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Girls' Basketball Playoffs: Drought figures to end

Four area representatives take aim at halting recent string of playoff futility.

February 13, 2012|By Barry Faulkner

No player on the four Newport-Mesa teams competing in the CIF Southern Section girls' basketball playoffs has ever experienced a postseason victory.

[FOR THE RECORD: The Estancia High girls' basketball team won a playoff game last season, contrary to what was published in a story that appeared in Tuesday's edition.]

Corona del Mar High, Costa Mesa, Estancia and Sage Hill will attempt to change all that when they begin play in their respective divisions Thursday at 7 p.m.


The Sea Kings (10-16) are the No. 10 seed in Division 3A, though they finished last in the Pacific Coast League. Coach Mark Decker's squad, which began the season 7-4, before losing 12 of its final 15, appears to have a solid chance of first-round success, as it plays host to Saddleback (10-13).

"It's a good opportunity," Decker said of the first-round draw, which came with the added surprise of being a home game. "The girls have wanted to do this and they are looking forward to it. We knew our league would be extremely tough, so it will be interesting to see how we recover."

CdM, which has not won a playoff game since 2001, is led by seniors Karleh Wilson, Melanie de Arakal and Samantha Coffman. Wilson is averaging 11 points and eight rebounds per game, while de Arakal chips in seven points per contest, Decker said.

The Sea Kings did not play Saddleback this season, but CdM did defeat Estancia, which split two Orange Coast League games with the Roadrunners.

CdM, which earned an at-large bid to qualify for its fourth straight postseason, has lost seven straight.

Should the Sea Kings advance, they would visit No. 7-seeded La Canada (15-11). La Canada knocked CdM out of the playoffs in 2009 and 2010.

Estancia (14-12) is the No. 12 seed in Division 3A after finishing third in the Orange Coast League. Coach Xavier Castellano's Eagles are making the program's fourth straight postseason appearance, though they last won a CIF playoff game in 2004. That 2004 win came in a wild-card game. They have not won a first-round game since 2002.

The Eagles play host to Azusa (5-21), an at-large entry that finished seventh in the Montview League. The Aztecs lost their final five regular-season games.

Estancia, which dropped a second-place showdown against Costa Mesa, 47-35, on Wednesday, is led by sophomore guard Celia Duran, as well as sophomore Bryanna Vernon and junior Giana Jason.

Should Estancia win Thursday, it would travel to Atascadero (16-8) for a second-round contest on Saturday.

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