CCS Division I
The third-seeded Palo Alto boys basketball team upset No. 1 Piedmont Hills in a 42-33 battle of will in which no easy baskets were forthcoming, while No. 2 Sequoia claimed its first CCS girls basketball title with a 50-34 triumph over top-seeded Paly.
(Check back for updates.)
The name of the game in the Mountain View-Leland clash was defense.
No. 3 Mountain View prevailed 36-34 over top-seeded Leland in the Central Coast Section Division II boys championship game at Santa Clara High as neither team scored more than 14 points in a quarter. The score was tied at six at the end of the first quarter, and the two teams combined for 11 points in the fourth quarter.
“Defense has been our staple all year,” said Mountain View coach Kevin Mack, who mentioned his team’s defensive performance against Leland star Sohan Kshirsagar.
The senior, who entered the game with an average of 20.1 points per game, was limited to four Saturday night.
“He had to take tough shot after tough shot,” said Mack, who strategically slowed down the game. “We tried to get in the half-court set where they had to run their half-court offense. and we defend pretty well in the half court.”
Leland entered the fourth quarter with a 31-28 lead, but Mountain View went on an 8-2 run in the final period to take the lead for good. The Spartans scored their last points on two free throws by Jake Pappas with three minutes, 54 seconds remaining for a 36-33 lead. The only other scoring in the rest of the game was a free throw by Leland’s Trevor Baba with 12.1 seconds to play. Leland’s leading scorers were Preston Weber and Fuad Alemu, both with 10 points.
“I thought we did a great job defensively, but they did as well,” Leland coach Mitch Shapero said. “When you give up 36 points, you think you are going to win. Unfortunately, we just didn’t shoot it very well at all.”
Shapero pointed out that Leland limited Sam Tobin, which entered the game averaging near 20 points a game, to 10 points.
In a game where points were as precious as gold, Mountain View’s Will Dominguez was a major factor.
Not only did the 7-foot-1 senior score a game-high 12 points, but he also blocked four shots and altered many others in the close victory at Santa Clara High.
“Seven-footers don’t come around a whole lot and he just changes the game on both sides,” said Mack, who guided the Spartans to their first CCS title in 2017. “When you have a 7-footer, there are so many things you can do, on defense and offense.”
Lynbrook nearly pulls off upset
For the second straight game, the fourth-seeded Lynbrook girls team had a higher seed on the ropes. The Vikings, who knocked off No. 1 seed Wilcox 49-48 in a semifinal game Thursday, held a 48-44 lead over No. 2 Aragon with four minutes left in the fourth quarter of the CCS Division II girls championship game at Santa Clara.
But the Dons outscored Lynbrook 9-0 the rest of the period for a 53-48 victory.
“We got stagnant,” said Lynbrook coach Lynley Takaki about the end of the game. “They did a better job defending the pick-and-roll, and they extended out, which kind of bothered us a little bit.”
But Takaki was pleased with her team’s play Saturday.
“They played really hard. This is the hardest I’ve seen them play all season. You could tell they really wanted it,” she said.
Lynbrook had three double-figure scorers — Sara Ho (15 points), Lydian Li (12) and Kavitha Thirumaran (11).
Aragon’s Lydia Manu produced a game-high 28 points, including four free throws in the last 28 seconds to ice the win.
CCS Division V
The top-seeded Woodside Priory girls completed a 3-peat with a 60-37 triumph over No. 2 Notre Dame-Salinas, while on the boys side No. 1 Eastside Prep claimed its first CCS title in a decade with a 53-47 victory over No. 3 Nueva.
(Check back for updates.)
Down to the wire
Makayla Edwards hit a 3-pointer with 59 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give the Salesian High girls basketball team the lead for good, as the Pride came back from a seven-point second half deficit to pull out a 58-54 win over St. Joseph Notre Dame on Saturday in the NCS Division III championship game at Saint Mary’s College.
Salesian trailed 33-22 late in the second quarter and 34-27 near the start of the third, but settled into a rhythm later in the second half and began to wear down the Pilots. “I always feel we’re a better conditioned team and can go deeper than the team we’re going to face,” said Salesian coach Stephen Pezzola, who gave high marks to Anjel Galbraith. The senior guard finished with 13 points. “I thought that was the best she’s ever played in her life. Solid game, great shot selection. Ran our team.”
Salesian had beaten SJND 52-28 on Dec. 6 in Alameda, but had to play catch-up for most of the night thanks to outstanding games from Zhane Duckett (22 points) and Malia Mastora (18 points). “It just shows the kids’ work ethic in practice, paying attention and being coachable,” said Pilots coach Shawn Hipol of his team’s improvement. “Buying into how we have to do things.”
Moving on up
The three-peats by both the Salesian boys and girls basketball teams mean they’ll each be moving up to Division II for the 2020 NCS playoffs and beyond. Maybe it’s time. The Pride’s girls team — owners of a 17-game win streak in the NCS playoffs — has captured five straight section crowns dating back to when it won consecutive titles in Division IV in 2015 and 2016. “We play where they tell us to play,” Pezzola said. “Our schedule this year was a monster.” At the Nike TOC in December, Salesian played New Hope Academy (Md.) and St. John’s-Washington, D.C., teams ranked in the top 10 in the country. In other words, Salesian wasn’t fazed when they down by 11 in the first half Saturday.
Barring the unexpected, the Salesian boys team, at 31-0, should be Northern California’s No. 1 seed for the CIF Open Division playoffs. For the Pride’s girls team, it’s not as clear cut, but they do have a strong case to be seeded second in the Open Division behind Archbishop Mitty. Salesian (23-8) split two meetings this season with Carondelet, the NCS Division I champion, and has a 51-50 win over Bishop O’Dowd, the NCS Division II champ, and a 54-45 win over Pinewood, the CCS Open Division runner-up. St. Joseph Notre Dame should be a high seed in Division I.
The Oakland Tech boys basketball team won its second straight Oakland Section title with a 56-51 victory over McClymonds on Saturday at Laney College. The Bulldogs (22-9), who went 10-0 in Oakland Athletic League play, have won seven straight going into next week’s regionals. Last season, at 23-7, Oakland Tech received the No. 9 seed in Division III. The Bulldogs should be seeded somewhere along the same lines this year.
The Oakland High girls basketball team completed a perfect season against league opponents Saturday, edging rival Oakland Tech 45-43 in the section title game. The Wildcats (25-5) have now won 14 straight games, and owns a victory over Bishop O’Dowd from November. We’ll see if that earns them a bit more respect for the regional playoffs than it did last year. Oakland High went into the state playoffs with a 21-7 record, but received the No. 16 seed in Division III and lost in the first round to Enterprise-Chico.
CCS championship results
No. 8 Sacred Heart Cathedral 50, No. 3 Bellarmine 48
No. 3 Palo Alto 42, No. 1 Piedmont Hills 33
No. 3 Mountain View 36, No. 1 Leland 34
No. 1 Monterey 59, No. 2 Aptos 31
No. 1 Carmel 50, No. 3 Santa Cruz 35
No. 1 Eastside 53, No. 3 Nueva 47
No. 1 Archbishop Mitty 72, No. 2 Pinewood 51
No. 2 Sequoia 50, No. 1 Palo Alto 34
No. 2 Aragon 53, No. 4 Lynbrook 48
No. 1 Aptos 58, No. 2 South San Francisco 37
No. 2 Seaside 49, No. 1 Sacred Heart Prep 47
No. 1 Priory 60, No. 2 Notre Dame-Salinas 37
NCS championship results
No. 1 De La Salle 54, No. 3 James Logan 46
No. 2 Moreau Catholic 65, No. 1 Bishop O’Dowd 61
No. 1 Salesian 64, No. 2 Campolindo 53
No. 1 Branson 63, No. 2 Fortuna 43
No. 2 University 63, No. 1 Stuart Hall 46
No. 1 Cornerstone Christian 66, No. 2 Jewish Community 53
No. 1 Carondelet 80, No. 2 Heritage 70
No. 2 Bishop O’Dowd 64, No. 1 Miramonte 59
No. 1 Salesian 58, No. 3 St. Joseph Notre Dame 54
No. 1 St. Patrick-St. Vincent 66, No. 2 Del Norte 62
No. 1 St. Bernard’s 56, No. 2 Cloverdale 36
No. 2 California School for the Deaf 46, No. 1 Laytonville 40
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