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Wolverines send message GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Harvard-Westlake shows it will be tough to topple in league play after easy victory against Alemany.

Byline: Erik Boal, Special to the Daily News

The Mission League girls' basketball title wasn't at stake Thursday night, but Harvard-Westlake of Studio City sent a message to the other five teams that it's going to take an impressive effort to knock off the Wolverines.

Harvard-Westlake was efficient on offense, tenacious on defense and relentless on the offensive boards, all of which added up to a long night for rival Alemany of Mission Hills in the final of the inaugural West Coast Holiday Invitational.

Skylar Tsutsui had 12 of her 18points in the first half and Nicole Hung added 19 points to lead the host Wolverines to a 64-41 victory over the Warriors (10-4) at Harvard-Westlake High.

"It's nice to see a different person stepping up every night," Hung said. "Tonight, it was Skylar who had the hot hand and that really set the tone for us early."

The victory was Harvard-Westlake's second tournament title of the season, following a Dec. 22 victory over Canyon Springs of Moreno Valley in the Gray Division final at the Nike Tournament of Champions. The Wolverines (13-1) extended their winning streak to nine following a 79-42 loss to Mater Dei of Santa Ana - the nation's top-ranked team by ESPN/Rise Magazine - in the Dec. 11 championship game of the Monarchs' tournament.

Alemany, which had won four in a row since a 62-61 loss to Agoura in the Anderson Division final at the Nike Tournament of Champions, fell behind by seven after one quarter and it only got worse from there.

"Our goal is to show up every night ready to play and we definitely showed up," saod Harvard-Westlake coach Melissa Hearlihy, whose team atoned for a 66-61 loss to Alemany last season that cost the Wolverines the league title. "I've seen Alemany a number of times and they're a good team, but they just had a tough night. What has me excited is that we had so many players involved and with Skylar hitting those early 3s, sometimes that breaks your back and you never recover."

As Harvard-Westlake picked up its defensive intensity, the Warriors were forced into taking rushed, contested and off balance shots, many of which with the shot clock winding down.

Angelica Sahagun, who had eight points, was repeatedly challenged inside by Sydney Haydel, Janine Zelden, Amanda Horowitz and Tiana Woolridge. Trinidee Trice often had to resort to shooting on the perimeter because Hung wouldn't allow her to penetrate into the paint.

Trice scored the first basket of the second quarter, but Harvard-Westlake responded by scoring 19 of the next 23 points to grab a 40-20 lead with 45 seconds remaining in the half.

Alemany's perimeter woes continued into the third quarter, when the Wolverines stretched the advantage to 56-27 when Tsutsui hit her fifth 3-pointer.

erik.boal@dailynews.com

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Photo:

Harvard-Westlake's Nicole Hung, left, shoots over Alemany's T rinidee Trice in Thursday's title game.

Hans Gutknecht Staff Photographer

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 1, 2010
Words:491
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