Opportunity doesn’t normally knock more than once, especially during playoff time in high school basketball. For the Montclair Prep girls' basketball team, opportunity is knocking for the second time in a championship game.
Montclair Prep is going up against top-seeded St. Anthony of Long Beach in the CIF Southern California Division V regional championship game at Colony High School in Ontario on Saturday. It will be a rematch of the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championship game. St. Anthony won the Division 5A championship, 57-47, over Montclair Prep.
To avenge that loss, Montclair Prep coach Bob Webb said his team will have to shoot better from the free-throw line and overcome a considerable size disadvantage.
St. Anthony has two players who are 6 feet 3, freshman Kendall Cooper and senior Paris Lamar. Webb said his team needs to get creative to avoid letting St. Anthony grab easy rebounds.
“We have to find a way to put two people on one, make them move for a rebound,” Webb said. “We have to limit the amount of offensive rebounds.”
Sounds easier said than done when Montclair Prep’s tallest player, Leslie Finau, is listed at 5-10. Chantel Dooley, the lone senior on the team, comes in at 5-9, and brings up another issue for Montclair Prep: experience.
This is the furthest a Montclair Prep girls' basketball team has advanced in the CIF state playoffs. Webb gave his players the day off from practice Monday and had some easy workouts Tuesday and Wednesday. He wasn’t planning on working his team out too hard Friday afternoon, the day before the regional championship.
“I hope they’re ready,” Webb said. “It’s another opportunity to go a step further and do something that hasn’t been done before.”