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Wednesday, March 21, 2012
CIF state girls basketball finals preview

By Tim Haddock

Division I

Mater Dei of Santa Ana vs. Berkeley

Mater Dei (34-1) meets Berkeley (27-2) in the Division I championship game for the second year in a row. Mater Dei won last season's game, 59-47. For Mater Dei, this will be the Monarchs’ fifth trip to the CIF state final. They are in search of their third straight championship. UCLA-bound Nirra Fields, the Gatorade state player of the year, scored 20 points against Long Beach Poly in the Southern California Regional final. Berkeley is making its record-setting 11th appearance in the CIF state championship game. Elisha Davis, who’s headed to Arizona State, scored 17 points and made four 3-pointers, against Kennedy of Sacramento in the Northern California Regional final.

Division II

J.W. North of Riverside vs. Archbishop Mitty of San Jose

J.W. North won only four games last season. Now the Huskies from Riverside (31-5) are one win away from a state championship. First-year coach Leonard De Coud guided J.W. North to its first state championship appearance in school history. The Huskies beat Santa Ana Foothill, 57-49, in the Southern California Regional final. Priscilla Brooks led J.W. North with 17 points against Foothill. Archbishop Mitty (27-5) is making its ninth appearance in the CIF state championship game and its first since 2008. Kelli Hayes scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds against St. Mary’s from Stockton in the Northern California Regional final.

Division III

Laguna Hills vs. Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland

Laguna Hills (26-8) has won 11 games in a row, including the Southern Section Division 3AA championship over Alemany. The Hawks are making their first CIF state finals appearance since 1997. Laguna Hills beat Brea Olinda in the Southern California Regional Division II final that year to advance to the state championship. This time around, Laguna Hills beat Mission Bay, 75-69, to advance to the Division III championship. Bishop O’Dowd (29-3) is making its second trip in a row to the Division III state final. The Dragons lost to St. Joseph from Santa Maria, 53-42, in last year's state championship. They have won 21 of their past 22 games and held three opponents to nine points or fewer.

Division V

Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo vs. Brookside Christian of Stockton

Mission Prep (32-1) is enjoying a bit of a rebirth. The Royals are making their seventh CIF state final appearance and their first since 2008. Coach John Krossa took Mission Prep to the CIF State Division V championship game in 2008 and lost to Branson. Mission Prep made its first trip to the CIF state championship game in 1989 and went in back-to-back years in 2003 and 2004. Brookside Christian (29-4) won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship, 63-51, over Turlock Christian. The Knights advanced to the CIF State championship game with a 55-38 win over Eastside College Prep.

Here is a look at the CIF State championship schedule at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento:

Friday, March 23

6 p.m. Division II Girls J. W. North (Riverside) vs. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)

Saturday, March 24

9:30 a.m. Division V Girls Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo) vs. Brookside Christian (Stockton)

1 p.m. Division III Girls Laguna Hills vs. Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland)

6 p.m. Division I Girls Mater Dei (Santa Ana) vs. Berkeley