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St. Anthony High School

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LB PRESS-TELEGRAM: ST. ANTHONY CAPTURES CIF CROWN

St. Anthony captures CIF crown
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Top seed takes down No. 2 Montclair Prep, nearly going wire to wire.
By David Felton Staff Writer 03/04/2010

SANTA ANA - It took the St. Anthony High girls basketball team just more than two minutes to take its first lead Thursday in the CIF Southern Section Division V-A final. Over the next 30 minutes, the Saints never let that lead go and ended the day with their first divisional title since 2000.

Paced by 12 points from Jourdan Cooper and 12 rebounds from Natalie Williams, top-seeded St. Anthony defeated No. 2 Montclair Prep, 57-47, at Mater Dei High's Meruelo Athletic Center.

The Saints led by as many as 15 points in the second half and then saw that advantage fall to just six with less than three minutes to play before pulling away late. The victory avenged a 64-26 playoff loss to the Mounties last season and secured just the second CIF title for the girls basketball program.

"We've come full circle," St. Anthony coach James Anderson said. "I told them that God gave them another chance to fix (last season's loss)."

The Saints defense was stellar for most of the game, holding the Mounties (22-7) to 26.2 percent shooting (16-for-61) and out rebounding their much smaller opponent, 49-43. Junior guard Kimberly Scamman led Montclair with 18 points and senior guard Chantel Dooley scored 12 but the rest of the team combined for just 17 points. "I thought we did a pretty good job on (Scamman and Dooley)," Anderson said.

Late in the third quarter, senior guard Rina Towne gave St. Anthony (23-9) a 38-25 lead with a full-court drive and layup. That advantage grew to 40-25 on a bucket by Cooper early in the fourth.

Montclair Prep, however, fought back slowly. Scamman sank a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 48-39 and then converted a conventional three-point play with 2:47 remaining.
But the Saints were strong down the stretch. Williams, a 6-foot junior reserve, scored consecutive baskets with less than minutes to play, including one off an offensive rebound, and freshman guard Jordan Jackson was 3-for-4 from the foul line in the fourth.

"It's very exciting and I'm just so proud of the team, how far we've come," said Towne, one of five seniors on the squad. "It's been a long journey, a very long journey."

In just his third season at the helm, Anderson has the Saints at the top of Division V-A. Anderson, a 1986 St. Anthony graduate, led Narbonne High to six L.A. City Section crowns in 16 seasons.

"Coming back home (to St. Anthony), it's real special. Narbonne bred me to be a coach ... but this is home," Anderson said. "This is special because it's not about (the coaches). It's about how happy we are for these kids. We're happy for them. We're glad we won, we're glad for the school but we're overjoyed for the girls."

Cooper also grabbed eight rebounds, four on the offensive end, and Raquel Johnson scored nine points. Jackson and Williams each finished with seven points and senior point guard Talor Hixon, a four-year varsity starter, finished with five points, four assists and three rebounds. "It feels great," Hixon said. "I'm proud of my team for stepping up."

Both teams qualified for the upcoming Southern California playoffs by reaching the final and will open regional play Tuesday. First-round pairings will be released Sunday.
david.felton@presstelegram.com