Watching coach Adam Levine lift the plaque following Palisades’ regional finals victory brought back memories for Kevin Hall—the only other coach in the program’s history to lead his team to the regional championship.
Hall guided the Dolphins to their first City title and then to the SoCal Regional Division I crown in 1999, only his team didn’t get to celebrate on its home floor.
“We played Peninsula in Cox Arena at San Diego State and they had beaten us earlier that season,” recalled Hall, who lives in Inglewood and teaches at Wilson High. “That was revenge at its finest. In fact, it was a monkey off the back as my first or second year we were sent to Palos Verdes to play them and they beat us. They always had good teams. So I like to say we put the ground floor there at Palisades and everyone else has built on it.”
Seven days after its 53-41 win against Peninsula, Palisades faced San Jose Archbishop Mitty in the state finals and lost 49-48 when a shot by guard Itricia Ewells rolled around the rim before falling off as time expired. That Dolphins team was paced by point guard Leilani Estavan (who would go on to play at Oregon State), forward Nicole Funn (Oregon State, then Pepperdine) and guard April Freeney. Hall left the next year but came back to coach the Dolphins through the 2003-04 season.
Asked how his 1999 Pali High team would match up against this year’s squad, Hall simply said: “I really like our chances.”
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