Just as we predicted, the Huntington Beach High girls’ basketball team was the one most likely to go deep into the CIF-SS playoffs for any of the winter sports from the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area.
The main reason has been Frankie Wade Sanchez. The senior forward is the top scorer for Orange County girls, averaging just a hair under 22 points a game. With her at the forefront, the Oilers were co-champs of the Sunset League (with Los Alamitos) and have reeled off 15 straight games.
After defeating Esperanza on Saturday, the Oilers (22-7) will face off against Bishop Montgomery on Friday or Saturday in the Division 1-A final. The Knights (20-9) hail from Torrance and were the third-place finisher in the Del Rey League They are led by senior Jessica Malazarte, who is averaging 17.1 points a game, and sophomore Kayla Padilla (13.2 ppg).
It ought to be a good game, but – of course – we are picking Huntington and Frankie to shine the brightest when the final buzzer sounds.
THE RUSH TO INGLEWOOD
You’ve got to love the turn in fortunes for the community of Inglewood. Once the home of the Lakers, Kings and thoroughbred racing, that community near the airport lost all of that and seemed to be fading into status as just another aging suburb.
But all that changed when Stan Kroenke bought a bunch of land there, then brought the Rams back from St. Louis. He’ll be building a new football Taj Mahal on the site of the former Hollywood Park race track. Once the new stadium is built, the Chargers will be moving in as co-tenants.
Ah, but it’s always nicer to be the landlord than the renter. The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has talked with Kroenke about building a basketball arena as part of the same development that will include the football palace. That would mean leaving Staples Center when the Clips lease runs out in 2024.
Not only would the Clips have 50 or so dates to fill the calendar, but the proposed arena could be home to concerts, conventions and other money-making events.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that anything will come out of such a conversation, but who knows? Everything starts somewhere. Think of it. Inglewood with three major league sports teams. It could happen. Not bad for a city of 111,000 souls. Makes you think of the possibilities for some other cities we are familiar with …. Hint, hint …
ROAD TRIP FIRST, THEN …
If you are anxiously awaiting the start of the Angels’ 2017 season, you only have to wait a little over a month. The Halos will start the year on Monday, April 3, but in Oakland.
After finishing a four-game series up north against the Athletics, they will finally come home to Anaheim on Friday, April 7 to start a six-game home stand against the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers.
The OC Tribune will have its own special “Angels Season Preview” posted on Sunday, April 2. That’s another thing to look forward to as spring gets underway.
Pete Zarustica writes the Monday Morning Coach column.