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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Prep Notes: New Mexico best fits Woodinville's Best

Seattle Times staff reporter

Amanda Best knew a good situation when she saw it.

So the Woodinville junior didn't wait long to make an oral commitment to play basketball at the University of New Mexico.

"We had gone down there Jan. 1 and I really liked it," Best said. "I knew it was where I wanted to go. I called them Saturday to see if they wanted to offer me a scholarship and they did, so I just decided to verbal right there."

Best, who moved to Woodinville this school year after helping Snohomish reach the Class 4A state tournament as a freshman and sophomore, said she also had taken unofficial visits to Arizona and Oregon. But New Mexico felt like the perfect fit.

"I love the coaches and they average 10,000 fans, which is pretty amazing," Best said. "I want to make sure I fit into the right system, and I felt I probably would there."

The 5-foot-11 guard leads the ninth-ranked Falcons at 17 points per game and averages six rebounds, three assists and two steals. She is shooting 37 percent from three-point range (30 of 81).

Best said she to take care of her college decision early.

"I've played select ball for four years and I've seen a lot of friends get so stressed out," she said. "I decided I would rather get it out of the way now. That's really where I want to go, so I figured I might as well do it (commit) now."

Garfield girls look to regroup

The sixth-ranked Garfield girls basketball team is coming off back-to-back losses, but coach Joyce Walker is not concerned.

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The Bulldogs (8-3) lost 63-50 Saturday to unbeaten Chief Sealth, rated No. 16 in the nation by Sports Illustrated, in the King Classic at KeyArena. Then came a 64-36 schooling from Southridge of Beaverton, Ore., Monday in another Martin Luther King event at the Rose Garden in Portland. Southridge is rated No. 11 in the nation by USA Today.

"That's a tough team," Walker said. "They just whipped us, let's just call it what it is."

Garfield plays host to Eastlake tonight.

Brace headed to Colorado

Defensive end Jason Brace of Spanaway Lake has made a verbal commitment to play football for the University of Colorado.

The 6-4, 250-pound Brace, an All-South Puget Sound League South Division first-team player, also had a scholarship offer from UCLA and Boise State, among other schools.

Football coaches inducted

Skyline coach Steve Gervais, who recently won his fifth state championship, and Bill Heglar of Decatur were inducted last weekend into Washington State Football Coaches Hall of Fame. Other inductees were retired coaches John Giannandrea of Medical Lake, near Spokane, and Bob Nielson of Royal High School in Royal City.

Heglar has been a head coach in classifications from B-8 through 4A. His most recent stops before going to Decatur were at Bellevue and then Seattle Prep. Gervais won three of his state titles at Eatonville.

Scott Spruill of the Yakima Herald-Republic won the Silver Helmet Award, given to a media member. Bill Alexander, football coach and athletic director at Quincy High School, won the Gold Helmet Award.

Notes

Kylie Marshall of Emerald Ridge has been named Gatorade state player of the year in volleyball. Marshall, a 5-11 senior outside hitter for the Puyallup school, has a volleyball scholarship to Tennessee.

• Bellevue will honor its unbeaten, 1975 state-championship girls basketball team tonight at the school with festivities before and after the KingCo 3A game between Bellevue and Sammamish. Gisele Zahradnitzki, who coached the 1974-75 team, is expected to be on hand with several former players. They are expected to meet with this year's players and coaches in the locker room at 6:45 p.m., followed by a reception at 7 in the high-school lobby. After the 7:30 game, parents and fans are invited to a sit-down pizza dinner in the Bellevue gym.

Times staff reporter Craig Smith contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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