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GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL

ASHTON BASCH

Jr., Lake Forest El Toro

* Then: Growing up across the street from the sand court at the Lake Forest Beach and Tennis Club, Bash took to volleyball easily after being introduced to the game by her parents. She was a member of the Saddleback Valley Volleyball Club team that won a 15-and-under national championship two years ago, and last July in Reno, Basch helped her club’s 16-and-under team to a second-place finish in the national Volleyball Festival.

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* Now: Bash played outside hitter as a freshman at El Toro, but the 6-footer has since moved to middle blocker. She led the Chargers (9-1), No. 4 in the Southern Section Division I-A coaches’ rankings, to their first Division I title at the Dave Mohs/Orange County Championships on Monday night, collecting a match-high 11 kills to go with three aces in a come-from-behind victory over Anaheim Esperanza, the top-ranked team in Division I-AA.

* Quote: “I love the competition, and I like that it’s hands-on,” Basch said. “It’s exhilarating, the speed and momentum of it all.”

-- Lauren Peterson

BOYS’ WATER POLO

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CORY BACCUS

Jr., Whittier

* Then: Baccus moved with his family to South Dakota when he was 4 and wasn’t exposed to water polo until he returned to California five years later. As a freshman at Whittier, he was the team’s leading scorer with 80 goals and was a Southern Section Division III third-team selection. He scored a team-high 118 goals last season and earned Division III first-team honors. However, the Cardinals were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

* Now: Baccus scored six goals in an 18-16 season-opening victory over Crescenta Valley, ranked No. 6 in Division III, last week. He will be counted on to provide the offense this weekend at the Hacienda Heights Los Altos tournament, which will feature many of the top teams in Division III. The Cardinals, ranked No. 5 in the division, then play host to No. 4 Palos Verdes in a nonleague game on Tuesday.

* Quote: “Our team is definitely a lot deeper than last year,” Baccus said. “We’re looking to at least make it to the semifinals.”

-- Dan Arritt

GIRLS’ GOLF

BRENDA CHHUOR

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Sr., Cerritos

* Then: Chhuor made a bit of a splash as a freshman when she shot 77 and tied for 15th in the Southern Section individual finals. The next year, she shot 74 during the Central Divisional and helped her team win the title. As a junior, her team didn’t advance out of the divisional, but her 71 was second among individual scores that day.

* Now: Chhuor, who began playing golf at age 10 on a family outing to the driving range, has been medalist in four of the team’s five matches and led the team with a one-over-par 37 as the Dons shot 197 at La Mirada Golf Course. Now 17, she credits an improved mental game and accuracy off the tee for elevating her play. During the summer, she had top-10 finishes in four national events and at the California Girls Junior -- this after failing to make the cut in a national event during the previous two years. Her play has attracted college interest from Long Beach State and Wyoming.

* Quote: “I’m hoping to lead the team all the way to state this year,” Chhuor said. “It would be great for everyone to see what it’s like competing against the best players.”

-- Peter Yoon


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