Unbeaten Westchester ladies hoopsters relish being ‘bullies’

It’s a scrap inside Westchester’s legendary health club, our bodies careening throughout the hardwood for unfastened balls, whistles screeching at each collision of arms and torsos.

Only a couple minutes into the third quarter of the Westchester-Lengthy Seashore Poly ladies’ basketball recreation, senior guard Rylei Waugh is named for her third foul. Waugh is the fiery, beating coronary heart of an undefeated Westchester group, its senior captain and level guard.

However coach Dominic Grimes makes no transfer to tug her.

“They play better with more fouls!” yells a person sitting in Westchester’s part.

The Comets don’t let up whereas main 38-25 within the third quarter. They press. Junior Mariah Blake tracks down a fastbreak layup for a thundering block off the glass, and Westchester forces about 5 steals within the span of two minutes, pushing their result in 20 and the sport out of sight.

“One thing about me,” Waugh smirked postgame, “I’m [going to] play with four fouls.”

The entire group does. Your complete beginning lineup, Waugh and Blake remembered, performed with 4 fouls in a win earlier on this season over Crenshaw. They blitz, they lure, they hack. They ship the primary blow.

As Waugh put it merely: “Our team thrives better when we talk s—.”

In earlier seasons in Grimes’ six-year tenure, Westchester would crumble when confronted with strain, the coach mentioned. Final yr’s Metropolis Open Division finals loss to Birmingham left a gaping wound, the sting lasting a whole offseason. With the Comets’ core principally returning in full, they’ve caught “lightning in a bottle,” Grimes mentioned — fearing nobody.

“We used to break when the game got physical,” Grimes mentioned. “We would fold like a two-dollar bill. But now, we’re the bullies.”

Their document improved to 19-0 with a 64-44 win over Lengthy Seashore Poly. Heading into the ultimate stretch of the common season, Westchester is the undisputed prime canine in Metropolis Part ladies’ hoops.

However the Comets want to streak additional — by way of Metropolis playoffs, able to problem the perfect {that a} stronger Southern Part has to supply in CIF regionals.

“I’m beyond the City, to be honest, by now,” Grimes mentioned. “I’m not even thinking about it … and this is no disrespect to the other City teams.”

One other Metropolis standout

Yearly, Granada Hills ladies’ basketball coach Jared Hoenig mentioned, there’s one participant who buys utterly into this system’s core defensive philosophy: taking prices.

For the final two seasons, that’s been senior Krystal Pineda, who at the moment ranks third within the nation, per MaxPreps, with a mean of 1.5 prices drawn an evening. In a single recreation in opposition to Chaminade, Hoenig mentioned, Pineda drew six.

At 5-feet-8, she’s turn out to be the de facto publish presence for a 15-4 Granada Hills group that’s seeking to go deep within the Metropolis playoffs.

“She embodies what our program’s about,” Hoenig mentioned.

And many others.

Since Matt Tumambing took over as head coach in 2019-20, Ontario Christian has risen a degree from Division 4AA each season. Now in Division 1, they’ve streaked to a 19-2 document behind heliocentric Washington commit Chloe Briggs, record-breaking shooter Dejah Saldivar and strolling double-double Julia Lavigne.

“I think we can shock some people,” Tumambing mentioned.

Undefeated Sierra Canyon (19-0) and Etiwanda (18-0) are the undisputed prime tier within the Southland, however Ontario Christian leads a cohort of groups jockeying for a puncher’s likelihood within the Open Division.

Santa Ana Mater Dei (17-2) is quickly enhancing and runs a deadly full-court press. Newport Seashore Sage Hill hung with the Monarchs robust in a Saturday night time recreation earlier than an eventual 62-50 loss. Corona Santiago (14-7) is a darkish horse if Etiwanda switch Future Agubata finishes her restoration from an ACL tear come playoff time. L.A. Windward (13-5) is surging beneath first-year coach Jerica Williams.