Miller-San Clemente girls matchup is a clash of styles
Miller coach Mel Wilkins is stubborn and isn’t likely to have his team fall back into a halfcourt defense tonight. So the game essentially becomes a matter of whether San Clemente can handle the Rebels’ in-your-face man pressure. The Miller heat is applied mainly by freshman guard Chloe Wells (16.2 points, 4.8 steals per game), junior guard Lola Wells (10.9 ppg., 3.8 spg) and junior guard Briana Hall (12 ppg., 3.9 spg). “The Wells sisters are really good. They’re athletic and they make good decisions with the ball. They create a lot of problems on defense,” Mulligan said. Of Hall, who scored 25 points in the quarterfinal against Woodland Hills, he added: “And that Hall looks pretty good, too.” Other key Rebels are guard Keisha Mackall (10.6 ppg. and forward Jessica Rosa (5.6 rebounds per game). Junior center Kenisha McKee is Miller’s tallest player at 6-foot-1 and she’ll have to stay out of foul trouble against San Clemente’s talented post players. The Tritons have three players 6-1 or taller, led by 6-1 sophomore center Kristen Riley (12.8 ppg., 10.9 rpg) and 6-3 sophomore center Jacqui Marshall (9.1 ppg., 6.9 rpg). “I know that Miller is excellent at what they do, which is to press and trap all over and create a lot of problems. Whichever team is able to dictate the style of play will have a huge advantage.” The winner advances to the SoCal Regional final March 17 at Pauley Pavilion against the winner of tonight’s other semifinal game between Long Beach Poly and Newhall Hart. Fans who attend tonight’s San Clemente girls basketball game at Miller can see it all when the teams meet at 7 tonight in a CIF-State Southern California Regional semifinal. “We have a balanced attack with two big post players,” San Clemente coach Mary Mulligan said. “We have a strong inside game and some decent guards. We’d like to play a halfcourt game. Other Tritons to watch are Amanda Franz (14.2 ppg) and Andrea Wertz (11.5 ppg., 47 3-pointers). Miller fell behind Taft by 13 points in the first half on Tuesday night when the visitors repeatedly beat the Rebel defense and made layups. But the Miller pressure eventually got to Taft, producing a rash of turnovers and Rebel layups in the second half. But Mulligan said San Clemente has been competent against the press so far, and experienced some intense pressure in a CIF-Southern Section quarterfinal game against Pasadena Muir. San Clemente defeated Muir 52-46. This is San Clemente’s seventh trip to the Southern California Regional, which it has never won. Miller, winners of 22 consecutive games, is making its first appearance in the regional. A big crowd is expected tonight. Mulligan said San Clemente’s last game drew 1,800 fans and the Tritons are sending two buses of fans to Fontana tonight. Miller’s side of the gym was almost full for its last game against Woodland Hills Taft. In a D2 girls SoCal regional semifinal game, Norco (28-3) is at Ayala (29-3). Norco is paced by Tyler Howard and Cierra Windham, who average 17.9 and 17 points per game, respectively. In D5 play, Mesa Grande Academy (23-6) makes the long trek to No. 1-seeded San Luis Obispo Mission Prep (21-9). Mission Prep is led by Leigh Yetter (15 ppg). Mesa Grande is paced by Carla Bartlett (12.8 ppg). The Twentynine Palms boys (29-2) face the most difficult challenge of the quarterfinals, traveling to Lakewood Artesia (30-2) to face the No. 1-seeded team in D3. Artesia has an inordinate amount of size and talent, including six players who are 6-3 or taller. That includes sophomore 6-10 Renardo Sidney (18.1 ppg.). Other Artesia players to watch are James Harden (18.5 ppg) and Malik Story (15.1 ppg.). Twentynine Palms is paced by 6-3 sophomore forward Montreal Harris (17.4 ppg.) and guard Nico Matthews (13.4 ppg). The Wildcats have won 15 consecutive games. In D4, Ontario Christian (25-5) is at San Diego Horizon (23-6). Horizon is led by Marquise Carter (20.1 ppg). Ontario Christian has been paced by Justus Jones (17 ppg) and Tyler Vanderzee (13.1 ppg). 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!