Los Angeles Preps: Kelli Hayes

J.W. North girls fall short in title game

March, 23, 2012

SACRAMENTO – If John Wooden was considered the Wizard of Westwood, Leonard De Coud might be the Wizard of Riverside.

De Coud turned a four-win team into a CIF state title contender in a matter of months. The J.W. North girls' basketball team came within a basket of winning the Division II state title at Power Balance Pavilion on Friday.

Archbishop Mitty won the CIF State Division II girls' basketball championship, 56-54, surviving a second-half, 3-point barrage from J.W. North. After the game, De Coud said his girls are not a one-season wonder.

“This is a win for this program,” De Coud said. “We will be back here next year. Count on it.”

J.W. North (30-6) hit five 3-pointers in the second half after going 0-for-4 in the first half. Akilah Martin drained three 3-pointers and scored 11 points for J.W. North. Her 3-pointer with 3:50 to play in the third quarter gave J.W. North a 29-28 lead, its first since the first quarter.

The Huskies had a 1-0 lead in the first quarter before Archbishop Mitty built a 9-4 edge. J.W. North trailed until the third quarter, but Archbishop Mitty never led by more than five points in the first half and let J.W. North hang around.

“We ran our offense,” De Coud said. “We got out of sync of what we normally do on offense.”

Archbishop Mitty (28-5) was up 22-19 at halftime. Neither team shot well in the first half. J.W. North was 8-for-25 (32 percent) from the field in the first half. Archbishop Mitty was 10-for-32 from the field, taking seven more shots, but making only 31 percent of them.

Emily Dinger opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to give Archbishop Mitty a six-point lead, 25-19. But Brittany Crain answered right back for J.W. North with a 3-pointer. The two teams exchanged the lead four times before the end of the third quarter.

Archbishop Mitty started the final period with a two-point lead, 36-34, and maintained it through a high-scoring fourth quarter.

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CIF state girls basketball finals preview

March, 21, 2012
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.

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