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Girls' Basketball Dream Team: Duran sparked Estancia

Junior guard is Player of the Year after helping Eagles advance to CIF quarterfinals for first time since 1999.

April 20, 2013|By Matt Szabo
  • Estancia High's Celia Duran is the Daily Pilot Girls' Basketball Dream Team Player of the Year.
Estancia High's Celia Duran is the Daily Pilot Girls'… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

One of the most telling gauges of Celia Duran's worth came in some of the final minutes of the Estancia High girls' basketball season.

The No. 9-seeded Eagles were on their way to losing at top-seeded West Hills Chaminade in a CIF Southern Section Division 3A quarterfinal game. But Estancia Co-Coach Xavier Castellano said that Chaminade stayed in a "box and one" defense against Duran, even with the game in hand.

"They box-and-one'd her up 30," Castellano said. "She was the best player on the floor."

Estancia's 5-foot-8 junior guard, who scored 23 points in the loss, may have been the best player on the floor in that game, even against the eventual CIF champions. She also was the best player in the Newport-Mesa area.

Duran is the Daily Pilot Dream Team Newport-Mesa Player of the Year for girls' basketball.

She was one of three team captains and, without question, the leader for Estancia (20-8). She helped the Eagles accomplish big things, like winning the outright Orange Coast League title for the second time in three years. They went 9-1 in league, their only slip up at Laguna Beach.

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Making the playoff quarterfinals was another big deal. It was the first time that Estancia girls' basketball had made it that far since 1999. Duran helped make it happen, scoring a big 27 points in a 54-43 second-round win over Ridgecrest Burroughs.

Duran said she felt prepared for that second-round game. She wasn't necessarily her normal happy self before the game started.

"During the day, my friends were saying, 'Why are you so serious?'" Duran said. "And I was like, 'I'm not serious. I'm just in focus mode.' I tried to do everything we usually do that much better, because I knew the team that we were facing obviously wanted the same thing we did. It was a 'win or go home' situation. I had to score, and I had to be calm throughout the game. Sometimes that doesn't happen. Sometimes I get scared."

Duran, a repeat Dream Team selection, usually made the opposition scared instead. She averaged area-bests of 16.3 points, five assists and four steals per game. She also averaged 4.6 rebounds per contest, high for a guard. Her 75 three-pointers tied her for third in Orange County.

Duran was the co-league MVP and an All-CIF Division 3A selection. She helped Estancia beat rival Costa Mesa three times during the season, including during two tight league games. Duran was right at her season average, 16 points, in each of the three games.

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