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Oak Park girls basketball routs St. Monica Prep to win first CIF crown since 2001

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MANHATTAN BEACH — The last time the Oak Park girls basketball team won a CIF Southern Section title, Delaney White and Lindsay Gould were not yet born.

It’s been over two decades since the Eagles won the only championship in program history in 2001.

Fast forward to the CIF-SS Division 5A final Saturday at Mira Costa High, and it was White and Gould who helped lead Oak Park to its second CIF-SS crown with a 76-41 win over St. Monica Prep.

Oak Park’s varsity girls basketball team poses for a photograph after defeating St. Monica Prep in the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championships in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, February 25, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

From left, Oak Park’s Delaney White embraces her father Larry White after defeating St. Monica Prep in the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championships in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, February 25, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

Oak Park’s varsity girls basketball team is emotional after defeating St. Monica Prep in the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championships in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, February 25, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

Oak Park’s Lindsay Gould scores three against St. Monica Prep during the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championships in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, February 25, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

Oak Park’s Jaelah Brown tries to score during the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championships against St. Monica Prep in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, February 25, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

Oak Park’s Delaney White dribbles past St. Monica Prep’s defense during the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championships in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, February 25, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

Oak Park’s Lindsay Gould scores two against St. Monica Prep during the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championships in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, February 25, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

From right, Oak Park’s Lindsay Gould is fouled by St. Monica Prep’s Sydney Ghobrial during the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championships in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, February 25, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

Oak Park’s Delaney White pushes past St. Monica Prep’s defense and scores two during the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championships in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, February 25, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

Oak Park’s Delaney White passes the ball during the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championships against St. Monica Prep in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, February 25, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

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Coming off a 1-20 season last year, including an 0-8 record in league play, the Eagles were in need of a reset.

Enter first-year head coach Will Burr, freshman sensation White, and veteran leader Gould, a transfer from Westlake who was part of the Warriors team that won the CIF Division 2A Southern California Regional final in 2021.

“Going into the season we all sat down as a team and talked about what our goals were. We had so many new people and we had to go in with that mindset that we’re not that team from last year,” Gould said.

The Eagles proved all year they were a vastly improved team, going undefeated in the Coastal Canyon League and knocking off rival Camarillo, who had won the league 11 years in a row.

Oak Park carried that momentum into its postseason run, defeating every team in its path by an average of 40 points.

In the championship game, it was no different, as the Eagles got off to a hot start by taking advantage of St. Monica Prep’s turnovers in the first quarter to build a comfortable lead.

The Mariners found themselves in early foul trouble, which made it more difficult for them to stay in front of White, who used her quickness and sharp dribbling skills to find easy paths to the basket.

3-pointer is good by Ella Shmool on Oak Park’s first possession of the second half @Tarek_Fattal pic.twitter.com/9kt3m0wTvc

— Dan Lovi (@LoviSports) February 25, 2023

White continued to pile on the points in the first quarter, driving the lane and converting in the paint. When the defense closed in, she found Gould and Ella Shmool behind the arc for wide-open 3-pointers.

The Eagles didn’t relinquish their double-digit advantage for the rest of the game.

Gould led the team in scoring with 27 points, making six 3-pointers at a 50 percent clip. White nearly logged a triple-double, finishing with 26 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. She added five steals and two blocks to complete the stacked stat line.

White shakes a defender and makes another bucket, foot was on the line @Tarek_Fattal pic.twitter.com/hh31UT0yE9

— Dan Lovi (@LoviSports) February 25, 2023

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