Four of the six State Top 20 teams that played on Saturday at the St. Mary’s of Stockton Martin Luther King Girls Basketball Showcase were not able to get into the win column, but none of the results could really be called all that surprising.
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State No. 7 Carondelet of Concord played Folsom in what could have been called a trap game if there ever was one. The Cougars (17-3) probably have been putting in most of their preparations for their showdown with state No. 3 Archbishop Mitty coming on Monday and fell victim to a strong second-half outing by the Bulldogs and lost 59-47. It’s not as if Folsom (18-3) is a bad team, either. It’s had several other notable wins this season and has been in the State Top 20 earlier. We’ll have more details from this game in a different post since it was one of our three Fantag Games of the Week.
State No. 10 Etiwanda simply got swamped by one of the top teams in the nation. The Eagles lost 75-41 to Centennial of Las Vegas. Centennial also showcased one of the top players in the nation, senior forward Eboni Walker, who two weeks ago led head coach Karen Weitz’s team to a win over defending CIF Open Division state champ Windward of Los Angeles. Windward was No. 1 in the state at the time and was No. 4 this week. On Monday, Centennial will return to the Morelli Gym floor in Stockton to face state No. 11 Bishop Montgomery of Torrance. The Knights, however, will be moving up next week regardless of what happens vs. Centennial since they impressed in a win on Saturday over state No. 9 Salesian of Richmond at a different MLK weekend event in Oakland.
State No. 12 Miramonte of Orinda was in one of the early games Saturday in Stockton, led by as many as 17 points and then held on to beat Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas. Jordan Allred had one of her best outings of the season for the Matadors (19-2) with 19 points. Rebecca Welsh added 13 points while standout sophomore Mia Mastrov had 12 points, 17 rebounds and six steals. As a team, Miramonte canned 12 3-pointers in the game.
State No. 13 Clovis North of Fresno had a tough task in that head coach Heather Long took her girls up to Stockton on Saturday afternoon after suffering a 62-58 loss on Friday night to state No. 8 Clovis West in the first of what may be three attempts by her team to knock off their highly regarded Clovis Unified rivals. The Broncos played in the final game of the day and defeated Mission Hills of San Marcos 57-44. Their big two of Savannah Tucker and Rowan Hein, both juniors, both had solid outings. Tucker got to the free throw line often and finished with 18 points. Hein collected 14 points. Clovis North improved to 17-4.
For the host school and state No. 15 St. Mary’s of Stockton, it was another dip in what has been an up-and-down season for one of the youngest teams in head coach Tom Gonsalves’ tenure. The Rams not only lost to La Jolla Country Day, but the Torreys buried them 84-64. In one of the most inspiring outings we’ve seen, LJCD junior Te-Hina Paopao showed the many college coaches who were there to check on her that her progress from two knee injuries that prevented her from playing as a freshman and sophomore is coming along well. She made her first seven shots, kept scoring throughout and led the Torreys (14-8) with 32 points. Many of La Jolla Country Day’s losses early in the season came when Paopao with out with a different ankle injury or when the team was still coming together. With her continued improvement and with the way others on the team were drilling 3-pointers vs. the Rams, especially Destiny Villareal and Marisa Urbano-Sedlund, the Torreys have to be considered a threat to win the CIF San Diego Section Open Division. Despite the loss, St. Mary’s (14-5) still has enough quality wins and strength of schedule to remain as team to beat in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs. Folsom was the team the Rams defeated in last year’s section final and the way the Bulldogs played in their win Saturday vs. Carondelet they have to be considered a big-time threat to end St. Mary’s dominance in that section. Grand Canyon State commit Jada Moss topped the Rams in scoring vs. La Jolla Country Day with 16 points. Freshmen Tai Sherman (14 points) and Sophia Lee (10 points) also had their moments.
State No. 18 St. Joseph Notre Dame of Alameda also lost on Saturday in Stockton. The Pilots (13-4) fell to Bishop’s of La Jolla (the arch-rival of La Jolla Country Day) 55-51. Senior captain Madison Chang led the Knights (12-6) with 19 points, but the team’s freshman guard, Renee Chong, also had a strong outing and knocked down 17 points. Head coach Marlon Wells’ team started out only 1-3 at the La Jolla Country Day Sweet 16 tourney, but like its rivals have been playing more consistently in recent weeks, including a win over Folsom and the SoCal Holiday Classic. It’s bizarre that arguably one could say that four of the best six teams in San Diego (excluding Mt. Miguel of Spring Valley and Christian of El Cajon) were all seen on one day in one place more than 400 miles away, but that’s true. The other other two in Stockton besides LJCD and Bishop’s (who play each other next Friday) would be Cathedral Catholic and Mission Hills.
Speaking of Cathedral Catholic, the Dons (15-5) opened up the day in Stockton with a 68-54 victory over West Campus of Sacramento. West Campus, winners of CIF state titles in D4 and D3 the last two seasons, were powered by a fabulous outing from guard Gabby Rones, who pumped in 42 points.
In other games played Saturday in Stockton, Fairmont Prep of Anaheim topped San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno 61-57 while Mark Keppel of Alhambra downed Lincoln of Stockton 69-35. The local Trojans were playing their fifth game in seven days and probably left a lot of their energy for an upset attempt just two days earlier against St. Mary’s (the Rams held on 50-46). The Aztecs improved to 16-5 and have been on the State Top 20 bubble list so Lincoln might not have won even if the Trojans were well-rested. Fairmont Prep still has a losing record at 11-13, but at the Matt Denning Classic two weeks ago beat Keppel and then later only lost 68-62 to nationally ranked Windward.
Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He also is author of “High School Football In California,” which was No. 1 on Amazon.com’s list of bestsellers in the teen/young adult football category for several weeks after it was released. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports