) at 8:30 p.m. in the Southern Section Division I-AA championship game at Loyola Marymount.

A year ago, Lynwood advanced to the I-AA final, then lost to Palos Verdes Peninsula.

But even Peninsula hasn’t been able to stop Lynwood this season. The Panthers were a second-round playoff victim of the Knights last Saturday, 37-32. Then Lynwood, top-ranked by The Times all season, routed Long Beach Poly, 56-37, in Wednesday’s semifinal.

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Nothing has stood in Lynwood’s way, so far.

Lynwood, under new Coach Ellis Barfield, lost three players to graduation. Guard Timicha Kirby, forward Tawana Grimes and center Shanel Tapusoa have filled the void.

Ninth-ranked Capistrano Valley had a much tougher time reaching the final, needing double overtime to defeat Long Beach Millikan, 86-80, Wednesday night.

The Cougars are led by point guard Angie White, who averages 19.8 points and 9.2 assists; and Susan Scott, who is scoring 14 points a game.

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There will be other intriguing matchups tonight and Saturday in nine other divisions.

In the I-A final Saturday at 6:45 p.m. at Loyola Marymount, No. 2 Thousand Oaks (29-0) will try to win its third consecutive championship. And again, No. 5 Buena (22-3) will be standing in the way.

Thousand Oaks, led by center Marion Jones, has defeated Buena in the last two I-A finals. Buena, with three 6-footers in forwards Michelle Giordano and Julie Hardy and center April Buck, is appearing in its fourth consecutive final and seventh in the last 11 years.

No. 3 Brea-Olinda (27-2) will take on No. 19 Cerritos Gahr (21-8) Saturday at 3:15 p.m. at Loyola Marymount. Coach Mark Trakh directed his team to the III-AA championship last year, the II-AA title in 1991 and the 3-AA crown in 1989 and ’90.

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Mission Hills Alemany (25-4), ranked No. 16, tries for its second title in a row against No. 4 Inglewood Morningside (25-2) in the III-AA final Saturday at 11:15 a.m. at Loyola Marymount.

Garden Grove Rancho Alamitos (24-4) will try to defend its III-A title against Costa Mesa (26-4) Saturday at 9:15 a.m. at Loyola Marymount.

In the IV-A final, Santa Ynez (26-1) has made it to the championship game for the fourth consecutive year, and faces Playa Del Rey St. Bernard (24-4) in a 7:30 p.m. contest Saturday at El Segundo High.

Burbank Bell-Jeff (27-2) will put a 23-game winning streak on the line tonight at 7:30 when it faces Cerritos Valley Christian (25-2) for the IV-A title at Biola College.

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