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State-tourney win for Guards

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL: Bell-Jeff beats Corcoran, 76-55, to set up big test.

March 10, 2010|By Jeff Tully

The Bellarmine-Jefferson High girls’ basketball team just wanted another chance.

After falling in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section playoffs more than a week ago, some thought it was the end of the line this season for the Guards.

However, Bell-Jeff received new life when it was invited to take part in the CIF State Division IV Girls’ Basketball Championships.


The No. 9-seeded Guards made the most of their invitation in the first round of the Southern California Championships Tuesday, defeating No. 8 Corcoran, 76-55, in a game in Central California.

“We are just thrilled to have the opportunity to keep playing,” Bell-Jeff Coach Bryan Camacho said. “We want to make the most of that opportunity I am just so proud of the way the girls played.”

The win puts Bell-Jeff (25-6) into a second-round game against a familiar opponent. The Guards will take on host Harvard-Westlake — the No. 1 seed — at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The teams have played one another twice this season, with the Wolverines (30-1) winning both. In the first meeting Dec. 21, Bell-Jeff was outplayed in a 69-47 loss. However, in the second clash Jan. 5, the Guards more than held their own in a 66-62 defeat.

The Wolverines, who had a bye for the first round of state competition, are fresh off winning the Southern Section IVAA championship. Harvard-Westlake defeated Bishop Montgomery, 58-54, to capture the title.

The Wolverines’ lone loss came against powerhouse Mater Dei, 79-42. The team also won the Mission League championship.

“We know it’s going to be a battle,” Camacho said. “It’s just going to come down to who can execute.”

Against Corcoran (24-5) — the CIF Central Division IV champion — freshman Leslie Lopez-Wood poured in 24 points, including six three-pointers. Sophomore Jasmine Smith added 14 points and junior Layana White had 10.

The Guards took a 24-19 lead after the first quarter and increased the advantage to 43-32 at the half.

Bell-Jeff, which won its third Santa Cruz League title this season, won Southern Section and state titles in 2009.

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