B Varsity

Tuesday, Mar 12 2013 10:52 PM

Ridgeview rolls into Southern Cal girls hoops final

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Ridgeview High's girls basketball coach Michael Martin gets a little wet as his players celebrate their D II Southern California semifinal win over J.W. North of Riverside earning a trip to the finals.

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BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer zewing@bakersfield.com

Ridgeview's terrific girls basketball team is having a season to remember, the latest evidence being a 92-73 rout of Riverside-John W. North at home Tuesday night in the CIF Division II Southern California semifinals. That's a really good team that the Wolf Pack beat up — scoring a season-high 92 points in the process.

McDonald's All-American Erica McCall had 32 points and 15 rebounds despite foul trouble. Candace Wilkerson, a junior who transferred last year from Garces, scored 23 points and made 7 assists, and Alex Green (15 points) and Mikaela Gonzalez (11) also got into double-figure scoring.

Next for Ridgeview is a 10 a.m. date Saturday with Lynwood, a team the Wolf Pack beat 43-41 way back on Dec. 1. The Knights rolled into the final with a 67-39 victory over Carlsbad-La Costa Canyon and has won multiple state championships. The Wolf Pack will have its hands full — that game will be at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, with the winner going to the state final March 23 in Sacramento.

But even if Ridgeview doesn't go any farther, the Wolf Pack is having historical success for Kern County. This is the first local girls team to reach a Southern Cal final since Rosamond in 1990 and just the fifth ever (McFarland in 1983, Maricopa in 1984, Wasco in 1989). Only three girls teams have ever reached the state finals (89 Wasco and 90 Rosamond) and neither won. All of those were in Division III or lower, so Ridgeview has really broken through here.

Kern County history isn't a whole lot more storied on the boys side: Foothill won the 1988 D-II state title, and East High won state in D-II in 1994. Since then, only four teams have reached the SoCal finals, and all four lost: Foothill (D-II in 2000) and Garces three times (D-IV in 2001, 2002 and 2003).

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