Check in throughout the day and night for game stories, color commentary and box scores from all 12 Northern California state championships.
NorCal championship gamesBOYS
(At Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento)
No. 1 seed Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland)
(26-4) vs. No. 7 Modesto Christian
(30-3), 8 p.m.NorCal record:
O'Dowd 8-3, Modesto Christian 4-6
Final score: Bishop O'Dowd 56, Modesto Christian 47
Bishop O’Dowd basketball coach Lou Richie took a big sigh, then a sip of water and asked who was winning a game down South.
“One more,” he said. “Don’t care who we play. Just one more.”
Modesto Christian, the Bay Area beaters from the Sac-Joaquin Section, pushed the Dragons (27-4) to the hilt, but the battle-tested boys from Oakland had plenty to pull out a 56-47 Open Division semifinal game at Sleep Train Arena Friday night.
Ivan Rabb had 18 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks and Paris Austin contributed 13 as O’Dowd fought back from a 17-11 first quarter deficit to win its second straight NorCal Open Division title and will play Mater Dei, a 51-40 winner over Westchester, in next week's state open game at Cal's Haas Pavilion.
The Dragons have lost eight straight state championship games, including last year’s game 71-61 against Mater Dei.
“We have one more game to win to complete everything we want to accomplish,” Rabb said. “The only thing we haven’t done is win a state title. It’s been close. We’ll prepare all week and be ready.”
Modesto Christian (30-4) was ready for O’Dowd, especially the interior defe
nse of 6-6 Anthony Townes and 6-9 Robinson Idehen . Rabb (5 of 13 from the floor) missed some chippies but was relentless with 13 offensive rebounds.
He also did a good job of passing off double teams to Isaiah Thomas, Jeevin Sandhu and Franklin Longrus, wo combined for 20 points.
Townes, a UOP-signee, was a beast on the offensive end with a game-high 20 points. No one else for Modesto scored in double figures.
As usual, Austin was superb and finished off the Crusaders in the fourth quarter with a key three-pointer and tough fastbreak layup.
Townes looked like he could play another game after he was through. Like he wanted another shot at the Dragons. He though Modesto Christian played about as well as it could, but still, a couple turnovers, nine offensive rebounds bothered him.
"We played physical and contested every shot so that was good," he said. "But maybe I could have boxed out better. But we gave it a good shot. They're obviously a good team."
Bishop O'Dowd 56, Modesto Christian 47MODESTO CHRISTIAN (30-4)
Ellis 3-14 0-1 8, Wu 2-8 0-1 6, Hollins-Buckner 2-8 0-2 4, Idehen 4-8 1-1 9, Townes 9-17 2-3 20. Totals 20-55 3-8 47. BISHOP O'DOWD (27-4)
Austin 5-12 2-2 13, Walker 0-1 3-4 3, Rabb 5-13 8-9 18, Sandhu 3-4 1-2 8, Thomas 2-6 2-4 6, Zhao 2-3 0-0 6, Longrus 1-2 2. Totals 18-41 16-21 56. 3-point goals:
Ellis 2, Wu 2, Zhao 2, Austin, Sandu. Rebounds
: Modesto Christian 27 (Idehen 8), Bishop O'Dowd (Rabb 18). Turnovers:
Modesto Christian 8, O'Dowd 11. Division I
No. 4 Woodcreek (Roseville)
(27-5) vs. No. 3 San Ramon Valley (Danville)
NorCal record: Woodcreek 1-2, SRV 2-1.Final score: San Ramon Valley 49, Woodcreek 45
Gregg Polosky could have swooped in for a fastbreak layup. But it wasn't the moment. The 6-10 senior flew in from the right flank and slammed it home to start the fourth quarter to highlight a 14-2 run that keyed San Ramon Valley's hard fought and comeback championship win.
"There was nothing that was going to stop me," Polosky said. "I'm there right there and I'm going to throw this down."
On Woodcreek's next possession, Woodcreek's fabulous 6-9 freshman Jordan Brown (15 points, 18 rebounds) went up for a jump hook that was swatted away by Polosky. The Wolves came down and 6-foot senior Christian Fuca (13 points) drilled a 3-pointer and they were on their way to their first championship since winning back-to-back crowns in 1991 and 1992.
Keith Smith was sensational with 16 points and seven rebounds, and Polosky, coming off the bench, had nine points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
Malcolm Thomas had 12 points and Noah Blackwell, a Long Beach State-signee, finished with nine.
Woodcreek seemed to take control by scoring the first eight points of the second half to take a 27-20 lead, but the Wolves responded with their big run.
"I told the kids (during a timeout) that adversity will only kill you if you don't respond to it," said first year SRV head coach Brian Botteen. "These guys have responded all year. It's a tight, senior-heavy group and they believed in one another." San Ramon Valley 49, Woodcreek 45
Blackwell 3-14 3-4 9, Thomas 5-8 0-2 12, Corbin 1-4 1-2 3, Brown 6-18 3-6 15, Collins 2-3 1-2 6. TOTALS 17-52 8-16 45. SAN RAMON VALLEY (26-6)
Smith 7-14 1-4 16, Fuca 4-9 4-4 13, Koski 1-4 0-1 2, Spackman 2-4 0-2 4, Kunde 1-3 2-2 5, Polosky 3-8 3-5 9. TOTALS 18-47 3-11 49.
Woodcreek 6 11 12 16 — 45
San Ramon Valley 7 11 11 20 — 49
3-point goals: Thomas 2, Collins, Smith, Fuca, Kunde. Rebounds: W- 40 (Brown 18, Blackwell 7, Thomas 4)
SRV- 32 (Polosky 8, Smith 7, Fuca 6, Koski 4, Spackman 3). Assists: W- 4 (Brown 3, Austefjord 1)
SRV- 4 (Smith, Fuca, Spackman, Kunde). Turnovers: Woodcreek 17, SRV 9. Division II
No. 1 Sacramento
(28-5) vs. No. 2 Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)
Mitty 5-4, Sacramento
Final score: Mitty 54, Sacramento 40
The team Mitty coach Tim Kennedy envisioned all season was on full display Saturday at Sleep Train Arena. Certainly for the second half anyway.
The Monarchs used a 12-0 run early in the third quarter and outscored Sacramento 36-22 after intermission to win their fourth Northern California title in five years and sixth overall.
For top seed Sacramento (28-6), according to its coach Derek Swafford, "It was one of those nights. Even the NBA guys go cold. Unfortunately for us, we picked the wrong night to shoot like that."
Much of Sacramento's shooting woes — the Dragons made just 15 of 55 shots (27 percent) while scoring six less points than it had all season — had to do with Mitty's defense. "They have so many weapons we wanted to contest every shot," Kennedy said. "I saw very few open lanes and when they shot we had someone in their face."
Combined that with the impressive two-man game of 6-foot-9 junior Ben Kone (23 points, 17 rebounds) and 6-7 sophomore wing Sebastian Much (17 points, seven rebounds), clutch shooting from sickly Cameron Korb (two timely fourth-quarter three-pointers), tough inside work of Nick LaBruna (14 rebounds) and steady guard play, the second-seeded Monarchs (20-10) took control the second half while winning their fourth NorCal title in five years and sixth overall.
This from a team that has been searching for consistency all season. It helped greatly that Much, a transfer from Southern California, returned for his second straight game after missing more than two months with a hip injury.
Much made 6-of-14 shots, was 4-for-4 at the line and spread the Sacramento defense enough to open things up fro Kone down low. He outplayed Sacramento's highly touted junior Solomon Young (team high 11 points, six rebounds). Kone was 9-of-14 from the floor, almost all inside the key.
With a chiseled 220-pound frame and impeccable footwork, Kone was nearly impossible to stop in the post. He was coming off a 30-point, 25-rebound semifinal win over Cosumnes Oaks-Elk Grove. Young is a top 100 recruit nationally for his class.
"He's a great player and I knew it would be a great matchup and he'd only help me get better," Kone said. "As far as how it turned out, I'll let the numbers speak for themselves."
After a sluggish first half for both teams, Sacramento scored the first two buckets of the third quarter to take a 22-18 lead before Mitty went on a 12-0 run with two buckets each from Much, LaBruna and Kone.
Sacramento, which also got 10 points from Sayvon Hines, got as close as 37-31 early in the fourth, but Korb, fighting off the flu, and Much drilled back-to-back three pointers and this one was essentially over.
Asked about the team's fourth crown in five seasons, Kennedy said: "It speaks volumes about our players and how hard they work at their game."
For Sacramento, which returns all but one senior from its core players, the future looks bright.
"We're here in the Final Four of state - it doesn't get any better than that," Swafford said. "I want our guys to walk out of here with their heads up. They have nothing to be ashamed of. We made it here and I couldn't be prouder of the boys."
Mitty 54, Sacramento 40MITTY (20-10)
Korb 2-5 0-1 6, Kone 9-14 5-10 23, LaBruna 3-8 1-4 6, Grigsby 1-2 0-0 2, Much 6-14 4-4 17 Total: 21-52 9-17 54SACRAMENTO (26-8)
S- Hines 4-14 0-0 10, Williams 3-4 1-1 8, Terrell 2-14 2-3 7, Young 4-12 1-3 11, Henderson 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 15-55 4-7 40.
Archbishop Mitty 10 8 14 22 — 54
Sacramento 9 9 10 12 — 403-point goals:
Korb 2, Much, Hines 2, Young 2, Williams, Terrell. Rebounds:
AM- 50 (Kone 17, LaBruna 14, Much 7). S- 27 (Terrell 8, Young 6, Williams 4). Turnovers:
Mitty 14, Sacramento 9.
(At American Canyon High) Division III
No. 1 Drake (San Anselmo)
vs. No. 2 Campolindo (Moraga)
Drake 3-1, Campolindo 0-2.
Campolindo 50 Drake 44
the score tied 44-44 Chris Hansen hit six free-throws in the final 37.3 seconds
and No. 2 seed Campolindo (28-4) advances to its first ever state championship
in three Northern Regional title game appearances.
a 6-foot-7 UC San Diego-bound senior, finished with a game-high 22 points and
17 rebounds. Scott Chen added 11 points and Austin Clarke chipped in with 10
Drake led 44-42 with 2:40 remaining off a steal and layup by Malik Huff (12
points) but the Pirates couldn’t get a call and failed to score the rest of the
way. Dane Wells added 12 points for a Drake team that is now 3-2 in NorCal
game was a back and forth affair with Campolindo leading 13-8 after one quarter
and 23-22 at the half. The second half saw six lead changes and four ties
before the Cougars put it away.
finally get a win in the NorCal championship is huge for the Campolindo
community, especially after our football team won a state championship,” said
Campolindo Coach Matt Watson. “But you have to feel bad for Drake. They played
their hearts out but someone has to go home. I’m just glad it’s not us.”Division IV
No. 4 Capital Christian (Sacramento)
(26-8) vs. No. 11 Saint Mary's (Albany)
Capital Christian 0-3, St. Mary's 4-3
Capital Christian 60, St. Mary's 47
Capital Christian got a big double-double off the bench from Marcus Fowler to advance
to its first Division IV state championship in its third-straight appearance in
a Northern Regional title game and fourth appearance overall.
a 6-foot-3 junior that also plays football for the Cougars finished with 18
points and 14 rebounds. Edward Ware added 14 points and Justice-Sheldon Mosely
chipped in with 11 points.
a big deal to get this monkey off our back and bring this NorCal championship
back home,” said Capital Christian Coach Devon Jones.
Mary’s led 25-22 early in the third quarter but a 9-0 run by Capital Christian
gave the Cougars a 31-25 lead they never relinquished.
St. Mary’s (20-12) was led by Aren Ulmer with 12 points. Josh Allen added seven
points and 10 rebounds. The Panthers are now 4-4 in NorCal title-games.
Christian now meets Crespi-Encino in the Division IV state championship next Saturday
at 12 noon in Berkeley at Cal’s Haas Pavilion. Crespi was a 58-54 winner over
Campbell Hall-North Hollywood.
played Crespi last year in the summer but we really don’t know that much about
them,” Jones remarked. “We know they’re a good team and we’ll have to play our
best game of the season, but we plan to speed them up. You have to catch us.” Division V
No. 4 Brookside Christian (Stockton)
(26-4) vs. No. 2 University (San Francisco)
Brookside 1-0, University 3-2Final score: University-San Francisco 65, Brookside Christian-Stockton 50
Second-seed University turned a close game through the first two quarters into an easy victory.
After a 12-12 tie through one quarter and a 26-21 lead at halftime, University (28-7) turned on the afterburners in the third quarter to outscore Brookside 22-11 and pretty much seal the deal.
Mattie Mrlik took over in the third quarter and led University with 27 points, including 18 in the second half on 7-of-8 shooting. For the game the junior guard was 11-of-16 from the field and 5-of-7 from three-point range. As a team the Red Devils were 7-of-9 on three pointers in the second half. Brandon Lew added 13 points and Sean Gilmore and Noad Sebhatleab chipped in with 11 points apiece.
“It was a great team effort, great balance,” said University Coach Randy Bessolo. “In the first half we let them do the things they wanted to do but in the second half we found another level.”
For University it was its fourth Northern Regional Division V title in six appearances. The Red Devils will be trying to win a first CIF Division V state championship after coming up short in their first three tries. Their opponent will be Maxpreps and Cal-Hi Sports state No. 6 ranked Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth.
“The question is do you think they’re asking Sierra Canyon about University?” was the tongue-in-cheek answer of Bessolo when asked what he knew about Sierra Canyon.
Fourth-seed Brookside Christian (26-5) was making its first appearance in the Northern Regional championship game. GIRLS
(At Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento) Open Division
No. 1 St. Mary's (Stockton)
(32-1) vs. No. 2 Miramonte (Orinda)
St. Mary's 9-4, Miramonte 1-4Final score: St. Mary's 67, Miramonte 52
Shooting at the big gym — big Sleep Train Arena, home of the Sacramento Kings — regularly spells doom for high school teams. But the nationally ranked St. Mary's-Stockton girls basketball team makes regular visits to the NBA arena. And sharpshooter Kat Tudor can shoot effectively anywhere. Especially when she takes 500 practice shots the night before.
Tudor (team-high 16 points) made five first-half three-pointers, St. Mary's made eight in the first half, propelling the Rams to a 10th Northern California title with a convincing win over second seed Miramonte (30-3), which got 17 from Keana Delos Santos and 11 each by Sabrina Ionescu and Uriah Howard.
The Rams' hot exterior shooting led to a 44-29 halftime lead, but the Matadors scored the first eight points of the second half, six by Ionescu to close to 44-37.
But St. Mary's, ranked third in the country by MaxPreps.com, rattled off 10 straight to essentially put the game away. Mi'Cole Cayton had 11, Aquira Decosta 10 and Naje Murray and Carlissa Shipp added nine apiece for the Rams, who take on Mater Dei-Santa Ana for the state title next week in Berkeley.
"When these girls shoot long range I expect it to go in," St. Mary's coach Tom Gonsalves said. "They shoot off the charts."
Despite the loss, Miramonte coach Kelly Sopak was upbeat. His team lost seven key seniors off last year's NorCal Open championship team.
"I don't think many people expected us to get back to this game," he said. "I'm happy the way we played and I'm very happy with our season." St. Mary's 67, Miramonte 52MIRAMONTE (30-3)
Fenn 1-6 0-0 3, Delos 7-16 2-4 17, Howard 4-10 3-4 11, Louie 1-5 0-0
2. Ionescu 3-15 4-7 11, Steele 2-4 0-0 5, Bryant 1-5 1-2 3. TOTALS 19-61 10-17 52.
ST. MARY'S (33-1)
Murray 4-9 0-0 9, Tudor 5-10 1-2 16, Cayton 4-11 3-3 11, Decosta
4-6 2-3 10, Shipp 3-6 0-0 9, Fadal 4-8 0-0 8, Johnson 2-3 0-0 4. TOTALS 26-59 6-10 67
Miramonte 11 18 14 9 - 52
St. Mary's 17 27 14 9 - 67Three-pointers:
M-Fenn 1, Delos 1 Ionescu 1, Steele 1. St.M-Murray 1, Tudor 5, Shipp 3. Rebounds: M-44 (Howard, Ionescu 12). St.M-35 (Cayton 7). Turnovers Miramonte 18, St. Mary's 11.
No. 1 McClatchy (Sacramento)
(25-7) vs. No. 2 Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills)
McClatchy 0-1, Oak Ridge 1-2
Final score: McClatchy 58, Oak Ridge 49
Jordan Cruz had 19 points and Gigi Garcia 15 as McClatchy (26-7) broke open an even game with a 16-7 run in the fourth quarter to win its first Northern California championship over Central Coast Section rival Oak Ridge (27-5).
It was a great comeback performance by Cruz, a 5-8 sophomore, who went 0-for-11 from the floor in a SJS semifinal win over Oak Ridge. On Saturday she made just 4-for-10 from the floor, but was 7 of 8 at the free throw line where McClatchy outscored Oak Ridge 16 to five.
"This was more exciting," Cruz said about shooting so much better in this game. "I never lost confidencein my shooting."
Though foul shooting was key, so was taking care of the ball. McClatchy committed just eight turnovers to 30 for Oak Ridge, which held a 47-29 edge on the boards. Isamar Conde had 17 of those rebounds to go with 10 points. Teammate Kassidy DeLapp led the team with 11 poiints. Conde also had four assists.
"Too many turnovers," Oak Ridge coach Steve White said. "McClatchy is a complete team. It's pick your poison with them."
Garcia, a 6-2 junior, made 7 of 15 shots and added nine rebounds. Her team will play Serra (Gardena) in next week's state championship.
"I speak for all of us," Garcia said. "We're super excited, and we're ready."
It was a great win for coach Jessica Kunisaki, a former McClatchy guard.
McClatchy 58, Oak Ridge 49OAK RIDGE (27-5)
Derksen 2-3 0-0 4, Conde 3-10 4-7 10, Peters 5-7 0-2 11, DeLapp 2-6 1-3 5, McCoy 3-7 0-3 7, Drossos 5-9 0-0 12. Totals 20-44 5-15 49. MCCLATCHY (26-7)
Kelsey Wong 1-5 0-0 3, Nubla 1-7 3-7 5, Kristi Wong 2-7 3-4 8, Garcia 7-15 1-6 15, Cruz 4-10 7-8 19, Shimizu 0-3 2-2 2, Lee 2-3 0-0 4, Washington 1-8 0-0 2. Totals 18-58 16-27 49.
Oak Ridge 7 19 16 7 — 49
McClatchy 13 14 15 16 — 583-point goals:
Drossos 2, McCoy, Peters, Cruz 4, Kelsey Wong, Kristi Wong. Rebounds:
Oak Ridge 47 (Conde 17), McClatchy 29 (Garcia 9). Turnovers
: Oak Ridge 30, McClatchy 8. Division II
No. 1 Dublin
(28-3) vs. No. 3 Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)
Dublin 0-0, Mitty 10-8
Final score: Mitty 63, Dublin 49Mitty girls basketball coach Sue Phillips said don't bet against her team in March. Or in the second half.
Phillips gave her team a little pep talk at halftime and the Monarchs responded with the first 16 points of the second half, 12 of which was scored by sophomore Heleyna Hill, who finished with a game-high 24 points in a tale-of-two halves victory for the third seed.
It was the 11th title in 19 NorCal final appearances for the Monarchs (24-6), who trailed 30-26 to top seed Dublin (28-4), making its first championship game appearance. Mitty plays Keppel, a 48-44 winner over Redondo Union, in next week's state championship game in Berkeley.
"I saw a moderate level of energy the first half," Phillips said. "I just let the girls know there could be just 16 minutes left in their season. They had to come to the decision themselves what they wanted to do about it."
The Monarchs picked up their defense intensity, allowing 25 percent shooting after the Gaels, the top seed, made half of their 22 shots in the first half. Their fullcourt pressure forced 19 first-half turnovers and 31 overall.
Meanwhile, Hill, a 5-foot-6 guard, went to work with a series of fastbreak hoops off transition. She made 8 of 20 shots and 8-of-12 free throws for her season-high totl. Jahny Anderson, a 5-3 junior, who made five 3-pointers on the same court last year, had 18 points and Madeline Holland, a 5-10 sophomore, added 14 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.
After being outrebounded by 11 in the first half, Mitty returned the favor in the second.
"It was a complete team effort," Phillips said.
They needed it to knock off the Gaels, who got 13 points from Jojuan Carrington, 12 by Tiaja Andrews and 10 by Milan Moses. Despite never being in this spot or ever playing at the huge confines of Sleep Train, Dublin not only shot well from the floor the first half, but made six of seven free throws.
"We didn't come in here intimidated," Dublin coach Trisha Campbell said. "We came out and played like champions, but just didn't keep it up for 32 minutes. It's sad to see the season end but these girls put Dublin on the map. Nobody knew who were before the season.
But we're the North Coast Section champions and regional runner-ups and nobody can take that away. We should keep our heads up high."
Mitty-San Jose 63, Dublin 49
M-Anderson 6-12 2-4 18, Hill 8-20 8-12 24, Holland 4-10 6-6 16, Mewes 3-4, 1-2 6. Totals 21-62 19-26 63.
D-Moses 4-8 2-4 10, Carrington 5-8 2-5 13, Yee 3-8 1-2 9, Andrews 4-9 4-6 11, Warlich1-4 0-0 2, Finau 1-21-2 3. Totals 18-50 10-19 49.
Mitty 14 12 20 17 — 63
Dublin 13 17 4 15 — 49
3-point goals: Anderson 2, Yee 2, Carrington. Rebounds: Mitty 41 (Holland 16), Dublin 41 (Andrews 11). Turnovers: Mitty 19, Dublin 31.
(At American Canyon High) Division III
No. 1 Vanden (Fairfield)
(30-3) vs. No. 2 Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland)
Vanden 0-0, O'Dowd 3-0 Final score: Bishop O’Dowd 72, Vanden 55
Second-seed Bishop O’Dowd bolted to a 19-9 lead after one quarter, built it to 36-16 at the half, and then stretched it to 57-28 late in the third quarter before coasting home in a surprisingly easy win over No. 1 seed Vanden.
O’Dowd (24-9) had three girls in double-figure scoring led by junior Myah Pace with a double-double 18 points and 10 rebounds. Aerial Chavarin added 14 points and Kansas-bound Aisia Robertson chipped in with 10 points and four assists. Cal-bound Asha Thomas, who returned late in the season from a knee injury, controlled the game early and finished with nine points, five assists and three steals.
“We’ve had flashes but this was the most complete game we’ve played all year,” O’Dowd Coach Malik McCord said.
Vanden (30-4) was appearing in its first NorCal title game. The Vikings were led by Pepperdine-committed Kayla Blair with a game-high 21 points. Kiana Moore added 11 points.
O’Dowd now improves to 4-0 in Northern Regional title games and will go for a third state championship on Friday afternoon at Cal’s Haas Pavilion. The Dragons were the the 2013 Open Division champions and also won the 2012 Division III title. Division IV
No. 4 Brookside Christian (Stockton)
(26-3) vs. No. 6 Piedmont (Piedmont)
NorCal record: Brookside 1-1, Piedmont 2-3Brookside Christian 53, Piedmont 45
At American Canyon High School, fourth-seed Brookside Christian bolted to a 13-4 first quarter lead and stretched it to 42-21 in thde early third quarter before holding off a furious comeback by No. 6 seed Piedmont.
Washington-bound guard Aarion McDonald led Brookside (27-3) with 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. Florida Atlantic-commit Ra’Kyra Gabriel added a double-double 15 points and 10 rebounds with five blocks and three assists, and Ariana Vaughn also had a double-double after finishing with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Piedmont (21-12) had three girls in double-figure scoring. Ny’Dajah Jackson led the way with 16 points. Kelea Dennis had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Kelsey Fennell added 10 points off the bench.
“It feels so good to get back to the state championship,” McDonald said. This is what we’ve been working so hard for this season and the last three years
Brookside is now 2-1 in Northern Regional championship games. The 2012 team was the CIF Division V state champions. This year’s team will now face defending CIF Division IV state champion Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth on Saturday morning at Cal’s Haas Pavilion. Division V
No. 1 Eastside College Prep (East Palo Alto, Calif.)
(24-5) vs. No. 2 Valley Christian (Dublin)
NorCal record: Eastside Prep 0-4, Valley Christian 0Final score: Eastside Prep 36, Valley Christian 28
For Eastside Prep the fifth time was a charm. After four appearances in the Division V Northern Regional championship game without a win the Panthers were finally victorious behind 19 points from senior Brije Byers and nine points and 17 rebounds from Arizona-bound 6-foot-3 senior Destiny Graham.
“I’m excited and ready to get ready to play for a state championship,” Graham remarked.
Top-seed Eastside Prep (25-5) never trailed and the only tie was 2-2 in the first minute.
“I’ve been there,” said Eastside Coach Donovan Blythe, who was on the staff of 1993 boys Division V state champion Emery-Emeryville. “I told the girls let me lead and I’ll get you to a state championship.”
Second-seed Valley Christian (31-4) was making its first-ever NorCal title game appearance and fought gamely despite a horrid 11-for-51 overall shooting and three-for-21 on three-pointers.
Eastside Prep will now play for the CIF Division V state championship next Friday at 10 a.m at Cal's Haas Pavilion against La Jolla Country Day-San Diego.