Girls BB Regional Finals Previews

Mariya Moore is a dynamic talent for Division IV NorCal favorite Salesian of Richmond. Photo: Harold Abend.

Mariya Moore is a dynamic talent for Division IV NorCal favorite Salesian of Richmond. Photo: Harold Abend.

Windward vs. Mater Dei in the south, Bishop O’Dowd vs. Stockton St. Mary’s in the north serve as the final four for the first CIF Open Division state title. Read on for analysis of each division in each region.

By Mark Tennis
Contributing: Harold Abend, Ronnie Flores

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Saturday’s regional championships in girls basketball will be highlighted by the 6 p.m. open division showdowns at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento and Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.

The Northern California games at Sleep Train Arena also will include matchups in Division I and Division II. The same divisional finals also will be played in Southern California in Ontario.

For the first time, regional finals in Division III will be played at the smaller venue instead of the arena. In the North, those games (and those for Division IV and Division V) will be at new American Canyon High (near Napa). In the south, they’ll be played at Colony High of Ontario.

Saturday’s CIF Northern California championships at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento:

Girls Open Division
Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 28-3 vs. St. Mary’s (Stockton) 30-2

O’Dowd’s fairly lopsided win (80-59) over the Rams in January came in Oakland where the Dragons are even more difficult to beat. Will the spacious confines of Sleep Train make any difference? Maybe not because O’Dowd’s size advantage with 6-foot-4 Oderah Chidom, 6-foot-2 K.C. Waters and 6-foot-4 Breanna Brown is formidable anywhere. Still, something tells us this one is going to be much closer. The younger players from St. Mary’s, especially freshmen Kat Tudor and Angel Johnson, seem to be playing better in each and every game the last few weeks.

Girls Division I
Berkeley 21-11 vs. Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 28-4

It may be a new format with the open division, but in the end there’s good ‘ol Berkeley once again in a NorCal final. The Yellowjackets will be making their 16th regional title game appearance and will be going for their 12th NorCal crown. Oak Ridge is no stranger to this level, either, plus Ali Bettencourt and Haley Anderson are both playing well. Could another Oak Ridge-Long Beach Poly state final be in the cards?

Girls Division II
St. Francis (Mountain View) 23-8 vs. Lynbrook (San Jose) 24-5

Both teams were in the new CIF Central Coast Section open division playoffs. St. Francis beat Lynbrook 37-27 in the semifinals, then lost to Archbishop Mitty (open division team) in the final. If St. Francis wins, it would be another regional crown for head coach Brian Harrigan, who won six of them at Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco.

Saturday’s CIF Southern California championships at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario:

Girls Open Division
Windward (Los Angeles) 31-0 vs. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 30-1

It’s not going to be for a mythical national title due to Mater Dei’s loss to Etiwanda two weeks ago, but it is going to be No. 1 vs. No. 2 for the state and will involve some of the best underclass girls hoops’ talent in the nation – Windward juniors Jordin Canada and Kristen Simon and Mater Dei sisters Karlie (junior) and Katie Lou Samuelson (sophomore). Windward advanced with a 52-46 win on Tuesday at home over La Jolla Country Day. Mater Dei went to Santiago of Corona and took out the CIFSS Division I-AA champs with a 78-69 triumph. The Monarchs are attempting to win their fourth straight CIF state title and first in the open division.

Girls Division I
Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 28-5 vs. Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley) 23-9

Both the Jackrabbits and the Cougars won their games on Tuesday night to set up what could be a good contest. Keep in mind, though, that Poly beat Bishop Amat of La Puente 52-34 on Tuesday while Canyon Springs needed a bucket at the buzzer to beat the Lancers in the CIFSS Division I-A final.

Girls Division II
Ridgeview (Bakersfield) 29-3 vs. Lynwood 27-5

Get there early for this one to see Ridgeview’s Erica McCall, one of the best girls players in CIF Central Section history, the best shot blocker in state history (according to the Cal-Hi Sports record book) and one of the best rebounders in state history. Lynwood’s usual brand of tough, gritty play will be on display as well. Ridgeview won by two points over the Knights earlier this season. In Ridgeview’s 92-73 win Tuesday over J.W. North of Riverside, McCall had 32 points and 15 rebounds.

Saturday’s CIF Northern California championships at American Canyon High (near Napa):

Girls Division III
Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 25-6 vs. St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 21-10

The pressure will be on the Irish because they have already beaten their rivals from SI four times so far this season against no defeats. Sacred Heart won in its game Tuesday 59-40 over Campolindo of Moraga. The Wildcats knocked out 29-1 Enterprise of Redding 63-47.

Girls Division IV
Salesian (Richmond) 28-7 vs. Piedmont 24-9

Despite these two being close to each other, they haven’t played this season. Still, based on comparative scores, Salesian is regarded as a strong favorite and could be one of NorCal’s best hopes to get a state title the following week in Sacramento.

Girls Division V
Eastside College Prep (Palo Alto) 23-8 vs. Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) 22-7

For the fourth time this season, these two CCS rivals will meet. Eastside has won by 13, 14, 15. Anyone for 16? Eastside coaches would certainly take that, but Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler always knows how to get his teams to step up at this stage of the season.

Saturday’s CIF Southern California championships at Colony High (Ontario):

Girls Division III
Alemany (Mission Hills) 30-5 vs. Chaminade (West Hills) 30-3

This is one bracket that has played out completely as expected with these two league rivals getting to the final and playing for the third time. Alemany dominated Reseda 67-34 in its semifinal while Chaminade topped Agoura of Agoura Hills 65-53. Chaminade won the first game between the two 49-46 with the Warriors getting even later on 57-50.

Girls Division IV
Serra (Gardena) 27-6 vs. St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 27-7

Speaking of league rivals, these two fit the bill as well from the CIFSS Del Rey League. In fact, league rivals are playing in three of this week’s lower division girls regional finals and one more involves two teams that were in the same league last year. Serra won in its Tuesday game 52-43 over JSerra of San Juan Capistrano while St. Bernard defeated St. Monica Catholic 75-51. When these two played during the regular season, St. Bernard won 78-76, then Serra won 56-45.

Girls Division V
Horizon Christian (San Diego) 25-7 vs. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 24-9

Both teams cruised in their Tuesday semifinals to set up a matchup for this game that was anticipated back in January when our own Harold Abend saw both play. Harold even said that he believed the winner would probably win the D5 state title, which was even before the questionable move by the CIF to place defending champion Brookside Christian of Stockton into the open division.

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