The Fountain Valley Barons may not have been wearing their hearts on their sleeves Wednesday when they faced Mater Dei in the Southern Section Division I-A girls' basketball semifinals, but they were wearing their strategy on their biceps.
"Clog middle--rebound" was neatly written in ballpoint pen on each of the girls' arms.
But Fountain Valley did neither with great effectiveness and the third-seeded Barons lost to second-seeded Mater Dei, 75-62, at Huntington Beach High.
With the victory, the Monarchs (24-1) earned a chance to avenge their only defeat of the season, a 55-48 loss to the division's top-seeded team, Ventura Buena (23-2), on Jan. 28. The championship game is 6:15 p.m. Friday in the Pyramid at Long Beach State.
"It'll be nice to get them at a neutral site," said Monarch Coach Mary Hauser, whose team did not get any breaks from the officials in the earlier loss in Ventura.
Mater Dei put Fountain Valley away early, going on a 23-3 run over a five-minute span of the first and second quarters to take a 33-11 lead with 5:18 to go in the half.
Melody Peterson, the Monarchs' leading scorer, was held without a point during the run. She scored 17 of her team-high 21 points in the second half.
The Monarchs put together a great team effort, with Michelle Meyers (17 points, nine rebounds) and Ronnie Gondringer (10 points) working the inside and Allison Luckey (eight points, four assists, five steals) the outside. Mater Dei won the rebound battle, 45-30.
Jennifer Ludwicki of Fountain Valley led all scorers with 29 points.