For the Bellarmine- Jefferson High girls’ basketball team, the most
difficult aspect of preparing for the CIF Southern Section Division
IVA championship game is finally over.
The week-long wait.
Since defeating L.A. Windward, 57-51, in the division semifinal
March 1, the second-seeded Guards (23-4) and fourth-seeded Westlake
Village Oaks Christian -- their opponent at 9:30 a.m. today at the
Long Beach Pyramid -- have done just about anything to occupy their
time leading up to the title contest.
But Bryan Camacho’s squad won’t have to wait much longer, even
though Bell-Jeff’s return to a division final has been six years in
The Guards’ last appearance in the Division IVA championship game
was March 7, 1997, when Jim Couch’s squad -- led by Jaclyn Johnson
-- defeated Cerritos Valley Christian, 47-45, at the Pyramid.
“The wait has been tough, but we’re excited about this
opportunity and I can’t wait to get going,” said Camacho, who was an
assistant on West Hills Chaminade’s Division IIIA boys’ basketball
championship team in 1998.
“But Oaks Christian is a really good team and we’re going to have
our work cut out against them.
“They’ve got four or five girls who can shoot it or [score] 20
points a game. I thought from the beginning [of the playoffs] that
they would make the final.”
The Guards are led by senior guard Jennae Peoples, who is
averaging 17.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 4.3 steals.
Senior Andrea Morgan and juniors Angie Coronado, Kelly Hobbs and
Julie Van Dyke round out Bell-Jeff’s starting five.
For Don McMaster’s Lions -- who are making their first trip to the
final -- senior guards Erin McKinney and Cherhara Shields pose
Bell-Jeff’s top challenges.