Erin Myrick won a national championship with the West Coast All-Stars, a club team, but she longs for something more.
"It just wasn't the same," Myrick said, "as doing it with your high school team."
There is no national championship in high school, but Myrick, a 6-foot-3 junior, could win a Southern Section title at La Puente Bishop Amat.
For it to happen, Myrick and the Lancers' other junior post player, Chasmine Jones, probably would have to get past Torrance Bishop Montgomery and Fullerton Rosary in the Division III-A playoffs.
Bishop Amat got a firsthand look at Bishop Montgomery and its standout senior, Noelle Quinn, last week in a Del Rey League game and lost, 50-40.
"We have to play with more passion," said Jones, who along with Myrick took full responsibility for the loss even though they combined for 19 of their team's 40 points.
"We carry the team," Myrick said. "We're the leaders of the team and we didn't show it."
That like-mindedness has helped Bishop Amat forge an 18-3 record and a ranking as high as No. 5 by The Times. This week, it's 11.
Myrick and Jones are best friends and that has helped their chemistry on the court, even though the Lancers, who start four juniors and a sophomore, have yet to beat Bishop Montgomery in the Quinn era.
"Most teams have just one big, strong post, but Bishop Amat has two," said Bishop Montgomery Coach Lisa Cooper, who has the luxury of starting 6-5 senior Khiara Ferguson. "You have to change your whole game plan when you play defense because you have to be able to guard them."
Myrick has averaged 18.6 points this season, shot 52% from the field and averaged 9.7 rebounds. Jones, smaller at 5-11 but still a notable presence, has averaged 15.8 points and 8.9 rebounds and shot 49.6%.
"Not too many teams have two really good post players," said Bishop Amat Coach Richard Wiard. "If you have two good post players in high school, you can go a long way. Our guards [sophomore Jessica Carrera and unrelated juniors Amelia Alvarez and Mariel Alvarez] have stepped up for us as well.
"Next year, the pressure's really on."
It seemed Brea Olinda would never lose a league game as long as it was in the Orange League. The Ladycats have won every league title since 1983 and every league game since late in the 1987 season, a section-record 161 in a row.
Last week, they defeated two schools that were supposed to test the streak in the Century League, Brea's new home. The Ladycats beat Melissa Cook and Placentia El Dorado in the league opener, 61-29, and Norrelle Dickson and Orange El Modena, 62-38.
"Of course, you can't lose one, it would be horrible," said junior guard Lauren Pedersen. "As long as we go out ready to play, we'll be OK. We're playing with pride, for the tradition of the Ladycats."
Brea (14-3) has had a few stumbles this season, most notably losing to Alhambra Keppel in the Chino Hills Ayala tournament, 47-45.
"That was an eye-opener," Pedersen said. "We shouldn't have lost to them, but we realized we have to work a lot harder to stick with the quicker teams."
That lesson paid dividends Saturday as Brea defeated Bishop Montgomery, 39-36.
According to Coach Larry Cash, Pasadena Muir will forfeit its first seven victories for using an ineligible player, Dionne Pounds, because the school failed to process the appropriate paperwork with the Southern Section office for Pounds, a transfer student from Finland.
Whether Pounds, who has been averaging 20 points, can return to the varsity is up in the air. If Pounds did not participate with a high school team in Finland, she can rejoin the varsity, according to Paul Castillo, section assistant commissioner. If that is the case, Muir will forfeit only one victory instead of seven, per section rules. If Pounds did play for a high school team, Muir forfeits all seven games and Pounds can play only on a restricted basis, such as with the junior varsity.
As a precaution, Pounds sat out three games last week -- all victories -- as Muir improved to 10-4 overall, 3-0 in the Pacific League.
Dionne's father, Larry Pounds, visited the Southland last week from Finland, where his family lives, and told The Times that Dionne played for a high school team, but it accounted for "only three or four games.... There's no legitimate high school league."