Monache girls set for quarterfinals
There’s a joke going around that Herb Abiog has handled the pressure so well of taking over for a Valley championship winning coach, that if the winning coach of this year’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament retires, Abiog would be ready to take over that position as well.
Abiog, though, admitted taking over a defending Valley championship team with a strong nucleus returning has been enough pressure, thank you. After Rudy Montanez led Monache to the 2011 Division II Valley title, Abiog knew the reality was nothing less than a repeat would be a disappointment.
Abiog has exceeded the mark as not only did Monache defend its Valley title, it also won the first state playoff game in history when the Marauders beat Culver City 62-42 on Wednesday at home in the first round of the Southern California State playoffs.
Now Monache (24-2) heads to Riverside today for a 7 p.m. game in which it will face John W. North (28-5), the No. 2 seed, in the SoCal quarterfinals.
“Every step we’re taking, the pressure’s a little bit lighter,” Abiog said. “We’re in uncharted territory right now.”
Abiog and his team watched video of J.W. North’s Southern Section semifinal 65-49 win over Ventura. J.W. North went on to lose to Lynwood 65-55 in the Southern Section finals.
Lynwood is SoCal’s No. 1 seed. J.W. North had a bye in the first round of the SoCal playoffs.
While J.W. North lists its tallest player, Pricilla Brooks, at 5-10, Abiog said it appears that J.W. North has more size on film than what’s listed. “They look a lot taller on video,” Abiog said.
Abiog also said that point guard Akilah Martin looks taller than the listed 5-6.
It could be a contrast of styles tonight as the Huskies look to be more of a half court team, while Monache relies heavily on an aggressive press and pressure defense.
While the Huskies did press against Ventura, it wasn’t an aggressive press, Abiog said. “I’m kind of hoping they’re going to be bothered by our press,” Abiog said.
Abiog also said that the Huskies really relied on just a six-player rotation against Ventura. Abiog also said he hopes that Ale Tobie will continue to be a matchup problem inside as she’s been throughout the Valley and the State playoffs. Abiog said he believes Tobie is a “little quicker” than the Huskies’ post players.
“I feel good about the matchup,” Abiog also said about his team going up against the Huskies.
While it can be dangerous to go by comparative scores, there are comparative scores that are encouraging for Monache. The Huskies played Norco twice this season, beating Norco 70-51 and 49-36. Norco beat Culver City 57-51 in the Southern Section playoffs while Monache beat Culver City 62-42.
The Huskies have a balanced attack like Monache. Brittany Cain is the leading scorer at 17.1 points a game, followed by Brooks (15.6), Simone DeCoud (11.3), Martin (9.3) and Kamille Diaz (9.1), who’s actually the sixth man.
For Monache, Jenae Alcantar averages 17.8 points and has scored 1,625 points in her career. She’s followed by Dominique Pilkinton (12.3), Tobie (9.8) and Emily Hardin (9.0).
Hardin had a strong all-around game against Culver City with six rebonds, six assists and six steals and Celina Montgomery also made a strong contribution, scoring seven points.
Note: Valleysportslive.com will broadcast tonight’s game with Mike Haskins and Chad Moody providing the play-by-play. The broadcast will begin at 6:45 p.m.