Sac-Joaquin Section Saturday finals

Julia Blackshell-Fair and Kiana Moore both had big games for Vanden in its triumph over Antelope in Saturday's SJS D2 final at Sleep Train Arena. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Julia Blackshell-Fair and Kiana Moore both had big games for Vanden in its triumph over Antelope in Saturday’s SJS D2 final at Sleep Train Arena. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Division I sees national No. 1 St. Mary’s (Stockton) girls win ninth straight section championship while in the boys it was Modesto Christian making it three in a row with an avenging win against Folsom.

(Here are recaps of the six CIF Sac-Joaquin Section games played Saturday at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento)

Boys Division I:
Modesto Christian 61, Folsom 45

An 18-7 margin in the fourth quarter enabled the Crusaders to power past the Bulldogs for their third straight section title and their 18th in all division. Modesto Christian’s all-time record for section finals also improved to a hard-to-believe 18-2. In avenging its season-opening 53-51 loss to Folsom, the Crusaders (30-1) were too strong up front as 6-foot-10 Robinson Idehen had 18 points and 13 rebounds. Jay Chen also had a strong outing with 14 points that off-set a sub-par stat line for point guard Christian Ellis. He only had seven points but was saddled with first-half foul trouble. Folsom’s Jordan Ford had 19 points and five assists, but head coach Richard Midgley’s plan of double-teaming the point guard as soon as he crossed the half-court line took its toll in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs fell to 27-4.

Girls Division I:
St. Mary’s (Stockton) 94, St. Francis (Sacramento) 58

The heavy-underdog Troubadours were only down by 26-21 after the first quarter, but like everyone else so far that the Rams have played this season it was just a matter of time before the depth proved too much. St. Mary’s (27-0) opened it up with 27-13 and 28-11 margins in the second and third quarters en route to winning its ninth consecutive section title. If you’re wondering, the Rams still have a ways to go before approaching the Cal-Hi Sports state record of 16 section titles in a row set between 1993 and 2008 by Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo). St. Mary’s had perhaps its most balanced scoring of the season in the win, with six in double figures. Senior Kat Tudor led the parade with 14 points and seven rebounds. She was followed by Sierra Smith (13 points, nine steals); Aquira DeCosta (12 points); Neenah Young (12); Naje Murray (11); and Ariel Johnson (11).

Boys Division II:
Sacramento 72, Antelope 68

The Dragons (29-1, No. 10 overall in Cal-Hi Sports’ state ranking) survived in the closing seconds and won their seventh section title (six under current head coach Derek Swafford). Antelope’s Kai Tease tried a three-pointer with less than 10 seconds left that could have given the Titans a one-point lead, but the shot rimmed out. Christian Terrell grabbed the rebound for Sacramento and with 7.9 seconds left Jermaine Henderson cashed in on a pair of free throws to account for the final margin. Iowa State-bound Solomon Young, a Sacramento Bee Metro Player of the Year candidate, had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Dragons. Tease was hot on three-pointers throughout (5-of-8) and also had 25 for Antelope.

Boys Division IV:
Central Catholic (Modesto) 47, West Campus (Sacramento) 46

Isaiah Bates had a chance to win it for the Warriors with less than two seconds left but missed a turnaround shot from inside the lane as the Raiders held on to win their first section title in boys hoops since 1988. Central Catholic (25-5) had lost in its last two D4 title attempts to Capital Christian (moved up to D3 this year) but two of its players – juniors Jared Rice and Daron Bland – were on the Central Catholic football team that has won two straight CIF state football titles (D4 and Open Division small schools). Rice had nine points and six rebounds while Josh Hamilton led the way with 18 points. Amrit Dhaliwal contributed with 11. Darien Davis shined for West Campus (26-5) with 14 points and seven rebounds.

Girls Division II:
Vanden (Fairfield) 74, Antelope 54

The Titans came into the game at 29-1, but the Vikings (23-8) probably are the best team they’ve played so far. Vanden basically played like a team that has faced several teams that have been toward the very top of the state rankings (and a few top teams from other states). The Vikings, who won their first section D2 title after winning the section D3 crown last season, were led by Utah-bound guard Kiana Moore with 22 points and seven rebounds. Junior standout Julia Blackshell-Fair also had another big outing with 19 points, 14 rebounds and four assists while Brittney Livingston made 3-of-6 on three-pointers and had 17 points. Angelica Baylon had 16 points for the Titans with Nia Johnson adding 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Girls Division IV:
Brookside Christian (Stockton) 69, West Campus (Sacramento) 60

The Knights won the NorCal D4 title last year but didn’t win in the section. They did this time by pulling away from the Warriors (24-7) in the fourth quarter. Brookside Christian trailed at halftime by one point, but secured enough turnovers resulting in fast break points to beat an opponent that featured several top underclassmen. Aarion McDonald had 21 points and eight assists for Brookside while Zhane Lewis added 12 points and 16 rebounds.

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