Girls BB: Recognizing Some Classics

The Third Annual Recognize Game Classic at Merritt College in Oakland on Saturday had five teams ranked in the most recent Cal-Hi Sports State Top 25 rankings in action, and as expected four of the top-ranked teams that were favored came out victorious. We were honored to be asked to announce the six games contested and name each game’s MVP on behalf of Cal-Hi Sports.

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Sofia Bowes had an impactful first half for San Ramon Valley in its big win vs Sacred Heart Cathedral. Photo: Harold Abend.

No. 9 San Ramon Valley (Danville) 72,
No. 14 Sacred Heart Cathedral (SF) 52

After going back and forth early on, Cal-Hi Sports No. 9 ranked San Ramon Valley (7-1) opened the second quarter on a 16-0 run that turned an 18-13 first quarter lead to a 34-13 advantage that ended up at 41-17 at the half. From there, the Wolves pretty much coasted to the finish line.

San Ramon Valley senior Amanda Kerner had a game-high 18 points (four 3-pointers) but all but five of her points came in the second half when the Wolves were already pretty much on cruise control. Because she took charge of the game with all 13 points (three 3-pointers), eight rebounds with a block and an assist coming in the first two quarters, senior Sofia Bowes was named the MVP despite twisting an ankle early in the third quarter that sent her to the bench for the remainder of the game.

“Sofia took control early on in the game and her play was key in the first half,” said San Ramon Valley head coach Joe Cristano. “She deserved the MVP.”

Wolves senior Sierra Chambers had 14 points, five rebound and two assists, and senior Avery Knapp added 11 points, five rebounds, four rebounds and two assists.

Sacred Heart Cathedral (7-1) got 14 points and eight rebounds from junior Madison Eade and 12 points (two 3-pointers) with two steals from junior Aniyah Versosa.

New Mexico-committed Sacred Heart Cathedral senior guard Reza Po was swarmed by the San Ramon Valley defense and held to a single basket and two free throws.

No. 11 Acalanes (Lafayette) 77, Caruthers 51

The small school girls from Caruthers played their hearts out but they were no match for an Acalanes team that has a lone 5-point loss to No. 6 St. Mary’s of Stockton.

Leading 3-2, Acalanes (8-1) went on a 10-0 run and led by as many as 28 points in a decisive victory.

Junior center Ariana Hallstrom showed a complete game and earned MVP honors after going for what turned out to be a Recognize Classic Game high 26 points, including three 3-pointers, five rebounds, four steals and an assist.

Several other Dons had solid games. Standout juniors Sophie Chin and Dulci Vail added 21 points, six rebounds and three steals, and 12 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Caruthers had three girls with nine points — junior Mia Mola (six rebounds) freshman Jaylee Moore (five rebounds) and senior Gizelle Aguirre.

Caruthers (2-3) has not shied away from tough competition. Of its three losses, this was the most lopsided. The other two were to 49-42 to state No. 18 ranked Brentwood (Los Angeles) and 54-48 to a Texas Episcopal team that boasts Shaq’s daughter, Me’arah O’Neal.

Jayla Stokes had 19 points in the battle for Oakland supremacy won by Bishop O’Dowd over Oakland Tech. Photo: Harold Abend / Cal-Hi Sports.

No. 12 Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 58,
Oakland Tech 40

The final score doesn’t really indicate the competitiveness of this game we dubbed “the battle for Oaktown” after Bishop O’Dowd pulled away in the fourth quarter over an Oakland Tech team that’s been taking its lumps.

Both teams were missing top players. O’Dowd is without solid sophomore guard Lizzy Quinteros indefinitely. She suffered a knee injury in a late November win over Sacramento McClatchy. Oakland Tech has been without senior star Taliyah Logwood. According to Bulldogs head coach Leroy Hurt and confirmed by Logwood, she should be back from a non-season ending knee injury in approximately two weeks.

Sophomore guard Jayla Stokes led Bishop O’Dowd (4-1) with a game-high 19 points on five three-pointers with six steals and four rebounds. For her efforts Stokes was named the MVP of the game.

The only other Dragons’ player in double-figure scoring was senior Savannah Jones with 13 points plus four rebounds, three assists and three steals.

O’Dowd ran out to a 13-2 lead but Tech fought back with a 10-0 run to close it to 15-12 after one quarter. The run got to 21-6 and the Bulldogs took their biggest lead at 23-19 midway through the second quarter. However, in a game of runs, the Dragons closed the half on a 10-0 run and led 29-23 at the intermission.

Oakland Tech had a 6-0 run to open the second half to knot things at 29-apiece, but O’Dowd answered with a 10-2 run to make it 39-31 midway through the third quarter.

The Bulldogs closed it to 41-35 near the end of the third but that would be as close as they would get. From there they kind of ran out of gas and gave up a 9-0 run that made it 50-35, and at that point the deal was pretty much done.

Oakland Tech (4-6) got solid production from its two sophomore stars, Terri’A Russell and Jhai Johnson, but only four other girls scored and ball handling was and has been a problem for the Bulldogs this season, particularly with Logwood out. Russell had 14 points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block, and Johnson added 13 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks.

No. 15 Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 72,
Liberty (Brentwood) 26

This one was pretty much the Kate Schat show after the Cardinals’ junior standout scored the game’s first seven points and 13 in a first quarter alone that saw Newman bolt out to a 19-5 lead that got to 45-14 at the half. In the end it was the only game at the Recognize Game Classic to go to a running clock after Newman stretched it to 66-23 after three quarters.

Schat probably could have gone for a lot more points but Cardinals head coach Monica Mertle emptied the bench and removed Scat after she dropped in a three-pointer early in the third quarter.

Schat, who is starting to get some additional college interest after a solid summer and fall, was an obvious MVP after finishing with 24 points (three 3-pointers), five assists and two rebounds.

Cardinal Newman (8-2) was an overwhelming favorite coming in, and it seemed like an odd match-up for a showcase event, and Mertle knew that coming in, but she took it in stride.

“I’m ok with it,” Mertle remarked. “It gave me a chance to play my young ones.”

Besides Schat, nine other Cardinals scored led by senior Janelle Pena with 15 points plus seven rebounds and two steals.

Liberty (2-6) got seven points from senior Lea Salinas Beamen.

Eureka 75, McNair (Stockton) 41

The Eureka girls from Behind the Redwood Curtain bolted out to a 13-0 lead and never looked back in an easy victory.

McNair got it down to 20-12 in the early second quarter but by halftime it was 38-19 and a 13-4 run by Eureka to open the second half allowed the Loggers to coast home.

Junior Samara Gaither took home MVP honors after leading Eureka (11-1) with 20 points. Senior Isis Poteet added 14 points and senior Kaitlin Giacone finished with 13 points.

McNair (1-8) was led by sophomore Anjulie Navarro with 16 points including four three-pointers.

Priory (Portola Valley) 69,
Cornerstone Christian (Antioch) 46

Priory (5-2) opened an 8-0 lead that ballooned to 13-1 and by the end of the first quarter it was 25-11 and that would be the closest McNair would get.

Sophomore point guard Adelaide Chan had nine of her game-high 18 points (three 3-pointers) in the first quarter and earned MVP honors for the game mostly due to the fact she took charge early and set the tone for the game.

The young Panthers, with only one senior on the roster, had three other players in double-figure scoring led by Ugreat Daniels with 17 points. Sophomore Jordyn Moss and senior post Carmela Fontes had 15 and 10 points, respectively.

Cornerstone Christian (9-1) lost for the first time this season. The Cougars were led by the Alexander sisters. Sophomore Laila Alexander had 13 points and senior Mecca Alexander added 12 points.

Harold Abend is the associate editor of and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend

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