Laguna Hills Girls Basketball

Laguna Hills defended its CIF top-ranking with a decisive 63-54 win against Irvine University as both schools completed the first week of Pacific Coast League action. University entered the contest ranked number-2 in Division IV-A.

Laguna Hills defended its CIF top-ranking with a decisive 63-54 win against Irvine University as both schools completed the first week of Pacific Coast League action. University entered the contest ranked number-2 in Division IV-A.

 

The Hawks were led by 5-foot-10 freshman standout Lauren Engeln's 16 points and double digit scoring from returning starter's Deborah Go, Cori Williams, and Nicki Nakhaie.

 

Energized by its home crowd, University (12-7, 1-1) carried a 13-7 lead into the second quarter and still held a fragile 28-27 lead at the half. Lauren Hudash, a 6-1 junior led University with 26 points and senior point guard Casey Gomez totaled 17.

 

But the scoring depth of Laguna Hills (15-4, 2-0) was too much to overcome. Williams, one of the premier perimeter shooters in Orange County, finished with 15 points. Teammate Go also tallied 15 points with nine assists, and Nakhaie did all her scoring on four, three-pointers.

 

"Nakhaie hit two, 3-pointers and Go drove to the basket on two plays, both midway throught the second quarter to really get us going," said Laguna Hills coach Jim Martin, who gave high marks to University.

 

"Hudash and Gomez gave us fits and were as good as advertised. Hudash is legitimate and is one of the two best post player's we've seen as year," said Martin.

 

In the end, the Hawks showed greater scoring versatility. "We've got four different kids who can lead us in scoring. That's what good about us," said Martin. "There's never an issue with who gets the ball. We take whatever the defense gives us."

 

Engeln is the team's leading scorer with 13 per game, with Nakhaie and Williams averaging 11, and Go at 10.

 

Williams scored 21 points in a 61-51 win last month against El Toro. Nakhaie reached 22 points against Saddleback and Engeln 19 points three times, including 13 rebounds against El Toro.

 

Laguna Hills has notched other big wins this season against Palos Verdes, Saugus, and twice over Mission Viejo.

 

University earned its number-2 CIF rating with victories over Ocean View, Irvine, and Calvary Chapel/Santa Ana.

 

Hudash is averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds for coach Bob Bernal's Trojans, and the all-league Gomez, who stands 5-foot-9, averages 12 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and has connected on 34, three-pointer's.

 

Hudash scored 24 points and hauled in 13 rebounds in the Trojan's 68-41 win against Irvine in the Pacific Coast League opener.

 

University has a rematch at Laguna Hills on Feb. 2, and if Laguna Hills repeats a victory and gets by Huntington Beach Ocean View in a non league game at home on Jan. 27, the Hawks will end the regular season with its  number-1 ranking.
 


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