It's been 18 years since a Sacramento Area team has even made it to the state large-school (Division I) finals.
Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.)
was the last team to do it – the Marauders did it in both 1993 and 1994 – and on Tuesday they guaranteed at least one Sacramento team will get there again with an improbable 44-41 win at top seed De La Salle (Concord)
in the Northern California Division I semifinals.
Jesuit, the fourth seed, ended on a 14-3 run against a team that had won 18 straight and 25 in a row at home. Akachi Okugo
drilled a 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining capping a remarkable 23-point fourth quarter after scoring just 21 in the first three combined.
Jesuit will now meet Sac-Joaquin Section rival Sheldon (Sacramento)
, a 59-55 winner over McClymonds-Oakland.
A potential game-tying 3-pointer by Amadi Udenyi
, Okugo's cousin, missed at the buzzer. Udenyi led all scorers with 19 points, Jeremy Gunder
added 10, but season scoring leader Elliott Pitts
was held to five. Parker Uu
had 12 points to lead Jesuit, which finished the game on a 14-3 run over the last 3:10.
"We have five seniors on the team, we're all playing at the same time," Uu told Erik Stordahl of SportsStarsMag.com
. "We knew this was our last year, our last chance."
If defeating seemingly invincible De La Salle on the road was an uphill battle, now Jesuit gets a Sheldon team that has beat the Marauders four straight times this season, the last time just two weeks ago for the SJS title.
The two rivals square off 8 p.m. Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion. Whoever wins will be after history, hoping to become the first SJS squad to ever win the Division I state crown.
"It'll be fun," Sheldon coach Joey Rollings told Joe Davidson of the Sacramento Bee
Sheldon (28-5) looked in complete command of its semifinal win, up 16-4, but McClymonds (19-11) never backed down. Still Sheldon had too much with D'Erryl Williams
(14 points), Dakarai Allen
(12), Kyi Thomas
(11) and Nate Iese
(10). Ryan Manning
also added eight points and seven rebounds, according to Davidson. Lawrence Otis
had 14 and Dulani Robinson
13 for McClymonds (Oakland)
. Division IINewark Memorial (Newark) 48, Serra (San Mateo) 46
Sophomore Damien Banford
made the winning shot but make no mistake, Newark Memorial senior Casey Norris
willed his team's win over visiting Serra.
On a dribble penetration, Norris drew two defenders and fed Banford for the go-ahead layup with 1.3 seconds left and after a timeout he stole the inbounds pass to set off a wild celebration and secure Newark Memorial's 21st straight win.
Norris, a 6-foot-1 guard and fourth-year player, also scored a game-high 21 points, including 15 straight for his team starting with a 3-pointer to end the half. The Cougars (28-4) now move into Saturday's finals against defending state champion Mitty, an 85-59 winner of Chico.
Banford, a beefy 6-6 post, was quiet – as were all the Cougars – after an eight-point first quarter and finished with 12. Henry Caruso
had 12 and Jason Barsocchini
11 for Serra (24-7).
"I wouldn't say I willed it, but I was definitely trying to be aggressive," Norris said. "I wanted the ball (for the last shot) but I just tried to make the best play possible."
On a night when top Division I seed De La Salle-Concord was upset at home by Jesuit-Carmichael, this one went exactly according to plan, a rugged, no-nonsense, back-and-forth affair where no team led by more than five.
After Norris scored all 12 of Newark's points in the third quarter and assisted on the first two buckets of the fourth, Serra took back the lead 46-44 on back-to-back 3-pointers from Vika Jimenez
. But Morris scored an uncontested – his only one of the night – layup with 56.6 seconds left before the final sequence. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 85, Chico 59
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Aaron Gordon
, continued one of the top five juniors in the country, had 29 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in the victory over Chico (27-4), which led 14-11 at the end of the first quarter and trailed just 35-29 at half. Other games
In Division III, top-seed and host Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco)
(27-5) had its out by midway in the fourth quarter en route to a 69-51 win over Center. According to SanFranPreps.com
, Tyler Petroni
had 17 points, Joshua Fox
16 and Taylor Johns
13 for the Irish, who will play second-seed Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland)
(26-6), a 66-46 winner over Foothill-Sacramento. … Dominic Gomes
had 14 points and Ivan Rabb
11 for O'Dowd, which took a 35-17 lead late in the second quarter and never really was threatened.
In Division IV, Jabari Bird
scored 14 of his 27 points in the first quarter as top-seed Salesian (Richmond)
(32-2) rolled to an 80-41 win over Arcata at Contra Costa College. … Salesian will play third-seed Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton)
(23-6) which went on the road to beat Modesto Christian 58-57 thanks largely to 25 points from Cole McConnell
In Division V, top-seed St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda)
(28-4) defeated Central Catholic-Modesto 66-45 to give coach Don Lippi win No. 700. … St. Joseph will play Pinewood (Los Altos Hills)
, a 50-47 winner over Branson. Solomone Wolfgram had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Cameron Helvey 16 and 10 for the Panthers (27-2). GirlsDivision II
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 54, Carondelet (Concord) 51
In Division II at Ygnacio Valley-Concord, Mitty (26-5) overcame an 11-point third-quarter deficit behind sophomore Kelli Hayes
(21 points, 10 rebounds) to advance to a 13th NorCal final. Hayes' 3-pointer with 5:01 left gave Mitty the lead for good. Emily Dinger
added three 3-pointers and 13 points and Kalyn Simon
10 for Mitty which played most of the game without point guard Vanessa Garner
Carondelet (28-4), which got 20 points from Notre Dame-bound Hannah Huffman
, led 44-33 with 1:42 left in the third but Mitty went on a 17-0 run over the next 5:34 to take command. Natalie Romeo was held to six points and four assists. St. Mary's (Stockton) 68, St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 45
Sophomore Charise Holloway
had 19 points and junior Courtney Range
13 as the three-time defending state champions steadily pulled away from a strong St. Ignatius squad (26-6), which got 13 points freshman Josie Little
and 10 each by Maria Kemiji-Mcdonald
and Sydney Raggio
. Other games
In Division I, Rachel Howard had 14 points and seven rebounds as top-seed and host Berkeley (28-2) pulled out a tough 49-38 win over Oak Ridge (25-9), which was led by xx Klein with nine points. Berkeley goes after its 11th Northern California title Saturday against Kennedy-Sacramento, a 44-40 win over Gunn. Jessica Lauderdale converted four free throws in the final 4.6 seconds to break a 40-40 tie. She and Lynette Johnson had 11 points each for Kennedy (25-8) and Lori Wong added 10.
In Division III, top seed Bishop O'Dowd
(28-3) got 16 points from Kendall Waters
to roll past Modesto Christian 76-46 and will now face Miramonte-Orinda (31-1), a surprise 71-64 winner at Sacramento, in Saturday's finals. … Miramonte (Orinda)
got 21 points from Janine Loutzenhiser
, 15 from Taylor Kizziee
and 12 by Megan Reid
. It helped offset a 26-point explosion from Jasmine Ware.
In Division IV, Salesian
(30-4) defeated McKinleyville 53-35 behind 17 points each from Mariya Moore
and MaAne' Mosley
. Moore also had 13 assists, seven rebounds and seven steals. … Salesian will play league rival St. Mary's-Berkeley (26-7), a 62-38 winner over Calavaras (29-4).
In Division V, Hashima Carothers
had 18 points and 18 rebounds and Eastside College Prep (East Palo Alto)
(17-13) defeated visiting St. Joseph-Notre Dame 47-41. St. Joseph, which led by 11 at halftime, got 15 points from Samantha Maritzen. … Second-seed Eastside Prep now gets top-seed Brookside Christian (28-4), which eliminated two-time defending state champion Pinewood 60-37. SCORES/SCHEDULECIF State TournamentNorth RegionalSemifinalsBOYSDivision I
Jesuit 44, De La Salle 41
Sheldon 59, McClymonds 55Saturday's final
No. 4 Jesuit (27-6) vs. No. 2 Sheldon (28-5) at Power Balance Pavilion, 8 p.m.Division II
Mitty 85, Chico 59
Newark Memorial 48, Serra 46Saturday's final
No. 1 Mitty (29-3) vs. No. 2 Newark Memorial (28-4) at Power Balance Pavilion, 4 p.m.Division III
Sacred Heart Cathedral 69, Center 51
Bishop O'Dowd 66, Foothill 46Saturday's final
No. 1 Sacred Heart Cathedral (27-9) vs. No. 2 Bishop O'Dowd (26-5) at Power Balance Pavilion, noonDivision IV
Salesian 80, Arcata 41
Sacred Heart Prep 58, Modesto Christian 57Saturday's final
No. 1 Salesian (32-2) vs. No. 3 Sacred Heart Prep (23-6) at Folsom HS, 7 p.m.Division V
St. Joseph Notre Dame 66, Central Catholic 45
Pinewood 50, Branson 47Saturday's final
No. 1 St. Joseph (28-4) vs. No. 2 Pinewood (27-2) at Folsom HS, 3 p.m.GIRLSDivision I
Berkeley 49, Oak Ridge 38
Kennedy-Sacramento 44, Gunn 40Saturday's final
No. 1 Berkeley (28-2) vs. No. 3 Kennedy (25-8) at Power Balance Pavilion, 6 p.m.Division II
St. Mary's-Stockton 68, St. Ignatius 45
Mitty 54, Carondelet 51Saturday's final
No. 1 St. Mary's-Stockton (30-3) vs. No. 3 Mitty (26-5) at Power Balance Pavilion, 2 p.m. Division III
Bishop O'Dowd 76, Modesto Christian 46
Miramonte 71, Sacramento 64Saturday's final
No. 1 Bishop O'Dowd (28-3) vs. Miramonte (31-1) at Power Balance Pavilion, 10 a.m.Division IV
Salesian 53, McKinleyville 35
St. Mary's-Berkeley 62, Calaveras 38Saturday's final
No. 1 Salesian (30-4) vs. No. 2 St. Mary's (26-7) at Folsom HS, 5 p.m.Division V
Brookside Christian 60, Pinewood 37
Eastside Prep 47, St. Joseph 41Saturday's final
No. 1 Brookside Christian (28-4) vs. No. 2 Eastside Prep (17-13) at Folsom HS, 1 p.m.Report compiled from both live reports and information obtained from the San Francisco Chronicle, Contra Costa Times, San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee, SanFranPreps.com, Modesto Bee, Chicoer.com and the Stockton Record.