Harvard-Westlake's Melissa Hearlihy earns 762nd career coaching victory, moves to No. 2 on state's all-time list

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Posted by Erik Boal on March 03, 2020 at 23:17:07:

Kiki Iriafen scored 20 points and Melissa Zozulenko added 18 points as No. 4 Harvard-Westlake defeated No. 13 North Torrance 66-54 in the opening round of the Southern California regional playoffs in the Division 1 state tournament Tuesday, with Wolverines coach Melissa Hearlihy earning her 762nd career victory, elevating to No. 2 in California girls basketball coaching history.

Hearlihy surpassed retired Buena coach Joe Vaughan, who went 761-112 during his career from 1976-2007.

Hearlihy improved to 762-275 in her career, including 24-8 this season. She coached at Alemany from 1986-2000, before taking over at Harvard-Westlake during the 2000-01 season.

She captured a fourth CIF-Southern Section championship at Harvard-Westlake and seventh of her career with a 55-42 victory Feb. 29 over Troy in the Division 1 final.

Only Mater Dei's Kevin Kiernan, who guided the Monarchs (30-2) to a CIF-Southern Section Open Division championship Feb. 28 with a 77-65 victory over Windward, has more coaching victories than Hearlihy in California girls basketball history.

Kiernan enters Wednesday's game against Long Beach Poly (25-6) in the regional playoffs of the state Open Division tournament with an 805-102 girls basketball coaching record during a career that also includes stints at Westminster La Quinta and Troy.

Long Beach Poly handed Mater Dei one of its two losses Dec. 7 with a 52-46 overtime victory in the final of the Troy Classic.

Harvard-Westlake, which split during the regular season with Mission League rival Marlborough (18-7), will have a chance to knock off the No. 12 Mustangs again Thursday when the Wolverines host the regional quarterfinals.

Marlborough prevailed 63-52 against No. 5 Troy (23-10) in its regional opener.

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