Woodbridge players had heard of El Toro's Mendiola sisters and their growing reputation. They knew El Toro had a better record than theirs. And they also knew the hard truth.
Woodbridge is still No. 1 in the Sea View League, which opened play Thursday.
The Warriors, ranked third in Orange County, thoroughly dominated El Toro, 87-52, in front of a raucous Charger crowd in a game that wasn't even that close. Woodbridge led, 22-8, after one quarter, and 40-16 at halftime. The lead was 40 points in the third quarter when Coach Pat Quinn began sitting his starters for the night.
It was an emotional victory for Quinn and his players. His mother, Betty, an avid team supporter, died of pancreatic cancer Wednesday. "It's a little tough to get motivated to coach," he said before the game.
It didn't seem nearly as tough on his players. They made 27 of 69 field goals (53.5%). The inside game dominated, as Krissy Duperron (11 rebounds, six blocks, four steals) scored 18 and Cathy Joens scored 16. Woodbridge even shot well from the perimeter, getting 11 from Debby Caine.
El Toro shot only 21.3% (16-75), but only 15.4% (8-52) in the first three quarters. Giuliana Mendiola, averaging 24.3 points and 54.2% shooting from the field, scored 34, but 19 came in the fourth quarter; she made five of 16 from the field before going seven of 12 in the fourth. Her sister, Gioconda, scored five.
What was the message Woodbridge delivered?
"We still have a lot to learn," Giuliana Mendiola said. "Now we know what we're up against this season."
El Toro is 13-3, 0-1 in league; Woodbridge is 10-3, 1-0.
"The girls realized how important this game was to me and [to win] the Sea View League," said Quinn, who shared a tearful embrace with his daughter, Natalie (six points, eight rebounds) after the game.
Duperron said El Toro's growing reputation, coupled with the Quinns' loss, sparked the team.
"It's been quieter than usual this week," Duperron said. "We just wanted to shut their crowd down, play as a team and win it for Coach. Everyone played with their hearts."
In other Sea View League games:
Newport Harbor 41, Santa Margarita 36--M.E. Clayton had 15 points and 11 rebounds for host Newport Harbor (9-7, 1-0). The teams were tied at halftime. Desiree Talley added nine points and eight rebounds for the Sailors. Santa Margarita is 12-5, 0-1.
Irvine 53, Corona del Mar 43--Myra Hardeman scored 22, and Amanda Loud had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Irvine (9-6). Lindsay Warmington scored 24 for Corona del Mar (2-8, 0-1).