LA North: Harvard-Westlake girls not sure what to expect in CIF state championship

Harvard-Westlake girls' basketball coach Melissa Hearlihy has heard the St. Mary’s team likes to run, but she hasn’t seen evidence of that in the tapes she’s been going over the past couple days.

Harvard-Westlake will play St. Mary’s of Berkeley in the CIF State Division IV championship at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield on Saturday. In the Northern California regional championship game against McKinleyville, St. Mary’s looked like anything but a run-and-gun type of team. The two teams played to a 16-16 halftime tie before St. Mary’s slowly pulled away in the fourth quarter.

It was anything but the fast-paced type of game Hearlihy has heard St. Mary’s plays.

“They grind it out,” Hearlihy said. “They don’t shoot very well from the perimeter. I hope they try to run with us the whole time. I’d much rather run with anybody.”

In preparing for the state championship game, Hearlihy said she has been running “protective” practices with her team. She doesn’t want to see her team go through what happened to the West Virginia men’s basketball team.

Starting guard Darryl Bryant broke his foot in practice for the second-seeded West Virginia team and will miss the remainder of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. His team plays No. 11 Washington in the Sweet 16 on Thursday.

A flu bug swept through the Harvard-Westlake girls basketball team before the Southern California regional final against Bishop Montgomery. It didn’t seem to affect her players, although Hearlihy said her star senior Nicole Hung, who’s headed to Princeton in the fall, was hit hardest by it. She scored a game-high 23 points in the Southern California final against Bishop Montgomery.

Still, it was a concern for a while for Hearlihy.

“It was scary having kids missing practice two days in a row,” Hearlihy said.