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Locals draw four of a kind

Jeff Tully and Erik Boal

Local teams are well represented in this season’s girls’ CIF Southern

Section basketball playoffs, as all four area schools are in the

postseason.

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However, while two teams -- Bellarmine-Jefferson and Providence

highs -- will get the advantage of playing at home in their opening

games, the other two -- Burbank and Burroughs -- will be on the road.

The Guards and the Pioneers were awarded with home games after

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finishing second in their respective leagues.

Here is how the playoffs shape up:

San Gabriel Academy at Bell-Jeff (7:30 p.m. Thursday)

Bell-Jeff Coach Bryan Camacho will try to have his Guards focused

on the opening Division IVA game, and not on the team’s possible

second-round opponent.

Although San Gabriel Academy (14-11, 3-5 in the Valley League)

looks to be a less-than-stellar opponent, the Guards could be in for

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a tough game on the road in the second round.

Flintridge Prep (16-5, 10-2) -- the Prep League champion -- will

be waiting for Bell-Jeff on Saturday, after drawing a first-round

bye.

Coached by Paul Negrete, San Gabriel Academy finished tied for

third in its league.

The Guards have been paced by the fine play of senior Jennae

Peoples, who averages 17.8 points a game. The team also has

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accomplished players in juniors Julie Van Dyke, Kelly Hobbs and

Andrea Morgan and sophomore Idessa Reyes.

Bell-Jeff (19-4, 10-2) finished second in the Sunshine league,

with its only league losses coming against L.A. Marlborough.

Ventura St. Bonaventure at Providence (7:30 p.m. Thursday)

Pioneer Coach Andrew Bencze said he is pleased with his team’s

Division IVAA first-round draw.

“I’m just happy we get to play at home in our gym, in front of our

home crowd,” he said.

“It should be a great matchup and I like our chances. [St.

Bonaventure] doesn’t have great guard play, but they are pretty good

in the post. So I’m hoping our guards can get to them.”

The Seraphs (15-10, 7-3) -- coached by Jeff Gray -- come into the

playoffs on a four-game winning streak after placing second in the

Tri-Valley League. They feature three players 6-feet or taller and

eight 5-9 or taller.

Providence will counter with senior guards Selina Tech (14.1

points a game) and Natalie Guzman (nine points). Both are capable of

hitting from long range. The Pioneers also boast 6-4 junior post

player Megan Campbell, who Bencze said will be relied on to play

tough defense.

The teams have a common opponent in Nordhoff, a squad the Pioneers

beat, 48-35, and the Seraphs defeated, 60-51.

BURBANK AT VENTURA BUENA (7:30 p.m. Thursday)

The Bulldogs face one of the most storied girls’ programs in the

Southern Section in their opening Division IIAA contest.

Coached by Joe Vaughan -- in his 28th season -- Buena has a 718-93

record and a .885 winning percentage the past 32 seasons.

The program has also won 27 league titles in the 32 years,

including 14 in 15 years, and has six CIF Southern Section titles and

two state titles to its credit.

Buena (17-7, 7-1) is the Channel League champion and Burbank

(12-14, 1-9) finished sixth in the Foothill League.

The Bulldogs are led by senior Christine Kepenekian, who is

finishing up a successful four-year varsity career. Kepenekian

averages 24.2 points and 13 rebounds a game.

The teams have a common opponent in Saugus. Buena fell to the

Centurions, 57-48, and the Bulldogs lost to their league foe twice,

59-31 and 91-43.

BURROUGHS AT WEST TORRANCE (7:30 p.m. Thursday)

Coach Doug Nicol and his Indian team come into their Division IIA

contest after a mixed regular season.

Burroughs began the season well, jumping out to an 11-5 record and

finding success in nonleague and tournament games. However, things

were tougher on the Indians (14-13, 3-7) in the Foothill League,

where they placed fifth.

Burroughs has been hampered by injuries and illnesses to some key

players.

“We are playing well right now,” Nicol said. “We think we are

peaking at the right time and we look to win some games in the

playoffs.”

The Indians are led by junior guard Tulyah Gaines, who has been

getting interest from several prominent NCAA Division I colleges.

Gaines averages 18.3 points a game and has 113 assists, seven shy of

the school record set in 1993 by Jamie Vahoviak.

The Warriors (18-8, 9-1) -- coached by Chris Lipsey -- are fresh

from winning a championship in the Pioneer League.


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