GIRLS' BASKETBALL ROUNDUP : Pearson Emerges as Woodbridge Beats Fountain Valley

Two scary things came out of Woodbridge's 59-43 victory over Fountain Valley on Wednesday.

One, Melanie Pearson has taken it upon herself to be more assertive.

Two, the Warriors won without Erin Stovall.

While Stovall watched from the bench because of a bruised knee, Pearson was showing off an unusually aggressive nature in leading Woodbridge, ranked No. 1 in The Times Orange County poll, past third-ranked Fountain Valley.

Woodbridge plays fourth-ranked Edison in the finals Friday.

Pearson said she purposefully tried to take the clutch shots. Her greatest failing, Coach Pat Quinn said, was that she had been too unselfish in the past. Fountain Valley should have been so lucky. Pearson stepped forward with 19 points, only one more than teammate Krissy Duperron (eight rebounds), but was most impressive in the manner in which she scored.

* After falling behind, 5-0, Pearson scored six of Woodbridge's first 10 points, including the two free throws that gave the Warriors a 10-9 lead with 3 minutes 37 seconds left in the quarter.

* When Fountain Valley cut the lead in the second quarter to eight points, Pearson answered with a 10-foot turnaround jumper.

* When Fountain Valley pulled to 31-25 at 4:16 of the third quarter, Pearson hit an eight-foot jumper, a three-point basket, and a 16-footer as time on the shot clock ran out. It put the Warriors on top, 38-26.

"If she wanted to, [Pearson] could have scored all their points," said Fountain Valley's Nichole Strange, who had five points and 10 rebounds.

Stovall, like Pearson a Times first-team all-county player last year, probably will miss the next two weeks, Quinn said, resting until the Nevada tournament that could feature a semifinal game against the top-ranked team in USA Today's national poll, Oregon City (Ore.). Woodbridge is ranked 10th.

"I'm looking to score more this year than last year," Pearson said. "Either Erin or I [have to step up], and since [Stovall's] out, I have to do more."

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