LA North: Harvard-Westlake vs. St. Joseph,
speed vs. size in CIF girls semifinal

The Harvard-Westlake girls basketball team has a 27-game winning streak, an 18-game home winning streak and a date tonight with a scrappy St. Joseph team from Santa Maria in the Southern California Regional semifinals of the CIF Division IV state playoffs.

Harvard-Westlake, the top-seeded team in the bracket, the No. 32-ranked team in the ESPN Rise Fab 50 and the No. 7 team in the West Region by ESPN Rise, is at home for its game against St. Joseph, the Southern Section Division 3A champion.

St. Joseph has a 14-game winning streak of its own, including an impressive, 70-48, win over LACES, the fourth-seeded team in the Southern California Regionals. St. Joseph beat Mission Prep, 59-28, in the first round of the Division IV state playoffs.

Harvard-Westlake coach Melissa Hearlihy said St. Joseph has the size advantage against her team. One player in particular, 6-foot-3 sophomore forward Aly Beebe, presents some problems for Harvard-Westlake. But Hearhily said her team’s speed will present problems for St. Jospeph.

“I think if we play our game, they have huge matchup problems,” Hearhily said.

Leslie Schuman, a reserve guard for Harvard-Westlake, has been cleared to play against St. Joseph. The sophomore was nursing an injured shoulder and missed Harvard-Westlake’s second-round game against Bell-Jeff.