Notebook : Warriors Starting Something


Woodbridge girls’ basketball Coach Eric Bangs has been to the State final two years in a row and won Saturday, despite having only one senior starter. So after the Warriors’ 55-40 victory over Sacramento El Camino, the “D” word came up.

“As far as dynasties go, Brea Olinda’s a dynasty. Mater Dei boys are a dynasty. You have to be around five, six, seven years and go through changes of classes of kids,” Bangs said. “We’re real fortunate in that a lot of our kids are young, but it will look a lot different next year without Lisa (Weaver) and Angela (Burgess) around.”

The Warriors’ starting lineup included two juniors and two sophomores.



Bill Baxter, El Camino coach, was asked after Friday’s game if Woodbridge was the best team in the state (as it was ranked).

His players immediately answered no, but it was a question Baxter wanted to address.

“We’ve seen (Atherton) Sacred Heart, and they’re not as good as they were last year,” he said. “We know how we can play, and (Woodbridge) took out Brea Olinda. Yeah, they’re No. 1 in the state.”



Melanie Pearson had her two biggest games of the year in Woodbridge’s two biggest games of the season. She scored 18 against Brea Olinda in the Southern California Regional final and had 15--and carried the Warriors at times--in the State final. She was averaging only 11.1 points.

“Melanie’s one of those kids that everyone raves about and loves, but the numbers just weren’t there (this year),” Bangs said. “But you know she’s there, you know she plays in the big game. She’s being recruited by just about every major college around.”


Melody Peterson got off to a rocky start Saturday, making only one of nine first-half field goal attempts in the Division I girls’ basketball final. Her Monarch teammates, meanwhile, were five for 12. Atherton Sacred Heart Coach Mike Ciardella was asked if it looked as if Peterson was trying to do too much.

“You have to let those players go sometimes,” he said. “You win with creators.”

Said Peterson: “I got a little bit tired after playing defense against (Renee Robinson), but that was my job. I knew I had to score on offense--and needed to score a little bit more--but I keyed in on (Robinson) and tried to make sure she didn’t get the ball. When I was thinking about a shot, I was thinking about getting back on defense.

“Everyone pumped her up to be the best guard in the nation. I had something to prove.”

Robinson had 17 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds and five steals in Sacred Heart’s 52-50 victory. Peterson had 12 points, three assists, eight rebounds and two steals.



Prime time: Robinson, Sacred Heart’s standout point guard, looked forward to her matchup with Peterson, the Times Orange County player of the year.

“I heard she talked a lot of trash,” said Robinson, who is being recruited by Stanford and Louisiana Tech. “But it was just normal conversation out there. We were talking about how there were too many TV timeouts.”

Robinson and Peterson are both juniors who could conceivably meet again next season or later in their careers. Peterson is also being recruited by Stanford.

“Seeing those two, in the same backcourt? Ooooooh,” Ciardella said. “I’d love to see that.”


Peterson, who transferred from Monrovia to Mater Dei, said the loss to Sacred Heart gave the Monarchs a goal to shoot for next season--and perhaps a plan.

Peterson, to reporters: “Think of how good we would be if we had a couple of 6-2 centers (much like Sacred Heart)?”


Reporter: “You have any tall friends?”

Peterson: “A couple.”


Mass appeal: A fan after Mater Dei sophomore sensation Schea Cotton picked up his fourth foul in Saturday’s State Division I boys’ basketball final: “If he fouls out, I’m leaving.”

Cotton didn’t, finishing with 29 points. The fan saw them all.


Dance to this: The Oakland Fremont players gathered in front of the Mater Dei locker room before the State Division I boys’ basketball final Saturday. They weren’t there to wish the Monarchs well.

The Tigers began dancing and chanting, in an intimidation move.

Monarch senior Shaun Jackson walked out of the locker room but didn’t say a word. He stood and glared, all the while dribbling a basketball.

Mater Dei won the game in overtime, 71-67. Jackson had 11 points, 10 rebounds, two blocked shots and made two clutch free throws in overtime to clinch the victory.

So much for intimidation.


Monarch guard Clay McKnight and Fremont’s Zerrick Payton played a bit of “in your face; no in yours” Saturday.

McKnight, who set an Orange County record with 131 three-pointers, had his first three-point attempt swatted into press row by Payton. McKnight then stepped behind the NBA three-point line and sank one over Payton.

Footnote: It was the only three-pointer McKnight made, as he was one of nine from that range. Still, it was better than Payton, who missed all eight of his attempts.


During the final minutes of the boys’ championship game, an Oakland police officer and a Coliseum Arena security officer were talking about Cotton and comparing him to a recent Bay Area product.

“I would give it to that No. 4 (Cotton),” the policeman said. “Fremont can’t stop him.”

Answered the security officer: “He’s better than Jason Kidd.”

Staff writers Chris Foster and Michael Itagaki contributed to this story.