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Four get CIF state invitation

Basketball: Bell-Jeff and Providence girls' teams earn home games, while Pioneers boys and Burbank girls hit the road for first round.

March 05, 2012|BY JEFF TULLY, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(File Photo )

There are four area teams that are experiencing the thrill of the CIF State Basketball Championships for the first time, while another has become a regular in the postseason competition.

Although no local programs were able to capture a CIF Southern Section championship this season, three girls’ teams reached the semifinals in their respective divisions and one boys’ squad advanced to a division final.

The quartet will be in action today for first-round games in the state playoffs.

The Bellarmine-Jefferson High girls’ squad is making its fourth straight appearance in the state tournament. The No. 5-seeded Guards (23-8) will play at 7 p.m. at home against No. 12 Los Angeles Baptist in a Division IV Southern California Regional opener.

The Guards won their fifth straight Santa Cruz League championship this season and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA semifinals to Gardena Serra, 71-54.

Bell-Jeff has been led by senior All-CIF standouts Rishonda Napier and Jasmine Smith.

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L.A. Baptist fell to Campbell Hall, 67-48, in the Division IV-A semifinals.

Also earning a home game is the Providence girls’ squad. The Pioneers (25-5), who are seeded fifth, will host No. 12 Rock Academy (18-10) from San Diego at 3:15 p.m. in a Division V game.

The Pioneers won their second straight Liberty League title and made a first-ever appearance in the CIF Southern Section semifinals, losing the Division V-AA game to Villanova Prep, 48-35.

Providence has solid players in junior Bea Benedicto and freshman Katia Dabbaghian.

Rock Academy was defeated in the San Diego Section Division V semifinals to Ocean View Christian, 56-42.

The most challenging opening game belongs to the Burbank girls’ team. The No. 16 Bulldogs (19-12) have to travel to top-seeded Mater Dei (33-3) for a Division I game at 6 p.m.

Burbank finished second in the Pacific League and made its first appearance in a CIF Southern Section semifinal game, losing to Summitt, 72-49.

The Bulldogs spread the scoring around with seniors Damarie Gonzalez and Sylvia Granados and juniors Aja Locke and Jamie Gonzalez.

Mater Dei is a powerhouse that is ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 3 in the nation by maxpreps.com. The Monarchs defeated Brea Olinda, 54-47, Friday to capture the I-AA championship.

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