Alemany Back Where It Belongs : Division II-A: Indians advance to championship game for third consecutive season after routing Ventura, 69-40.
Ho-hum. Another day, another playoff blowout by the Alemany High girls’ basketball team.
Another year, another Southern Section final.
The Indians trounced their fourth consecutive playoff opponent, defeating Ventura, 69-40, Tuesday night in a Southern Section Division II-A semifinal at Crespi.
Alemany (27-0) will play San Bernardino for the championship Saturday at Pomona College. It is the third consecutive year that Alemany has advanced to a section final--every season for third-year starters Samantha Rigley, Kelly McKay and Zevette Mitchell.
“They don’t know any different,” Alemany Coach Melissa Hearlihy said.
Not surprising, considering this team’s talent, which was on full display against the Cougars (21-6).
The Indians jumped to a 20-4 lead in the first quarter, behind seven points from Rigley and six by McKay.
McKay also held Ventura’s standout forward Ember Brown to four first-half points.
“I think she took Ember completely out of her game,” Alemany center Carly Funicello said.
Funicello took Ventura completely out of the game in the third quarter, after the Cougars trimmed the lead to 36-25.
Funicello, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, scored 11 points--including five layups--in the final five minutes of the quarter, and the Indians extended their lead to 51-31.
Funicello finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots.
“It’s pretty frustrating for me because I have to play down there,” said the 5-8 Brown. “There’s nothing I could do except watch her score. I wish I could jump up there and swat her.”
Brown finished with 14 points.
The defeat ended a fine playoff run by Ventura in which the Cougars defeated Westlake, Muir and Hacienda Heights Wilson.
“We played a lot better in those games,” Brown said.
“We really deeply believed that if we played tonight the way we were playing we could have beaten them. But we weren’t ready to play.”
But Ventura Coach Glenn Gray didn’t see it exactly that way. “We lost to a better team,” she said.
The fifth-ranked team in the state, to be precise, and one that has defeated its last three opponents by an average of 28 points.
Rigley had 20 points and four assists and McKay added 12 points, four assists and four steals.
“Basically it was a great team effort,” Funicello said.
So how does it feel to be back in the section final?
“When it’s all over, we’ll determine what the winning means,” Hearlihy said. “I can’t even talk about CIF right now.”