Mitty’s stunner over two-time D2 state champ St. Mary’s of Stockton highlights the day. Berkeley’s repeat in D1 highlights the night. Also taking titles are Bishop O’Dowd (D3), Salesian of Richmond (D4) and Brookside Christian (D5).
The CIF Northern Regional title games were played at Power Balance Arena in Sacramento (Divisions 1-3) and at Folsom High School (Divisions 4-5). Writeups by Harold Abend, Paul Muyskens.
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 53, St. Mary’s (Stockton) 51
In what is a fairly huge upset, No. 3 seed Archbishop Mitty got 23 points and nine rebounds from 6-foot-1 super sophomore Kelli Hayes, and 12 points and 12 rebounds from Pepperdine-bound 6-3 senior Amanda Lovely to turn back No. 1 seed and defending state champion St. Mary’s.
The winning basket and game’s final points came on a 4-foot floater by Hayes with 25.9 seconds left on a brilliant pass from senior Courtney Lisowski.
St. Mary’s (30-4), which also won CIF state titles in Division III in 2009 and 2010 and was No. 4 overall in the state, had four opportunities in the final seconds, but Lovely had a blocked shot and forced two turnovers. Still, after getting possession on a turnover with 3.3 seconds left, the Rams got a final attempt under the basket by freshman Bri Moore, and although the shot was good, it came after the buzzer.
Playing without point guard Vanessa Garner (sprained knee), Mitty once again turned to Hayes to assume the majority of the work bringing the ball up-court.
The strategy was the same that was employed in a 54-51 semifinal victory over Concord Carondelet. Once again, Hayes responded brilliantly.
“It wasn’t so much that I took over but as a team we all picked it up,” Hayes said.
Mitty (27-5) survived 12 first-quarter turnovers and overcame an eight-point late second quarter deficit by playing lockdown defense. The Monarchs, who took their first lead at 50-49 with 2:37 remaining, only gave up 19 second-half points. They also out-rebounded St. Mary’s 51-32.
“We certainly turned over the ball way too much today, but our defense and rebounding kept us in it,” said Mitty coach Sue Phillips, who will seek her fifth state championship next week against J.W. North of Riverside.
St. Mary’s star Courtney Range, who played much of the game in foul trouble, was held to eight points, although she did grab 13 rebounds. Sophomore sensation Charise Holloway led St. Mary’s with 11 points but no one else was in double figures.
“The difference in a nutshell is we missed at least 15 layups and the foul trouble killed us immensely,” said three-time defending state championship coach Tom Gonsalves.
The loss by St. Mary’s also snapped a streak of 31 straight playoff victories.
Berkeley 56, Kennedy (Sacramento) 38
This one was pretty much over at halftime after Berkeley bolted out of the blocks and turned an 18-10 first-quarter lead into a 32-16 halftime advantage.
When Arizona State-bound Elisha Davis (team-high 17 points, four 3-pointers, four assists) hit the first of four first-half NBA-length 3-pointers to open the scoring, Berkeley (29-2) had a lead it never relinquished.
“Today we wanted to make a statement early,” Davis said. “We didn’t want one of those down-to-the-wire games.”
Despite a lack of size inside, Berkeley controlled the paint and out-rebounded Kennedy 38-28.
Junior Rachel Howard did almost all her damage around the basket. The 5-foot-10 Berkeley forward registered a double-double 13 points and 12 rebounds. Desire Finnie also had a solid game on both ends. The 5-foot-10 sophomore scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Although they were down big at the half, the Cougars (26-9) didn’t quit. In fact, they pretty much held their own in the final two quarters. They closed to 40-30 after three quarters, 42-32 and 44-34 in the early fourth quarter, but that was as close as they could get.
A large part of that was due to the tenacity of Lynette Johnson. The 5-foot-10 junior forward finished with a double-double game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds, with four assists. She had 13 of her points and seven rebounds in the second half.
“We knew what to expect from Berkeley, but we let it get away from ourselves in the first half,” Kennedy coach Dave Parsh remarked. “We made a nice run in the second half and executed better but we just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Berkeley was making its 15th Northern Regional Division I title-game appearance and now boasts an 11-4 mark.
The Yellowjackets will go for their third CIF Division I state championship next Saturday against Mater Dei. Berkeley, which last won the title in 1997, was defeated by Mater Dei in last year’s state final 59-47.
“We lost a lot of good players so a lot of people didn’t expect a lot from us,” Davis said. “We’ve had to prove ourselves all season and next week we need to continue proving ourselves.”
Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 70, Miramonte (Orinda) 51
As has been the case in many of the 10 a.m. games with sparse crowds in the cavernous Power Balance Pavilion, it took a while for both teams to get going.
Bishop O’Dowd (29-3) trailed 8-7 with 3:50 left in the first quarter before going on a 10-0 run to end the quarter with a 17-8 lead and all the momentum.
Miramonte made a run to get to 23-19 but from there the Dragons drew away behind its big front line that out-rebounded the Matadors 50-24.
Oderah Chidom, O’Dowd’s 6-foot-4 junior post, led the way with a double-double 24 points and 15 rebounds, with three blocks and three assists. K.C. Waters played sparingly in the first half after picking up three quick fouls. The 6-foot-2 junior still finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.
Miramonte (31-2), whose only two losses came to O’Dowd, with the first in the CIFNCS D3 title game, were led by Devon McDonald with 13 points
The 70-points tied the record for the most points in a Northern Regional Division III championship game, equaling the total of St. Mary’s (Stockton) two years ago.
“We have unfinished business next weekend,” O’Dowd coach Malik McCord said. “We’ll respect Laguna Hills, they’re a good team that we’ve already been watching on film, but we’re going to do what we do.”
“Last year I didn’t have my best game but next game I’m bringing my all,” remarked Waters, the Cal-Hi Sports 2010 State Freshman of the Year.
Division IV Girls:
Salesian (Richmond) 47, St. Mary's (Berkeley) 44
In the closest game of the day at Folsom, it was the Pride with an 8-2 run in the final two minutes to earn a trip to the state finals next weekend against La Jolla Country Day.
With the biggest lead of the game just seven points in a low-scoring battle, the Pride saw a 39-33 lead midway through the fourth quarter turn into a 42-39 deficit with minutes remaining.
Much to the delight of her mom, who was sitting nearby doing the scorebook for the team, Alana Horton responded with five straight points for the Pride. Grabbing an offensive rebound, she put it back in and was fouled, which she converted to tie the game with 1:37 left.
On the next possession, sophomore sensation Mariya Moore drove and found Horton under the basket for a layup and a 44-42 lead.
After Kwele Serrell hit a short jumper for St. Mary’s to tie the game at 44, Moore once again had the ball in her hands and this time as she attacked the basket she ran into the Panthers’ Elexis Goodwin, who was called for a blocking foul with seven seconds left. Moore converted both free throws and then stole the inbounds pass and was fouled and added another free throw for the game's final point.
"She is a terrific player," said Salesian coach Stephen Pezzola about Moore. "The most important thing she does is make everyone on this team better.
"I'm so proud of my girls,” Pezzola continued. “They came out and played like a team like they have all year. This has been a historic year for our team. We play a game at the end of every practice shooting free throws with a chance to win the game."
Brookside Christian (Stockton) 55,
Eastside College Prep (Palo Alto) 38
There will be a girls team from Stockton battling for a state championship but it will be the Knights and not the St. Mary's Rams as they defeated the Panthers for the second time this season to kick off the action inside the Folsom gym.
Scoring the game's first basket, the Knights never trailed as they scored 12 straight to take an 18-5 lead midway through the first quarter. During the 12-0 run, Brianna Smith scored nine of her game-high 18 points as she knocked down two 3-pointers and three free throws during the stretch.
"Smith gave us a big boost today. She really stepped up the last two games and she really hit some big shots today," said Brookside Christian coach Que Ngo.
Hashim Carothers, who missed the 67-31 loss to the Knights earlier this season, led the Panthers with 13 points and 16 rebounds. Carothers scored the first four points of the second half as Eastside College Prep went on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to just three points before the Knights answered with a 10-0 run to re-open the lead.
"They aren't the better team. Tonight just wasn't our night," said Carothers after the game.
Chachi Cunningham had a double-double in the loss with 10 points and 11 rebounds. "We played like champions and we played hard," said Knights’ coach Donovan Blythe. "We are a young team and we will be back next year."
Sophomore Tiara Tucker was held to just 15 points in the win.
Que was yelling early on to his players about needing to play better and that "this is to get to state." The Knights will now have a chance to capture the first state championship in school history after winning in their first trip to the NorCal finals.
Corrections or comments? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.