SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Jabari Bird
does many startling things on the basketball court, but this one even surprised him.
The Salesian (Richmond)
High School 6-foot-6 forward burst into tears in the final minute of his team's 70-56 Division IV state championship win over Price (Los Angeles)
Friday afternoon at Power Balance Pavilion.
This one was that good for Bird and his teammates, who came into the game No. 24 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 nationally rankings.
nation's No. 16-ranked junior
made 10 of 16 shots and scored a game-high 24 points as the Pride (34-2) ended the season on a 27-game win streak which helped erase a painful loss in last year's state finals.
Bird and his teammates were on a season-long mission to turn that result around and after trailing by nine in the first quarter against a long and athletic Price squad, they accomplished their feat and afterward they let out all that joy.
"Last year it was tears of sadness," Bird said. "This year we won and it was tears of joy. I wasn't expecting it. It just happened."
What happened to turn the tables Friday was rebounding.
Price (26-9), which got 17 points by Khalil Johnson
, 15 from Trey Dickerson
and 14 by San Diego State-bound Skylar Spencer
, were destroying Salesian with 11 first-quarter offensive rebounds.
"Everything we planned was based on us being able to rebound," Salesian coach Bill Mellis said. "If we couldn't get the ball and out on the break, we were done."
Mellis inserted 6-7, 300-pound senior
to control the middle and the Cal-bound football star obliged. Price got just five more offensive boards the rest of the game and held only a 37-33 edge overall by the end of the game.
Meanwhile, the Pride sped up the game, got out in transition and used its superior bench to make 52 percent of its shots (25 of 48), while Price made just 38 percent. Jermaine Edmonds
had 10 points for the winners, Mario Dunn
and Markel Leonard
eight appiece and Jeffrey Parker
and Tagaloa with six apiece. That's exactly how they've distributed it all season.
"The main thing about our team is our depth," Bird said. "Everyone stepped up."
For Tagaloa it was a particularly satisfying. In his last competitive basketball game, the fourth-year letterman ended the way he began: With a championship. Tagaloa had a game-high nine rebounds in 21 minutes.
"This was the cherry on the cake," Tagaloa said.
Mellis was feeling very cherry at halftime to be leading 31-30. He thought the Pride was playing at a "C-minus" level.
"Even if we were down four or five I would have felt pretty good," Mellis said. "We just had to make some adjustments and get out in transition."
A 3-pointer by Leonard and three consecutive fastbreak hoops, capped with a dunk from Bird put Salesian up 40-32 and that's all the separation it would need.
"We were in a good rhythm early but that's a good team and their athleticism took over," said Price coach Michael Lynch, whose team had won six previous titles. "I'm proud of our effort and our season."
Said Skylar, an athletic 6-8 post: "Everything about this season was great about this season. Except today." Salesian 70, Price 56PRICE (26-9)
Spencer Skylar 6-12 2-6 14, Jaquan Green 4-9 0-2 8, Chance Murray 0-5 0-0 0, Trey Dickerson 4-9 6-14 15, Khalil Johnson 5-13 6-10 17, Aaron Roseboro 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 20-52 14-32 56. SALESIAN (34-2)
Mario Dunn 3-6 1-3 8, Markel Leonard 2-7 3-5 8, Davion Mize 1-5 1-2 4, Jabari Bird 10-16 3-7 24, Jeffrey Parker 2-5 0-2 6, Jawian Harrison 2-4 0-0 4, Jermaine Edmonds 2-3 6-9 10, Freddie Tagaloa 3-3 0-0 6. Totals 25-48 14-28 70.
Price 16 14 13 13 - 56
Salesian 10 21 17 22 - 703-point goals:
Price 2-10 (Dickerson, Johnson), Salesian 6-14 (Parker 2, Dunn, Leonard, Mize, Bird 1). Rebounds:
Price 37 (Skylar 9), Salesian 33 (Tagaloa 9). Turnovers: Price 19, Salesian 14.
Division II boys: Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 78, La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 57
The prep legend of Aaron Gordon
continued to grow with 33 points and 20 rebounds leading the Monarchs (31-3) to their 20th straight win and second straight state title with perhaps their best performance of the year.
Yes, Gordon was spectacular while hitting 14 of 23 shots including both 3-point attempts. He also had four emphatic dunks that gave his team energy and he played superb defense on San Diego State-bound
, who managed just 13 points on 11 shots.
Gordon's 20 rebounds was just one short of the state record set by several players including Gordon himself in last year's title game. He's the No. 5 junior in the country
, according to MaxPreps.
“Sometimes we expect (Gordon) game to be Superman out there,” Mitty coach Tim Kennedy said. “Tonight he was awfully good but so was the supporting cast. We had other guys making plays and open shots and they’ve been doing that all year.”
The Monarchs shot 50 percent (33 of 66), held a 40-25 edge in rebounds and turned the ball over eight times while snapping La Costa Canyon’s 19-game win streak. Neil Vranicar
had 14 points, and Jack Biebel
and Thomas Peters
added nine apiece for the Monarchs, who collected 18 offensive rebounds, nine by Gordon. La Costa Canyon, which got 22 points from David Travers
, had four offensive rebounds.
Mitty put it away with a 24-13 run in the fourth quarter to make a very good La Costa Canyon team look almost average.
La Costa Canyon, in fact, didn't play poorly, making almost 50 percent of its shots and committing just 12 turnovers.
Travers was absolutely unstoppable at one point, scoring 18 of his team's first 21 points. Kennedy considered putting Gordon on the 6-foot guard, who made a variety of contested shots.
But Travers eventually cooled and Gordon and the Monarchs didn't en route to the very impressive and surprisingly lopsided victory.
“We’ve carried the target on our back throughout the whole season and to play like this and to say we’re the best Division II in the state feels great,” Gordon said. “As a whole, I’d say we played our best game of the year. I’m proud of all our seniors.”
Said Kennedy: “No, I wasn’t expecting to beat that team by (21) points. We just picked a very good night to play a very good game.”
Mitty 78, La Costa Canyon 57LA COSTA CANYON (35-3)
Jeff Van Dyke 0-4 0-0 0, David Travers 9-22 4-5 22, Zach Beery 3-4 0-0 8, Matt Shrigley 5-11 1-2 13, Eric Magnusom 2-2 0-1 4, Brandon Miller 2-3 0-0 4, Kyle Sachrison 3-3 2-2 8. Totals 24-49 7-10 57. MITTY (31-3)
Jack Biebel 4-7 1-1 9, Neil Vranicar 6-15 0-0 14, Jordan White 2-5 1-2 6, Thomas Peters 4-11 0-0 9, Aaron Gordon 14-23 3-9 33, Connor Peterson 3-4 0-0 7. Totals 33-67 5-12 78.
La Costa Canyon 12 13 19 13 - 57
Mitty 15 20 19 24 - 783-point goals:
La Costa Canyon 2-14 (Shrigley 2), Mitty 7-23 (Vranicar 2, Gordon 2, White, Peterson, Peters). Rebounds:
La Costa Canyon 25 (Sachrison 6), Mitty 40 (Gordon 20). Turnovers:
La Costa Canyon 12, Mitty 8. Division IV girls: La Jolla Country Day 72, Salesian 41
On the first possession of the game, La Jolla Country Day’s Kelsey Plum
pulled up and buried a long three with a hand in her face.
And things never got any better for Salesian.
The final margin was 31 points, but the issue was pretty much decided in the first few minutes of action. The Torreys jumped out to a 9-0 lead, extended the margin to 18-3 at the end of the first quarter and it was 33-10 at the half.
"We have a philosophy to punch teams in the mouth early,” said Plum, “and that's just what we did.”
Plum finished with 32 points, tying Torrey alumna Candice Wiggins’ Division IV record for three-pointers along the way. "I am the player I am because of Candice Wiggins,” she said. “She paved the way for me and all the players (at La Jolla Country Day).”
But it wasn’t just the Kelsey Plum show. Maya Hood
had 19 points and 13 rebounds and her twin sister Malina Hood
La Jolla Country Day (32-1) came into the game No. 9 in the Xcellent 25, and quickly justified that ranking, knocking down three 3-pointers in the first two minutes.
"Those 3-pointers early really set the tone,” said La Jolla Country Day coach Terri Bamford, who has now won three state titles at La Jolla Country Day.
Though Salesian came into the game with a 31-4 record, the Pride hadn’t faced the caliber of competition the Torreys had, as Bamford had taken her high school team out on the AAU circuit last summer, prepping the young team (just two seniors) for what turned out to be a superb season. La Jolla Country Day lost just once, to Southern California Division I power Long Beach Poly by two points, but also beat the Jackrabbits by 12 earlier in the year.
, Salesian’s star sophomore, was pretty much the whole show for the Pride, finishing with 19 points on seven of 16 shooting, but the Pride return the bulk of their roster next year – including freshman MaAne' Mosley
, who had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Unfortunately for Salesian, though the Torreys will lose the Hood twins to graduation, they will otherwise return intact.
- Clay KallamLa Jolla Country Day 72, Salesian 41LA JOLLA COUNTRY DAY (32-1)
Kelsey Plum 10-24 7-8 32, Malina Hood 3-5 4-8 10, Brianne Yasukochi 1-4 0-0 3, Maya Hood 8-15 3-4 19, tia Kanoa 2-6 0-0 5, Katie Lamkin 0-0 2-2 2, Cydney Collins 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 25-55 17-22 72. SALESIAN (31-5)
Kian McNair 1-5 1-2 3, Mariya Moore 7-16 4-7 19, Alana Horton 1-3 0-0 2, MaAne' Mosley 3-11 4-4 10, Maya Williams 1-1 0-0 2, Zoe Correal 1-3 0-0 2, Jahna Maramba 0-2 2-2 2, Sumiko Eryes 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 14-46 12-17 41.
La Jolla Country Day 18 15 16 23 - 72
Salesian 3 7 14 17 - 413-point goals:
LJCD 7-16 (Plum 5, Yasukochi, Kanoa), Salesian 1-7 (Moore). Rebounds:
La Jolla Country Day 36 (Maya Hood 13), Salesian 34 (Mosley 12). Turnovers:
La Jolla Country Day 15, Salesian 29. Division II girls: Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 56, JW North 54
Despite an 0-for-5 shooting performance from the three-point line in the first half, Emily Dinger
got the green light from Archbishop Mitty coach Sue Phillips to keep shooting in the second half.
The strategy paid off handsomely for the Monarchs, who defeated J.W. North (Riverside), with 12 points coming from Dinger in the second half including three crucial three-pointers.
“She has a shooter’s mentality,” said Phillips. “Even when they aren’t going in you have to keep shooting and she did and it paid off for us.”
Dinger finished with 16 points to tie for high-game honors with teammate Kalyn Simon
. The victory ups Archbishop Mitty’s season record to 28-5 and gives the Monarchs five state championships.
While Mitty held the lead throughout most of the game, the contest was very much in doubt up until the final minutes. Dinger opened the second half with a three-pointer to give the Monarchs their biggest lead of the game at 25-19, but JW North fought back and gained the lead 29-28 on back-to-back three-pointers by Akilah Martin.
The lead changed hands several times at the end of the quarter until Simon hit a three-pointer to put the Monarchs up 36-34 just before the buzzer.
Mitty tried to pull away to start the third period, but the Huskies proved to be tough to shake.
“JW North lived up to all its billing,” said Phillips. “They were resilient and tough to the finish. I feel very fortunate we came out on top.”
The Huskies (30-6) cut the lead to four points, 44-40, on a 15-footer by Brittany Crain, but that’s when Dinger came through.
Spotting up in the corner, Dinger hit her third three-pointer of the half to extend Mitty’s lead to 47-40 with 2:15 remaining. A fast break layup by Simon gave the Monarchs their biggest lead at 49-40, but the Huskies had one last rally left.
While Mitty shot nothing but free throws the final two minutes, JW North was able to get three-pointers from Martin and Kamille Diaz to whittle Mitty’s lead to just three points, 55-52, with 15 seconds left.
However a foul sent Dinger to the line and she sank one of two free throws to seal the win.
“It was a game of runs and I thought our defense and rebounding was ultimately the difference,” said Phillips. “This team believes in one another. They’ve bought in to what we’ve tried to teach from day one. It’s a very special group.”
JW North coach Leonard DeCoud felt the same about his own team.
“Going from 4-21 (last year) to where we are now, this was a total win no matter what it says on the scoreboard,” he said. “I’ll tell you what, we’ll be back here next year. I guarantee you that.”
Besides Dinger and Simon, Kelli Hayes was in double figures with 13 points while Amanda Lovely grabbed 12 rebounds. Simone DeCoud led the Huskies with 14 points and Martin and Pricilla Brooks each had 11.
- Kevin AskelandArchbishop Mitty 56, JW North 54JW NORTH (30-6)
Tatyana Calhoun 2-2 2-4 6, Akilah Martin 4-8 0-0 11, Simone DeCoud 6-13 2-3 14, Brittany Crain 2-10 0-0 5, Pricilla Brooks 5-13 1-5 11, Kamille Diaz 2-7 0-0 5, Dominique McDonald 1-1 0-0 2, Shilo Benic 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-54 5-12 54.ARCHBISHOP MITTY (28-5)
Emily Dinger 6-13 1-2 16, Amanda Lovely 2-13 4-6 8, Kelli Hayes 5-12 3-3 13, Kalyn Simon 6-13 2-4 16, D’Andree Galipeau 0-0 1-3 1, Courtney Lisowski 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 20-53 11-18 56.
JW North 12 7 15 20 – 54
Archbishop Mitty 13-9 14 20 – 563-point goals:
JW North 5-12 (DeCloud 3, Crain, Diaz), Archbishop Mitty 5-16 (Dinger 3, Simon 2). Rebounds
: JW North 38 (Brooks 11), Archbishop Mitty 36 (Lovely 12). Turnovers:
JW North 20, Archbishop Mitty 15.