BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON HIGH -- The Bellarmine-Jefferson High girls'
basketball team and Coach Bryan Camacho have had video tapes of Van Nuys
Montclair Prep since December, just in case the Guards would face the
Mounties in the playoffs.
Those tapes may just come in handy, as Bell-Jeff will take on host
Montclair Prep today at 7:30 p.m. in a first-round CIF Southern Section
Division VAA game.
The Guards earned the right to take on the Mounties Thursday by
winning their wild-card game, 54-34, on the road at Riverside Woodcrest
Bell-Jeff (15-11) will get a chance to avenge last year's 60-50
wild-card playoff loss to the Mounties.
"This is the game we have been looking for all year," Camacho said.
"We knew that if we were going to do well in the playoffs we would have
to go through Montclair Prep.
"Thay have a very good team and we will probably have to play the role
of the underdog. But are going to go in there and play hard, and
hopefully things will come out our way."
Montclair Prep (22-0) enters the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the
division. It is led by 5-foot-11 sophomore forward Eshaya Murphy, who
averages 29 points and 17 rebounds a game. Teammate Jasmine Wesley -- 6-1
senior forward/center -- averages 14 points and 10 rebounds.
In last year's playoff win over Bell-Jeff, Murphy poured in 43 points.
"We know that Murphy is a good player," Camacho said. "But we are
going to make her work for every shot she gets. And we also have to play
good defense on the other players as well."
The Guards started the playoffs a little sluggish against Woodcrest
Christian (14-12), as they held just a 20-16 lead at the half.
But in the second half, Bell-Jeff went from a trapping zone to a
straight-up man-to-man defense and that seemed to do the trick. The
defense pressure caused tounovers and gave the Guards a chance to
showcase their quickness and speed.
In the third quarter, Bell-Jeff's gameplan began to really take root,
as it outscored the Royals, 18-7.
The Guards also delivered a fine outside offensive game to compliment
its potent inside game that features senior Center Ana Coronado. While
freshman Julie Van Dyke blasted from the outside, scoring 17 points,
including five three-pointers, Coronado worked the post, netting 14
points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks.
"These girls have really come together as a team," Camacho said. "It
is really fun to watch them play. We just hope we will be able to play a