Laguna Hills, Foothill ready for matchups

UC Davis has be pretty happy that its basketball program is getting a couple of recruits who are still playing.

Celia Marfone of Laguna Hills and Molly Greubel of Santa Ana Foothill have led their teams to the Southern Section Regional Championships today at Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario.

Marfone has been the big presence for Laguna Hills (25-8) which won a state title in 1997 with 6-foot-6 Tayyiba Haneef in the post. Laguna Hills hopes to beat top-seeded Mission Bay (26-6) today, 10 a.m., in the Division III regional finals. Even though the Hawks don't have anyone like Haneef, Marfone (6-0) and Anna Mumm (6-2) provide two posts that provide a solid foundation. They also have a junior guard in Maddy Ziering-Smith who can distribute the ball as well as score.

Marfone is averaging 19 points and 14 rebounds; she had 20 points and 22 rebounds against Mission Hills Alemany in the regional semifinals, a 58-49 victory. Mumm, a junior, is averaging just 5.5 points but has averaged 10 rebounds and blocked 105 shots this season. Ziering-Smith is averaging 16.8 points with four assists and four steals per game.

Mission Bay is coached by former Lynwood High star Sade Wiley-Gatewood, who won state championships as a point guard when she was in high school. She's coaching a team with tall athletic guards that will be a handful for Laguna Hills, which has now won five section championships.

Greubel and fifth-seeded Foothill (28-5) -- which has won three regional games by a combined seven points -- had to beat top-seeded Lynwood to reach the finals today against Riverside North, 2 p.m. Greubel hit a basket with two seconds remaining to send the game into overtime, added a pair of free throws in the final seconds, and finished with 28 points in a 52-50 victory. She is averaging 16.7 points

"She's a really good player. She does it all, she's a hard-nosed, good shooter and plays good defense," said Jim Martin, the coach at Laguna Hills who faced Foothill in the season opener, a 64-62 victory. "She's like Marfone. They're putting their teams on their backs and carrying them, two kids who are having banner senior years and have made the commitment to go for it."

All of which has to make UC Davis coach Jennifer Gross smile. Davis also has successfully recruited Alyson Doherty (6-2, 15.3 ppg, 11.9 reb.) of Lake Forest El Toro, who led the Chargers to a first round victory at Harbor City Narbonne in the regionals.

"I told the (Gross) that's the recruiting trifecta out of O.C.," Martin recalled from a recent conversation. "She said 'Thank you, we're very very happy.' "