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Alemany Accelerates Past Mission Bay : Division II girls: Unbeaten Indians win, 68-51, behind Funicello’s 30 points.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

They had to abandon their school after the Jan. 17 earthquake, and have been road warriors since.

It hasn’t mattered. The Alemany High girls’ basketball team has played with abandon, beating every opponent. That didn’t change Thursday night as the Indians routed Mission Bay, 68-51, at St. Francis High in the Southern Regional Division II semifinals.

But it almost did. The Buccaneers nearly beat Alemany (30-0) at its own game.

The Buccaneers (28-3) brought their fans, who filled half the gym. They brought their pep squad and littered the place with posters. They nearly turned this into a home game about 140 miles away from their San Diego campus.

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But Alemany is used to foreign surroundings. The Indians simply raid gyms, quiet hostile crowds and beat all opponents. These nomads are practically knocking on the door of Oakland Coliseum Arena, site of the state final.

“I believe we’re going to play well Saturday (in the regional final), because now they’re getting a taste of what it’s all about,” said Alemany Coach Melissa Hearlihy, who celebrated her 200th victory.

Mission Bay tried to stop her at 199 with a scratching, hustling, defensive-minded effort. Alemany jumped to a 20-10 lead after one quarter, thanks to seven Buccaneer turnovers. But Mission Bay forced 10 turnovers in the second quarter, went on a 10-0 run and closed the gap to 29-26 at halftime.

But the Buccaneers didn’t have anybody taller than six feet, and 6-foot-3 Alemany sophomore Carly Funicello scored a career-high 30 points, 18 in the second half. She also had 14 rebounds.

“I was on fire,” Funicello said. “I was having the time of my life.”

Alemany had more turnovers (10) than shots (six) in the second quarter. And with 2 minutes 39 seconds to play in the third, Mission Bay took a 35-34 lead on Brea Lowary’s three-point shot.

“They played strong defense,” Funicello said. “They got into our passing lanes. They were a tough team.”

Kelly McKay (12 points, seven assists) hit a jump shot and drove for a layup to help restore order for Alemany, giving the Indians a 40-35 lead.

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Then Funicello helped complete Alemany’s startling 24-2 run, scoring 13 points.

Samantha Rigley (12 points) hit a three-pointer with 2:57 that ended the run and put the game out of reach, 56-37.

The Indians shot 50% from the field while holding Mission Bay to 28%. Alemany will face Woodbridge, an 84-63 winner over San Bernardino, in Saturday’s regional final in Anaheim.

STATE SCOREBOARD

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Boys

S.D. Lincoln 83, Santa Clara 52 C7

Pacific Hills 44, Campbell Hall 42 C10

Girls

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Lynwood 59, Buena 38 C10

St. Bernard 83, Village Christian 56 C10


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