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Bell-Jeff awaits Oaks Christian

Erik Boal

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.

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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

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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 making.

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.

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“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

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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.


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