Brea Olinda is 25-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation in girls' basketball. Mary Mulligan-Crapo just completed her 25th season of coaching San Clemente, has an even 500 victories and has already announced her retirement, which should get started about 9 p.m. on Thursday night.
In the first round of the Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs, Mulligan's Tritons are being served up to Brea, which hasn't scored fewer than 61 points against any team that wasn't nationally ranked. In fact, in 13 of Brea's 25 games, the Ladycats have scored 70 points or more behind the play of Justine Hartman, Alexis Perry, Jeanier Olukemi and Keitra Wallace.
"She deserves better," was one of the sentiments expressed by coaches Sunday when the playoff pairings were released at the section's office.
Answered Rainer Wulf, the assistant commissioner in charge of basketball: "That's a beast of a division and there are two at-large teams. You've got to put them somewhere, and we're trying to make the bracket as legitimate as possible. I don't look at it as though it's Mary's last year."
It is a beast of a division as Brea, Long Beach Poly (22-2) and Mater Dei (24-1) are not only the top three seeded teams in the division, but are ranked 1-2-3 in the nation.
Half of the bracket's 32 teams have at least 20 victories, 20 have at least 18 victories, and 30 have at least 15. Ayala (8-15), which tied for second place in the Sierra League, is the only team with fewer victories than San Clemente, an at-large team from the South Coast League.
The general consensus is that one of only three teams can win the division—the big three.
The consensus also is that top-seeded Edison (24-3), led by sisters Bonnie and Karlie Samuelson, or Troy (22-2) are the only teams that can win the 1A title, such is the difference between them and the rest of the field. One team hoping to get a chance is third-seeded Woodbridge (21-2).
Orange Lutheran (20-6) is the top-seeded team in 3A. The Lancers, led by Natalie Luzar in an upset of Edison in the last two weeks, has lost to second-seeded Bonita (24-2), which has lost to third-seeded Bishop Amat (21-6). It's hardly a given for OLu.
OLu and Harvard-Westlake (20-8)—in Division 2A—are the only schools whose girls' and boys' teams are seeded No. 1. Anaheim Canyon (18-8), the third-place team in the Century League that features Brea, is the second-seeded team in 2A.
JSerra (9-17), which finished last in the five-team Trinity League that includes Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran, is the third-seeded team in Division 4A.
Yorba Linda (20-4) in 4A and Orangewood Academy (20-4) in 6AA were seeded fourth in their divisions.