Los Angeles Preps: Justine Hartman

Inland Empire and Orange County: Canyon Springs 63, Brea Olinda  53

March, 12, 2011
BREA – Biggest win ever.

That was the only proper description of Canyon Springs’ decisive 63-53 victory Saturday over Brea Olinda, the No. 3 ranked girls team in the nation, in the semifinals of the Southern California Regional Championships.

It wasn’t even the fact that third-seeded Canyon Springs won, but the manner in which they did it, and where they did it.

The Cougars (30-3) went into the Brea gym and outplayed the second-seeded Ladycats (31-2), who have won nine state championships. They outplayed Brea in every facet.

Just as impressively, teams don’t win at Brea. It just doesn't happen. But this one wasn’t even close. Canyon Springs led by 17 points at one point in the fourth quarter.

Junior Jasmine Johnson scored 20 points. Freshman Cheyenne Greenhouse scored 17, more than twice her average. And Nebraska-bound Tear’a Laudermill scored 15 but just as important controlled the game against Brea, which until last week’s loss to second-ranked Mater Dei had been the No. 1 team in the nation.

Under Laudermill's guidance, the Cougars committed only nine turnovers. Brea committed 16 with some of its worst passing of the season.

Even though Canyon Springs won a Southern Section title in 2005 during the Jennifer Risper era, the victory Saturday far exceeded it. The Cougars avenged a 55-36 loss in the section semifinals, a game in which coach Gail Hale thought her team was overpowered by the arena environment.

This time, though, they simply overpowered Brea.

“We looked at films and said if you start doing this stuff right, you got this game,” Hale said.

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

March, 12, 2011
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.

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Orange County: Mater Dei 63, Brea Olinda 54

March, 5, 2011
ANAHEIM --Getting big performances from a number of players, including 18 points off the bench, Mater Dei won the showdown for girls' basketball national supremacy against Brea Olinda, 63-54, on Friday at Anaheim Convention Center Arena to capture the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA championship.

The title was the third in a row for Mater Dei, which entered the game as the No. 2 team in the country. The No. 1 team?


The Ladycats, like Mater Dei (29-1), were also going for their third consecutive section title. The Southern Regional finals begin next week and the regional finals — the likely rematch — will be March 19 at the Galen Center.

Kevin Kiernan, the coach of Mater Dei — his team won a state title last season—knows that these two teams probably will meet in the Southern Regional finals, but he was relishing the victory over such an accomplished program and putting off worry about the state tournament until Monday.

"These games are so hard," he said. "Mater Dei is a great school, a great program with great players. When you play a team like Brea with great kids, great talent, great coaching -- those are the gratifying moments."

That gratifying moment came after Brea (29-1) nearly came back from oblivion, cutting a 56-41 deficit with 6 minutes 2 seconds remaining to two possessions, 59-54, with 1:24 to go. But Brea, which wiped out most of a 12-point first-quarter deficit before halftime only to give up the first eight points of the third quarter, had the comeback end there with Keitra Wallace's final free throw. The Ladycats were 0 for 3 from the field while Mater Dei made four of six free-throws.

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ANAHEIM -- That No. 1 tag hanging on Brea Olinda is sure attractive to other girls' basketball teams.

The run through the Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs has been anything but easy for the nation's top-ranked team. There was a two-point victory in the quarterfinals, and they met more fierce resistance on Tuesday at Anaheim Arena when they had to make a third-quarter break that finally yielded a 55-36 semifinal victory over fourth-seeded Moreno Valley Canyon Springs.

The score belied the battle, and carrying the No. 1 banner for the better part of the year has not been easy on Orange County's most prolific program.

"It's been tougher than I thought," said Brea coach Jeff Sink, who took over the program following the 1993-94 season in which it went undefeated and was named mythical national champion. "It's an onerous responsibility because everyone brings their best game against you, and we've been flat the last couple of weeks.

"I'm amazed by the responsibility of being No. 1."

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Orange County: Five things from the weekend

December, 27, 2010
1. Basketball in December doesn’t mean nearly as much as basketball in April, but you have to be impressed that Brea Olinda won the Nike TOC in Chandler, Ariz. The Ladycats entered the girls’ basketball tournament ranked No. 2 in the nation and beat No. 3 Bolingbrook (IL), 59-54, in double OT in the semifinals and No. 9 Long Beach Poly (which beat No. 1 Mater Dei), 56-48, in the finals on consecutive nights. Justine Hartman was the MVP and Alexis Perry all-tournament. Jeff Sink called it the best back-to-back wins in his 17 years as the Ladycat coach. Given all the big games his teams have played, that’s a mouthful.

2. What does it say about the Southland when three schools – Brea, Mater Dei and Long Beach Poly – of such close proximity are ranked in the top nine in the nation? When the next rankings come out following Poly’s victory over Mater Dei, all three will probably be collectively higher. And get this: All three teams are in Southern Section Division I-AA, which renders everything else insignificant. There’s your national championship tournament right there.

3. Dylan Garrity scored 23 points, but his three assists made him immortal at Edison. Garrity set the school’s all-time assist mark with 379 as the Chargers scored a 48-36 victory over Tustin. “Dylan could score 30 points a game if he wants to,” coach Rich Boyce told the Orange County Register. “But he’d rather get his teammates involved, which is indicative of the record. He’s a different breed of kid.”

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LA North, OC: Brea beats Long Beach Poly in early national showdown

December, 6, 2010
The Ladycat Classic is often one of the most challenging girls' basketball tournaments of the month, and several teams stay away from it because it's too tough too soon in the season. Nobody wants to get off to a bad start in the first week.

There was no chance of that between Brea Olinda and Long Beach Poly. The two powerhouses held form and reached the 31st annual final, where Brea rallied for a 60-53 victory.

Brea (3-0) came into the game ranked No. 2 in the ESPN Fab 50, and Poly (2-1) was ranked No. 12. Then they provided the national-caliber drama.

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