Girls basketball extravaganza with 128 teams wrapped up earlier this week with 16 teams crowned as champions in a competitive equity format that has long been the norm and long before the CIF headed in that direction. Long Beach Poly and Brea Olinda made it a CIFSS sweep of the top two divisions, but another big winner was Antelope.
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Long before the California Interscholastic Federation and some of the CIF sections started using competitive equity as a formula for their football playoffs, the West Coast Jamboree girls basketball tournament went to a system using a formula that placed teams in divisions based on a very similar system using competitive equity along with input from the coaches themselves.
The goal of the Jamboree in using its formula to place teams is that everyone has a chance to go 2-1. Doing this for 128 teams in 16 divisions is no easy task, and although one team in each division is going to lose three games, the champions crowned were diverse and included teams from five of the 10 CIF sections.
Although eight of the nine venues and a large percentage of the teams are from the North Coast Section, only six of the champions were NCS teams. The Sac-Joaquin Section snagged four of the brackets, the Southern Section won three titles including the Jamboree’s top two divisions, the Northern Section had two champions and the Central Coast Section had one winner.
The tournament also had teams from Nevada, Oregon and Washington, and although none snagged a title all three were in the mix.
The nine venues were spread out with the longest distance between gyms 50 miles from Vallejo Jesse Bethel to Las Positas College in Livermore.
Championship Game Results:
Platinum – Long Beach Poly 55, Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 45 at Las Positas College
Diamond – Brea-Olinda (Brea) 65, Carondelet (Concord) 62 at Bentley in Lafayette
Gold – Antelope 57, Bishop Manogue (Reno, Nevada) 41 at Las Positas College
Amber – Turlock 42, Escalon 26 at Bentley
Amethyst – Encinal (Alameda) 61, Santa Rosa 52 at Jesse Bethel
Coral – Chico 65, Albany 52 at Berean Christian in Walnut Creek
Emerald – Castro Valley 50, Del Oro (Loomis) 49 at Castro Valley
Garnet – Mt. Shasta (Shasta City) 42, Berean Christian 37 at Berean Christian
Jade – Dougherty Valley (San Ramon) 40, Justin-Siena (Napa) 23 at College Park in Pleasant Hill
Onyx – St. Helena 32, Point Arena 29 at Ygnacio Valley in Concord
Pearl – Sierra (Manteca) 44, Los Banos 42 at Valley Christian in Dublin
Quartz – Concord 57, Middletown 47 at Alhambra in Martinez
Ruby – Sheldon (Eugene, Oregon) 67, St. Francis (Sacramento) 63 at College Park
Sapphire – Fairmont Prep (Anaheim) 82, Campolindo (Moraga) 58 at Ygnacio Valley
Topaz – Presentation (San Jose) 54, Scotts Valley 40 at Alhambra
Zircon – Dublin 71, Central (Fresno) 63 at Valley Christian
Long Beach Poly wins third Jamboree title
The Long Beach Poly girls won their third title in the Jamboree’s top bracket with a 55-45 Platinum Division title game victory over Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland on Wednesday at Las Positas College.
The Jackrabbits last won when they last played in the tournament in 2010 and also in 2003 when the late Judith Smith led Poly to an upset over national No. 1 Murry Bergtraum (Manhattan, New York) in one of the most exciting games in the history of the Jamboree.
This game didn’t have that kind of drama but it did mark the re-emergence of junior 6-3, post Ayanna Clark. After playing a sizeable role on the 2014 Poly CIF Open Division state champions, and then transferring out of Poly and sitting out her sophomore season, Clark is back at Poly, although she’s already had challenges that have led to a bit of a slow start. However, at the Jamboree, she showed why she was a finalist for the 2014 State Freshman of the Year honors.
The ESPN No. 2 rated 2017 big girl and USC-commit had three double-doubles and she’s just rounding into shape after missing the first two weeks of the season with a concussion. Against O’Dowd, she finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds and missed an entire quarter plus in the second half due to foul trouble. Clark pretty much had her way in a first half that saw her score 18 points and snag 10 rebounds while showing off a mid-range shot to go with her inside game.
Clark had 18 points and 14 rebounds in Poly’s 76-37 win over Brookside Christian (Stockton) and 15 points and 15 rebounds in a second round 63-42 rout of Sacramento. She was an easy choice as the David “Scoop” Jackson Most Valuable Player Award.
“She’s just rounding into shape and starting to play really well after missing that time with the concussion,” Poly head coach Carl Buggs said regarding Clark.
With Clark on the bench with foul trouble, Poly (8-3) got a big boost from junior Kyra Brady who had eight of her 12 points in the second half. Junior point guard Danae Miller directed the offense and led the defense and was named All Tournament as was senior Da’Jah Jackson.
O’Dowd (6-3) never quit and was in the game until the last few minutes. All the Dragon girls played hard but none was tougher then Myah Pace. Despite leaving the court groggy after getting kneed in the head, the 6-foot ESPN No. 11 rated wing came back after missing most of the third quarter to re-ignite an O’Dowd team that just didn’t quite do enough to win the game.
Pace, who already has offers from Arizona State, Michigan, Washington, San Francisco, and St. Mary’s, plus Ivy League schools Harvard, Princeton and Yale, finished with nine points and 10 rebounds and was named the Jim Capoot Memorial Award winner for sportsmanship and inspirational play, named in memory of the former Vallejo head coach who was killed in the line of duty in 2011 in his day job as a Vallejo police officer.
Besides Pace. the other O’Dowd players to make All Tournament were seniors Salihah Bey (team-high 12 points) and senior Mylah Andrade.
“We gave up too much on the glass and that offset our playing good defense,” was the assessment of the game by O’Dowd head coach Malik McCord.
Brea Olinda wins fourth Jamboree championship
Long Beach Poly may have won its third Jamboree title but Brea Olinda won its fourth and denied Carondelet a sixth one when the Ladycats beat the Cougars in an exciting 65-62 Diamond Division championship game victory at Bentley.
Although Brea Olinda (10-2) lost two games at the Nike TOC when Arizona State-committed senior Reili Richardson was sick, the 5-foot-7 senior point guard was at full strength for the Jamboree and earned the Diamond Division David “Scoop” Jackson MVP award after finishing with 22 points, seven assists and six steals in the Carondelet win. Sophomore Tyiona Watkins also had 22 points in the title-game victory.
The Ladycats were favored and came right out with a 10-2 run but by halftime the Cougars led by a point and were in it until the very end. Maaeva Dwiggins (10 points) scored to make it 62-62 with 43 seconds left but from there they could not score again and Brea Olinda got three free-throws including two by Watkins.
Briana Simonich, a 5-foot-11 junior forward, led Carondelet (6-5) with a double-double 21 points and 13 rebounds to earn the Diamond Division Jim Capoot Memorial award.
Antelope snags Gold Division title
Antelope made a case to be the No. 1 team in the Metro Sacramento area after winning the Gold Division title by pulling away from Bishop Manogue (Reno, Nevada) in a 57-41 title game victory.
Junior Nadia Johnson led Antelope (11-0) with 17 points and seven rebounds and together with her sister Nia Johnson (11 points, 11 rebounds) the pair took control in the late third and fourth quarter after the teams were tied 22-22 at halftime.
Antelope senior guard Angelica Baylon was also a big contributor after finishing with 18 points and five assists.
Both sisters were very solid in the first two games and trying to separate them for MVP honors proved too hard so for the first time in Jamboree history two girls shared the David “Scoop” Jackson MVP award.
Bishop Manogue (5-1) also came into the game undefeated but the superior size of Antelope eventually wore down the Lady Miners.
Two sets of undefeated teams that didn’t win a title
A strange twist to this year’s Jamboree was this was the first time two Platinum Division teams finished with 3-0 or undefeated records.
Because of an unfortunate travel snafu that caused defending Division 3 Washington state champion Lynnwood (Bothell) to have to drop into the consolation bracket after its 75-46 opening round Platinum Division win over Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco), that meant the girls would have a chance to go 3-0 but not play for the championship – and that’s exactly what happened.
After the opening round win, Lynnwood (9-0) then easily beat Oaks Christian, and Salesian (Richmond) gave it a game but it still resulted in an 85-71 victory on Wednesday in the Platinum Consolation championship.
A second team to go 3-0 and not win its division was Clackamas of Oregon. After opening with a 58-43 Emerald Division victory over St. Ignatius of San Francisco, the Cavaliers were a 48-37 winner over Del Oro of Loomis.
Somehow, just like Lynnwood, however, it was realized the girls could not play for the championship or they would miss their flight home. So, a decision was made to allow Del Oro to proceed to the championship game where it lost in a nail-biter, 50-49, to host Castro Valley.
Clackamas (7-3), a division favorite, instead played in the earlier third-place game and was an easy 69-45 winner over Los Gatos.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend