NEWPORT BEACH - After her team defeated visiting Aliso Niguel,
46-44, Thursday, snapping the Newport Harbor High girls basketball team's
20-game Sea View League losing streak, first-year Sailors coach Jen
Thompson's first reaction was to cringe.
She was, of course, elated about her girls rejoicing over the
momentous victory, which avenged a 52-36 first-round setback to the
Wolverines. But, having played on successful teams at Culver City High
and Cal Poly Pomona, and then coached two years at Woodbridge High, a
wild scene at midcourt following any regular-season victory was enough to
tweak her sense of proper decorum.
"The way our team reacted, was not typical and I usually wouldn't like
them to do that," Thompson said. "I think for some girls it was kind of
like 'Wow, we won state!' But, hey, after what our girls have been
through, I wasn't about to tell them to stop (celebrating). For some
girls, it was the first varsity league game they've won."
Thompson said the entire bench ran out to share embraces and high
fives with teammates on the court following Thursday's final buzzer. The
euphoria also carried over to Friday, when the team was saluted with a
big announcement in the daily bulletin broadcast. The players were also
showered with praise from their peers and Thompson, a social science
teacher at Harbor, was congratulated by many of her fellow teachers and
The good vibrations continued at Friday afternoon's practice, where
Thompson said the team talked about the triumph and had some laughs.
Thompson hopes the residue from Thursday's win linger well into the
near future, as her young team (four-year varsity performer Evita
Castillo is the lone senior) parlays its bolstered confidence into at
least one more league win. She also hopes it will trigger a voracious
offseason appetite for success next year.
"(The win) proved to the girls that they can do this," Thompson said.
"This league is tough, but we have a chance."
The Sailors (4-17, 1-4 in league) visit Irvine tonight and host Laguna
Hills Thursday with renewed expectations.
"These are definitely winnable games," Thompson said. "The girls know
Thompson said such unspoken bravado was apparent before the Aliso
"Our girls were ready to play Thursday," she said. "They did things
I've never seen them do before. Even the Aliso coach (Ken Nedler)
commented before the game about how pumped up our girls looked."
Thompson said there have been some down days during this season of
struggle, but she credits her girls' persistent effort and resilience for
"We're finally gelling," Thompson said. "We're playing really tough
The Corona del Mar High boys basketball team broke out of its Pacific
Coast League doldrums with a convincing 71-50 triumph at Laguna Beach
Friday, its first league win of the season.
First-year coach Ryan Curry said defensive intensity was the key. He
also said some new defensive wrinkles, including a full-court press, paid
Curry has stopped at nothing to try to inspire his players, as well as
support from the student body for his team (5-18, 1-5).
"I've led cheers and even danced at pep rallies," Curry said. "I
haven't been afraid to embarrass myself."
Should the Sea View League-leading Newport Harbor boys basketball team
wrap up its first league title since 1990, it would mark only the second
time in school history that the Sailors claimed league crowns in
basketball and football in the same school year.
Since the Tars began fielding varsity football teams in 1931, only the
1984 football team and the 1984-85 basketball team have won league titles
in the same school year.
Should Coach Larry Hirst's Sailors hold off Woodbridge for the
outright crown, it would be the first time football and basketball would
have gained sole possession of first place in the same school year.
The Sailors were co-champions in Sea View football in '84.
Sage Hill High boys basketball coach Gordon McNeill was especially
pleased by his team's 44-42 Academy League win Jan. 22 over Brethren
Christian. The reason? It allowed him to "show off" for his former mentor
in attendance, Paul Orris, for whom he was a varsity assistant a Corona
del Mar before Orris stepped down after last season.
"I told Paul before the game that we'd rub some sweat on (Brethren)
for him," McNeill said.
Aabria Lipscomb, a promising 6-foot-2 junior center for the Northwood
High girls basketball team, is the of daughter O.J. Lipscomb, who coached
lower-level girls basketball at Newport Harbor in the mid-1990s.