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Come 7 p.m. Wednesday night, the Righetti girls basketball team will do what no Righetti girls basketball squad has ever done before.

The Warriors will play a game in the CIF State Basketball Tournament.

The ninth-ranked Warriors will play at No. 8 Thousand Oaks in the first round of the Southern California Division III Regional. The winner will likely play at No. 1 Fullerton Rosary Academy at 6 p.m. Saturday. Rosary will host No. 16 Venice at 7 p.m. Wednesday evening in the first round.

"We think we match up fairly well," with Thousand Oaks, Righetti alum and second-year coach Desiree Domingues said in a phone interview Tuesday night.

"They have one girl who averages 10.6 points a game (5-foot-9 sophomore guard Lizzy Benton), one who averages 8.5 (5-7 senior guard Ranika Guyton) and the rest of the girls don't seem to score much."

Thousand Oaks comes into the game 18-14. The Lancers won the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA championship.

Righetti, with the winningest girls basketball record in school history, is 24-4. The Warriors went out in the sectional semifinals for the second straight year, this time with a 50-40 loss to Los Angeles Marlborough.

The Miustangs are seeded third in the regional.. The Warriors were ranked No. 1 in the Southern Section's Division 2A, but the Warriors lost star 6-1 senior Danita Estorga for the second half of the season with a leg injury.

Zane Sheckherd, a 5-10 junior, has helped pick up the slack with steady inside and outside scoring. She has consistently scored in double figures since Estorga got hurt. Sheckherd leads Righetti in scoring at 12.2 points a game.

Ashley Reynoso, from inside, scored 21 points in one RIghetti playoff game and 22 in another. Alijah Paquet has given the Warriors some solid outside shooting, and Dasia Ramirez has given Righetti some key baskets.

Domingues said whoever has the tempo advantage should have the advantage, period.

"They like to play a halfcourt game, and they don't fastbreak much," said Domingues. "They don't press at all on defense.

"We're going to try to get them out of their comfort zone, play a more up-tempo game, turn it into a fullcourt game some."

For the Warriors to do that, it figures that senior point guard Maya Armenta will need to break down the Lancers' defense.

"We've seen film on them for three games, and they've never played a zone," said Domingues. "They've played man-to-man all the time, even on in-bounds passes.

"They don't have a real post player. They don't seem to be that big, compared to what their roster says."

Marlborough packed in its zone defense in the 2A semis and the Warriors were stuck taking mainly outside shots, most of which didn't fall.

"We're hoping to get the ball inside, and be able to deal with however their defense plays us," said Domingues.

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Sports Reporter