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Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Orange County and LA South: Division 3A, Orange Lutheran 59, Bonita 42

By Blair Angulo

ANAHEIM -- Make room in the Orange Lutheran trophy case. It's about to get a bit more crowded in there.

Senior Natalie Luzar made sure of it, pouring in 23 points to guide the top-seeded Lancers to the CIF-Southern Section Division 3A girls basketball championship with a 59-42 win against second-seeded Bonita on Wednesday night at Anaheim Arena. The victory came a mere two hours after the school's boys team captured its own CIF crown with a 78-71 win over Los Angeles Windward in Division 4AA.

"This is just a surreal experience," Lutheran coach Tom Howard said, as Lutheran's student section gathered around its victorious peers.

Sophomore Sydney Jacobs added 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting for the Trinity League runner-up Lancers (25-6). Taylor Anderson had a team-best 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Bearcats.

The Lutheran girls, perhaps trying to top what standouts James Douglas and Gabe York had done for the boys an hour previous, shot 50 percent (13-for-26) in the second half.

"You've got to give [Lutheran] credit," Bonita coach Darren Baumunk said. "They came out and hit a lot of their shots. They're a very good team. We knew we had to play a very good game if we wanted to beat them."

Hacienda League champion Bonita (28-3) pulled to within three -- at 37-34 with 2:30 remaining in the third quarter -- but was never closer. Lutheran went into the fourth on a 7-0 run.

"It's difficult," Baumunk said. "I know these girls are really upset, but I'm proud of them. This is the first time we've made it to the finals, it's a step in the right direction. Last year we made it to the semis and that was a step in the right direction. Now we get to the finals and, you know what, maybe hopefully soon it will be our turn. We've got to keep going."

Lutheran's championship win, according to Howard, meant more because his girls had been "through a ton."

And by "a ton," Howard didn't just mean extra wind sprints and grueling Saturday morning practices. The current batch of seniors were sophomores when former coach Tony Matson unexpectedly died at 44.

"To come back and do this in your senior year," Howard said, "is just unbelievable."