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Girls' Basketball: Perales upends CdM

Segerstrom senior guard has 13 steals, as Sea Kings fall in semifinals of their host tournament for second straight year.

November 29, 2012|By Matt Szabo

CORONA DEL MAR — Natalie Perales has acted as a one-player roadblock to the Corona del Mar High girls' basketball team the last two years.

The Segerstrom High senior point guard has met the Sea Kings in the semifinals of the CdM Tip-Off Classic twice. Each time, she has put on a big performance to dump the hosts from championship contention.

CdM Coach Mark Decker asked Segerstrom Coach Jeff Watts after Thursday night's game if Perales was a senior. Decker smiled, simply saying, "Good," after he was told that this is Perales' last year of high school.

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"I'm trying to get that fifth year [of eligibility]," Watts said, smiling back.

Perales had 17 points and 13 steals as the Jaguars posted a 57-35 win at CdM to advance to the championship game, where they'll play either Westminster or Tesoro at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at Northwood High.

Westminster and Tesoro play in the other semifinal Friday night. CdM will play the loser in the third-place game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Northwood.

Perales was the ringleader of the press defense for the Jaguars (3-0) against CdM. The Sea Kings (2-1) committed 33 turnovers in the contest.

Twelve of the turnovers came in the third quarter, when Segerstrom outscored CdM, 28-4. Perales, who had 16 points and 10 steals when Segerstrom beat CdM in the semifinals of last year's tournament, shared team scoring honors Thursday with junior Kayla Stephens, who also scored 17.

"She's got a great stutter-step," Watts said of Perales. "She'll back it up and just explode. The thing is, she's a right-handed shooter, but she goes left like there's no tomorrow. She's actually probably our second-best rebounder. She's got some hops, even though she's 5-3. She's a great kid, doesn't say much but just has gotten better and better."

Segerstrom opened up a 17-5 lead after the first quarter, but CdM got back into it. Midway through the second quarter, junior guard Keaton Gaughan drew a charge on one end then nailed a three-pointer on the other. The Sea Kings were also successful feeding freshman Krista Anderson in the post.

Anderson poured in 12 of her 17 points in the second quarter, helping the Sea Kings pull within 21-18 at halftime. But the press defense killed CdM in the third quarter.

"We got in a rhythm on our press," Watts said. "We're fairly quick ... I thought our pressure really hurt Corona del Mar there in streaks."

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