Etiwanda girls basketball coach Anders Anderson admits he has been lucky in his coaching career that he hasn’t had to deal with many significant injuries at crucial times. But the Eagles are a bit hobbled at the moment.
One game after a convincing upset of Mater Dei, the Eagles were handled in an Open Division quarterfinal by Chaminade 82-54. Three players departed that game early, most notably senior point guard Dominique McLaughlin who severely sprained an ankle on the first play of the game under the Etiwanda basket.
McLaughlin, the team’s leading scorer and floor captain, tried to come back twice but was eventually carried off the floor after the game.
She did not play on Saturday in a 54-43 loss to Serra in a consolation quarterfinal and is likely done for the season, according to Anderson.
Senior Alize Williams aggravated an existing knee injury against Chaminade and tried to play against Serra but had to come out of the game early too.
The injuries had a definite effect as the Eagles lost to a team they defeated during the regular season, although that one was close, 51-46.
The Eagles will have a much needed week off before resuming play in the state portion of the playoffs. Anderson knows both players are going to want to play and it will be a judgment call on his part.
“They’re seniors and the last thing they want to is to have their career end sitting on the bench,” he said. “They’re also bot pretty tough and they’re going to tell me they can play but we’ll see.”
Etiwanda never trailed in the game, or was even tied, although Millikan twice whittled down the deficit to a single possession (32-31 in the second quarter, 53-51 in the fourth), but could never get over the hump.
Etiwanda junior Dominique McLaughlin, speaking above, is the sister of Jordan McLaughlin. Normally, you’d think the McLaughlin family would be distracted Wednesday with Jordan’s USC team playing UCLA. But Jordan was out with an injury, allowing the family to presumably concentrate on Dominique.
The CIF will announce the Open Division bids for basketball at 3 p.m. on Friday. There probably won’t be any drama when it comes to what local teams are selected.
The Baseline League teams all play their last game today but those won’t change anything.
Damien (22-3, 8-1) is a shoe-in. The Spartans finished first in the difficult Baseline League and took three of four head-to-head meetings with premier teams in Etiwanda and Chino Hills. That’s reason enough to include them. But they also have some quality wins out of league to bolster their resume.
Etiwanda (19-7, 7-2) finished second to Damien. The Eagles also beat both Chino Hills and Damien the second time through league play after losing the first time to both. Like Damien, Coach Dave Kleckner’s team has played a top-notch schedule.
And heck, they’re Etiwanda. History alone would indicate they’re deserving.
Chino Hills (9-15) will likely end up third in the league. Yes there was a matter of those nine forfeits. But the Huskies had a great run in the Open Division last year, advancing to the final before losing to Mater Dei. They have played national caliber schedule. And they have a marquee attraction in Team Ball. They’re going to be in, even if they end up fourth.
On the girls side the lone team that should get in and will is Etiwanda (15-6, 9-0). The Eagles are a perennial title contender on the girls side too. Even though Coach Anders Anderson graduated nine players, he’s still loaded. And he has probably played the most difficult schedule of any team anywhere.
Despite graduating so many players the Eagles still won every league game by 20 points or more. Yes they have a game left but it will be a win. They’re in too.
Etiwanda High School basketball standout McKynzie Fort signed with the University of Oregon during the early signing period last fall. But the talented guard was granted a release from that school and is now headed to San Diego State.
Fort, the Inland Valley Player of the Year, said the decision came down to family. She has had several deaths in the family in the last two years and hasn’t had the time to come to terms with so many losses and thought a school closer to home was in her best interest.
She said the decision had nothing to do with the coaching staff or players at Oregon.
“After really thinking about it, I didn’t think that was the best fit for me,” Fort said. “I talked about it a lot with my family and this was the best decision.”
Fort said she had been to San Diego State on an unofficial visit before she signed with Oregon but it had a previous coach and staff in place. She talked to a handful of schools after getting her release and Etiwanda coach Anders Anderson dealt with a handful of others.
Fort was also the Most Valuable Player of the Baseline League. She shot 54 percent from the field and averaged a team-high 15.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2,.3 steals despite playing a gauntlet of tough nonleague and postseason foes.