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Girls' Basketball: CdM's season ends

Despite height advantage, Sea Kings fall to scrappy Garfield team in first round of CIF state playoffs.

March 13, 2014|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar High's Chanel Wosoughkia, left, Natalia Bruening, center, and Alexa Pridemore watch as the final seconds wind down in a 53-48 loss to Garfield during the CIF State SoCal Regional Division III playoffs on Wednesday.
Corona del Mar High's Chanel Wosoughkia, left,… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

On its home floor and playing a lower-seeded squad, things appeared to be looking up for the Corona del Mar High girls' basketball team.

The No. 6-seeded Sea Kings went up big on No. 11 Los Angeles Garfield midway through the second quarter of Wednesday night's CIF State Southern California Regional Division III opener. CdM looked well on its way to extending its first state playoffs appearance in program history.

Then sophomore forward Natalia Bruening got her third foul. The lead nearly vanished by halftime.

In the end, it was the visiting fans chanting, "East L.A., East L.A.," as the final buzzer sounded.

The Bulldogs were out-sized. They made sure they weren't out-worked.

Garfield senior forward Irma Munoz and sophomore forward Monica Garcia each scored a game-high 21 points as the Sea Kings were upset, 53-48, ending their big season. Even more frustrating to the Sea Kings, it seemed like a very winnable game.

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"I thought our defense was pretty bad," CdM Coach Mark Decker said. "Our rebounding was horrible. Non-existent. There's no excuse. They went after it, and we didn't ... I can't explain it. There's no reason why that should happen."

The Bulldogs (24-12), the L.A. City Section runners-up, boasted nobody taller than 5-foot-8 in their lineup. CdM's Bruening is 6-3, sophomore center Krista Anderson is 6-2 and junior forward Maria King is 5-10, but those heights didn't seem to matter for the Sea Kings (21-10).

On one possession late in the third quarter, Garfield got four straight offensive rebounds before Garcia was fouled. And with CdM down five in the closing seconds and desperately needing a rebound, Garcia provided her team with an offensive board, tipping the ball to Munoz and allowing the Bulldogs to run down the clock.

"I think we were playing a little bit smarter," Munoz said. "We were boxing out. We were just going after every loose ball. We knew from the beginning that they were going to be taller, they were going to have the height advantage over us. But I think our speed was what kept us in the game the whole time."

CdM took a 25-11 lead with 4:31 left in the second quarter, on a pair of free throws by King. Anderson was aggressive early, scoring eight of her 12 points by then and crashing the offensive glass.

The start was to the liking of three members of CdM's 1982-83 team, the only one to win a section title. Kim Valentine, Fran Wynn and Joan Loos watched the action from the stands.

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