Los Angeles Preps: Mary Mulligan-Crapo

Brea Olinda is 25-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation in girls' basketball. Mary Mulligan-Crapo just completed her 25th season of coaching San Clemente, has an even 500 victories and has already announced her retirement, which should get started about 9 p.m. on Thursday night.

In the first round of the Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs, Mulligan's Tritons are being served up to Brea, which hasn't scored fewer than 61 points against any team that wasn't nationally ranked. In fact, in 13 of Brea's 25 games, the Ladycats have scored 70 points or more behind the play of Justine Hartman, Alexis Perry, Jeanier Olukemi and Keitra Wallace.

"She deserves better," was one of the sentiments expressed by coaches Sunday when the playoff pairings were released at the section's office.

Answered Rainer Wulf, the assistant commissioner in charge of basketball: "That's a beast of a division and there are two at-large teams. You've got to put them somewhere, and we're trying to make the bracket as legitimate as possible. I don't look at it as though it's Mary's last year."

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1. Mater Dei’s 67-65 victory over Price on Saturday in the Nike Extravaganza bodes really well for the Monarchs (22-2). They beat one of the outstanding teams around, and continue to perform really well despite nine of their top 10 players being underclassmen.If they’re going to win a Southern Section or state title, Xavier Johnson, Katin Reinhardt & Co., are going to have to win some close games.

2. Orange Lutheran (19-6) continues to show that it’s a team that needs to be watched. Although it has six losses, OLu has not lost to a team in Orange County, and it’s the only county team with a victory over Mater Dei. At the Nike Extravaganza, Gabe York and James Douglas led the Lancers to a 66-63 overtime victory over Westchester. Any day, any time, any victory over Westchester (20-6) is a great victory. How many teams can claim victories over Mater Dei and Westchester in the same year? Not many.

3. You had to feel that Mission Viejo had a tenuous hold on perfection. The Diablos had won 23 in a row before losing to Tesoro, 51-49, on Friday when Dusty Baker sank a pair of free throws with nine seconds remaining. However, eight of Mission’s victories—one third of its games—had been decided by five points or fewer, and another was decided by six points. At a time when the Diablos should probably be exerting more dominance over teams while heading toward the playoffs, four of their previous five games had been determined by five points; the exception was an emotional 59-39 nonleague win over Aliso Niguel (22-2). Mission is the only team to have beaten the Wolverines. What does it mean? There’s still work to do. But the loss will probably help in the long run, providing further proof that in basketball, there’s more to winning than just showing up.

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