Not to be ignored just because I was busy this weekend:
DIVISION III GIRLS
ST. MARY’S (Stockton) def. INGLEWOOD 71-62
Afure Jemerigbe scored 21 points as St. Mary’s of Stockton won its fifth state title by beating Inglewood, 71-62, in the girls’ Division III state championship game.
Alle Moreno added 21 for St. Mary’s (31-3) and Chelsea Gray had 14. The Rams used their trapping, pressure defense to force 36 Inglewood turnovers, which offset a 54-36 deficit on the boards.
Tayler Champion led Inglewood with 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Hazel Ramirez scored 13. The Sentinels’ official record for the season is 19-17 due to a series of early forfeits, but on the floor, they were 31-5.
After some early sputtering, St. Mary‘s broke a 13-13 tie and went on a 37-12 run en route to a 50-25 lead. After that, however, Inglewood battled back, and outscored the Rams 29-12 to get within 12. Unfortunately for Sentinels’ fans, there were only 53 seconds left at that point, and St. Mary’s was simply too far ahead.
Sportsmanship Award: Tayler Champion, Inglewood; Ali Gibson, St. Mary’s
DIVISION I GIRLS
POLY (Long Beach) def. MONTE VISTA (Danville) 57-33
Long Beach Poly used its depth and balance to win its fourth straight girls’ Division I state title, and tie a Calfornia record for most consecutive championships. The victim this time was Monte Vista of Danville, which fell 57-33.
The Jackrabbits (32-3) got 12 points from Ta’Nitra Byrd and 10 more from 6-3 Monique Oliver, but nine different players scored for Poly, and 11 had rebounds.
The Mustangs (29-3) jumped out to 6-1 and 10-7 leads, and Poly didn’t lead at all until 6:22 remained in the second quarter. The Jackrabbits carried only a two-point advantage into the locker room.
Niveen Rasheed topped Monte Vista with 16 points, but unlike Poly, there wasn’t much help. Only one other player made more than one basket, and thus the Jackrabbits were able to focus on Rasheed.
Monte Vista stayed close through the first two minutes of the third quarter by outrebounding Poly, and also refusing to buckle under the Jackrabbits’ defensive pressure. The Mustangs hung back in a zone and dared Poly to make outside shots — and the Jackrabbit starters responded by going one for 13 from the field in the first half.
But Poly broke the game open early in the third quarter, going on a 15-3 run to turn a 21-20 lead into a 36-23 advantage. Oliver made some unlikely contributions to that outburst, hitting a three and handing out two assists, but coach Carl Buggs had called a timeout during the run to make sure that Poly’s posts got plenty of touches, and the move paid off. Byrd hit three free throws during that span, and Monte Vista never threatened thereafter.
Sportsmanship Award: Jazzmine Shirley, Long Beach Poly; Alexandra Whalen, Monte Vista
DIVISION IV GIRLS
MATER DEI CATHOLIC (Chula Vista) def. MODESTO CHRISTIAN 54-51
Ebone Henry capped a 10-point Mater Dei of Chula Vista comeback in the final 3:36 of the fourth quarter with a series of big shots as the Crusaders edged Modesto Christian, 54-51, in the girls’ Division IV state championship game.
With Mater Dei (30-3) down by three with 1:13 remaining, Henry (11pts, 11 rebs) completed an old-fashioned three-point play with a free throw that tied the game, and then hit two free throws with 27 seconds left to give the Southern Californians the lead for good.
Mater Dei’s Jhazmine Lynch led all scorers with 18 points, and Soulijah Evans added 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Chula Vista school won its first state title.
Brandi Henton had 14 points and nine rebounds for Modesto Christian (27-8). Taryn Garza finished with 13 points and Danielle Thompson had 10 for the Central Valley school.
Modesto Christian controlled the game early, taking an 11-10 lead in the first quarter and jumping out to a 12-point halftime margin. Mater Dei made several runs at the lead in the third period, but Modesto Christian had an answer — until the steady Mater Dei pressure finally wore down the Northern California representative.
After Lauren Lucchesi gave Modesto Christian a 49-39 lead, Henry started the comeback with a pair of free throws. Lynch then scored six points in just over a minute to cut the margin to one, but Lucchesi calmly made two more free throws to stretch the lead to 51-48 with 1:36 left.
Sportsmanship Award: Kamela Jackson, Mater Dei Catholic; Taryn Garza, Modesto Christian
DIVISION II GIRLS
BREA OLINDA (Brea) def. CARONDELET (Concord) 68-45
Brea Olinda now stands alone. The Ladycats won their ninth California title, defeating Carondelet of Concord, 68-45, in the girls’ Division II title game. That trophy moves Brea past the Crenshaw boys, who have eight state trophies.
Junior guard Kelsey Harris led the way for the Ladycats, scoring 25 points as Brea (33-2) won its 27th straight game (including a 44-38 victory over previously number one in the nation Mater Dei of Santa Ana). The Ladycats came into the game ranked third in the U.S., and did nothing to detract from that lofty status. After Carondelet took a 4-3 lead with 6:48 to go in the first quarter, it was all Brea thereafter. It was 37-18 at the half, and the Cougars never got closer than 15 points in the final two periods.
Sophomore Erica Payne led Carondelet (29-4) with 18 points and eight reobunds, but the Cougars’ offense was stymied by the harassing Brea defense, and Carondelet managed to shoot just 29 percent from the field while turning the ball over 25 times.
Brea-Olinda has been a California power since the 1980s. The Ladycats won four straight championships from 1991 to 1994, and three straight from 1998 through 2000. They have lost twice in the title game, in 1990 and 2007. Carondelet took the championship in 2004, but lost in 2006.
Sportsmanship Award: Kelsey Harris, Brea Olinda; Alyssa Flores, Carondelet
DIVISION V GIRLS
BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON (Burbank) def. PINEWOOD (Los Altos Hills) 55-47
Shelley Gupilan scored 22 points as Bellarmine-Jefferson of Burbank completed a 34-1 season with an 54-47 win over Pinewood of Los Altos Hills in the Division V girls’ state championship.
Gupilan’s cousin Margeaux added 13 points, including back-to-back three-pointers at the end of the first that extended Bell-Jeff’s lead to 31-20 at the break. Though Pinewood rallied in the fourth quarter, the final margin was the closest the Panthers could get.
Lindsay Nickel scored 16 points for Pinewood (31-5) and Hailie Eackles had
15 to go along with 10 rebounds. The Panthers had won three previous state championships, in 1999, 2005 and 2006, but could never get comfortable against Bell-Jeff’s full-court pressure. Pinewood turned the ball over 22 times and shot just 28 percent — and made only six of 28 three-pointers.
The Guards’ only loss was to Montclair Prep on Dec. 30, by a 63-62 score, and they finished the season on a 20-game winning streak.
Sportsmanship Award: Elizabeth Hawthorne, Bellarmine-Jefferson; Lindsay Nickel, Pinewood