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GIRLS’ BASKETBALL / MARINA TOURNAMENT : Fountain Valley’s Keep-Away Ploy Leads to Tournament Title

TIMES STAFF WRITER

They watched Benishe Dillard blitz Ocean View the night before, and Fountain Valley’s brain trust vowed it wouldn’t happen to them.

Using a defense that kept the ball away from Dillard, Fountain Valley scored a 56-42 victory over Kent (Wash.) Merridian Thursday to win its first Marina tournament title since 1984.

The Barons sagged, fronted, elbowed and harassed Dillard all night and prevented the offense from getting the ball to her inside. In the second half--when the 6-foot-1 Dillard scored 18 of her 21 points against Ocean View--Dillard didn’t receive a pass until 4 minutes 58 seconds remained in the fourth quarter. She finished with five points, getting little out of her 17 rebounds.

Fountain Valley’s offense was evenly balanced: Nicole Strange had 18 points, Jen Rizzo 10, Jen Ludwicki 10 and Gina Ybarra nine.

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Strange had 15 rebounds and was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

It was the fifth victory in a row for the Barons (8-3), who won the final three games of the tournament without their head coach, Carol Strausburg, whose mother died Monday.

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In other tournament games:

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Ocean View 68, Newport Harbor 59--Newport Harbor went stretches of 8:06 and 4:08 without a field goal and fourth-ranked Ocean View (9-2) got double-figure scoring from four players to claim third place.

Farrah Magee led the way with 15 points, including 10 in the third quarter as Ocean View stretched its halftime lead from 11 to 18. She was backed by Dustine Yamamoto (15 points), Becky Fraser (12) and Jennifer Tuiolosega (10). Alison Juroe had eight points and 10 rebounds.

“The key to our success is character,” Seahawk Coach Ollie Martin said. “Even though the girls were disappointed about losing (in the semifinals), they regrouped, battled hard and played smarter. We have the talent to be successful, but we need character, and that’s what I saw. Maybe we’re coming together.”

Newport Harbor played without starter Melissa Schutz, who was ill, but it might not have mattered. Against the Seahawk pressure, the Sailors made only one field goal in the first quarter.

Mater Dei 60, Marina 54--Second-ranked Mater Dei made seven of eight free throws with 1:14 left in the game to hold off sixth-ranked Marina. Leticia Oseguera scored 21, and Melody Peterson had 19, including 10 off the Monarch press, which led directly to 18 points.


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