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Haley Van Dyke leads Campolindo girls into state final

Van Dyke was dropped off for practice with the Lafayette Lightning AAU eighth-grade team, a team started by Thoms six years earlier. Within five minutes, Thoms — son of the former Raiders defensive tackle — assured mom her daughter would be juuuust fine. A former swimmer, volleyball and soccer player, Van Dyke was a quick and humble study. The 6-footer has emerged as one of the top juniors in California, leading the Cougars (27-6) to their first state championship game in 20 years. Van Dyke averages 23.9 points, 15.4 rebounds, 4.9 steals, 3.5 blocks and 3.6 assists per games and is coming off a NorCal title game-record 46-point performance in a 78-56 win over St. Mary’s-Berkeley on Saturday. Van Dyke’s rapid rise in basketball circles — Oregon and Washington are showing interest — has caught her off guard. “I definitely wasn’t thinking about college basketball when I started in the eighth grade,” she said. Ashley Thoms (the coach’s daughter and the team’s second-leading scorer at 15 per game), O’Reilly and Van Dyke made the varsity team as freshmen and took some lumps in a 14-14 season. When Campolindo broke Miramonte’s 67-game league winning streak in a 49-44 victory on Feb. 3 — “We’ll call it a very sweet win and leave it at that,” Thoms said — the Cougars knew their season-long goal to make the state finals was legitimate. Scott Lunger, one of coach Thoms’ best friends and his former partner in the Hayward Police Department, was shot and killed on duty in July 2015. MaxPreps senior writer Mitch Stephens covers high school sports for The Chronicle.

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