Inland Empire and Orange County: Brea Olinda vs. Canyon Springs


Southern California Regional Semifinals

Division I Girls

Canyon Springs (30-3) at Brea Olinda (31-1), 7 p.m.

Don't look ahead: Second-seeded Brea Olinda was undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time it was beaten by Mater Dei in the Southern Section Division 1AA championship. A victory here probably sets up a rematch. Looking ahead to Mater Dei and not focusing on third-seeded Canyon Springs could spoil everything.

Who will be the star: Despite its athletes and the presence of shot-blocker Sophie Ederaine (6-2), who is averaging 7.2 per game, Canyon Springs can't focus on any one offensive threat. Brea can get double-figure scoring from every position on the floor, and they're deep. It doesn't stop with UCLA-bound Justine Hartman (11.5 points). Jeanier Olukemi (12.5), Alexis Perry (10.2) and Keitra Wallace (10.8) are all capable of putting away an opponent. A junk defense doesn't stand much chance of beating the Ladycats.

Stepping up: In addition to Nebraska-bound Tear'a Laudermill (16.9 points), Jasmine Johnson (13.2) and Ederaine (11.6 points), someone in the Canyon Springs lineup is going to have to make a play or two on offense or defense or both.

Don't be intimidated: There's a lot of tradition hanging on the walls of Brea's gym. Even though Canyon Springs has played there before, even though they played the Ladycats less than two weeks ago, the Cougars can't give up points just because of the aura. They'll need every point they can get.

Big game. Really: Brea defeated Canyon Springs, 55-36, in the section semifinals. It's the only loss by Canyon Springs in the last 26 games. Brea-Mater Dei is the biggest game, but this is definitely a big game. When they met in the semifinals, it was 19-18 at halftime and 36-29 going into the fourth quarter. If Canyon Springs is more comfortable in a gymnasium environment than an arena environment, the Cougars could make a run. The trade-off is that Brea will be more comfortable, too.

Bring the defense: Six times this season Canyon Springs has held an opponent to 21 points or less. Brea could score that in a quarter, but the Cougars better plan on winning the game with defense, because that's Brea's calling card.