Saturday’s events inside the Pyramid at Long Beach State featured four teams from Division 1, and the Open, clinching births in the CIF Basketball State Championships on March 24 in Sacramento at the Golden 1 Center.
Girls’ Division 1 regional final: Windward vs. Ventura
“I have Charisma Osborne, and you don’t,” Windward Coach Vanessa Nygaard said after her team’s 61-43 victory over Ventura in the Division 1 regional finals. This statement perfectly summed up Windward’s domination throughout the entire game, led by Osborne with 35 points.
Just a sophomore, Osborne had no fear under the bright lights of the Pyramid at Cal State Long Beach.
“I just tried to have an attack mentality, and my teammates got me open by setting good screens,” she said.
Aubrey Knight and Emily Herring, each with 9 points, as well as Svannah Page, with 10 points, starred for Ventura in a losing effort.
“We didn’t play very well but we can’t go back on that game, they played really good defense and we can’t change that,” Knight said.
For the first few minutes of actions, Ventura played full court pressure defense, but Windward handled it well. Myrrah Joseph looked to post up early and often for Windward, and Osborne came out of the gates shooting well from the outside. After a nice run to end the first quarter, Windward possessed a 12-9 advantage.
Osborne continued to score at will during the second, and also played lock down defense against Ventura’s Savannah Page. Ventura kept playing hard, but couldn’t get many shots to fall and trailed 25-19 heading into halftime.
By playing complete team ball on both ends of the floor, Windward began to dismantle Ventura in the third quarter and led 46-30 after three. Ventura began the final quarter with spurts of intensity, but still couldn’t find the bottom of the net. For the game, they shot just 40 percent from the field and 18 percent on 3-pointers.
With the victory, Windward advances to take on McClatchy in the D1 state title game on March 24.
Boys’ Division 1 regional final: Roosevelt vs. Centennial
Down 60-58 with 1:13 remaining, Corona Centennial needed a momentum swinger against Roosevelt in the Boys D1 regional final. Instead, a deflating turnover led to a Matt Mitchell slam on the other end to give Roosevelt a clear advantage down the stretch. Two pairs of Mitchell free throws iced the game, and a 68-65 final secured the regional championship for Roosevelt.
Mitchell, with 35 points, and Jemarl Baker, with 17 points, dominated for Roosevelt from start to finish.
“The intensity was high and we just had to come out and get the win, which we ended up doing,” Mitchell said.
For Centennial Coach John Giles, this was his team’s fifth shot of the season against Roosevelt.
“Losing to the same team five times it tough, every single game it played out just like it did this afternoon.” He added, “being right there with a chance to win, and we would make a play that lost it for us while they would make a play that won it for them.”
Centennial senior big man and UCLA signee Jalen Hill (19 points) got off to a fast start, but Roosevelt instantly matched his athleticism with Mitchell and Baker leading the attack. Both teams shot well to start, and an initial Roosevelt run was matched by Centennial to make it 17-17 after one.
Baker penetrated early and often throughout the second, and the team followed his lead. However, Centennial began gaining momentum by turning Roosevelt over, thanks to great team defense. At the half, Centennial found themselves up by three with a 33-30 advantage.
The second half saw both teams’ athleticism shine through, but a Jemarl Baker led run gave Roosevelt a slight edge as the quarter winded down. A tense environment persisted for the rest of the third, and carried over through the final quarter.
Roosevelt’s victory ensures them a spot in the Boys Division 1 state title game, against James Logan (Union City, Cailf.) next weekend in Sacramento.
Girls’ Open Division regional final: Clovis West vs. Long Beach Poly
As a small public school from Fresno, Calif. the Clovis West Eagles were in an unfamiliar environment in Saturday’s girls’ Open Division regional final against highly decorated Long Beach Poly. The Eagles clearly weren’t phased by any of those outside distractions, however, beating Poly by a final score of 53-44.
With the game being played in Long Beach, the majority of fans would’ve thought to have been Poly supporters. Even with a good turnout of Poly fans, the Pyramid was rocking with the Clovis West faithful, from tip until the final buzzer.
“Tonight, that was a pro Clovis West crowd, they were loud and our community has done a tremendous job supporting these kids,” Clovis Coach Craig Campbell said. “It’s been real special for us, representing our community and the valley.”
Sarah Bates and Megan Anderson led the Eagles with 10 points apiece, and point guard Danae Marquez chipped in with six.
“I knew I needed to value the ball and the possession, no turnovers and execute on the offensive end,” Marquez said.
Jasmine Jones scored 13 points for Poly, and snatched 17 rebounds. While Jones filled up the stat sheet, she was disappointed in her performance at the line (1 for 5).
“I missed free throws, I wasn’t focused, which is something I need to get better at as a person and player,” said Jones.
Poly Coach Carl Buggs added, “I’m proud of my girls, they played with a lot of heart and didn’t quit, battled to the end.”
With the teams going back and forth several minutes into the fourth quarter, Clovis was trying to hang on to a 44-39 lead. Poly wouldn’t give up, playing tough and scrappy until the final buzzer. Clovis handled some pressure from Poly late, and capitalized on every opportunity to win the regional title.
Clovis West advances to play Archbishop Mitty in the Open Division state championship, March 25 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
Boys Open Division regional final: Bishop Montgomery vs. Mater Dei
Coming off a disappointing loss to Bishop Montgomery in the CIF SS title game a few weeks ago, Mater Dei looked to redeem themselves as the two teams met again Saturday night.
With a regional title and trip to Sacramento on the line, Montgomery took down Mater Dei, 60-53. For the second time, both teams played neck and neck until the last few minutes, where Montgomery won the game on a huge run.
The teams traded baskets throughout the first half, however a critical mistake by Mater Dei gave Montgomery momentum heading into halftime. After a basket in the final seconds by Reagan Lundeen, junior guard CJ Parks fouled Montgomery’s Ethan Thompson with 0.2 left on the clock from 75 feet out, and he converted on all three free throws to put Montgomery up 23-22 at the half.
Down the stretch, senior David Singleton (13 points) nailed shot after shot for Montgomery, and Mater Dei had no answer.
“I just have faith in my shot, it was a rough start but I knew if I just kept shooting I would knock them down eventually,” he said.
After scoring 21 points for Mater Dei, senior forward Justice Sueing fouled out with 1:21 remaining. A Lundeen basket for Mater Dei was offset by two made free throws from Montgomery’s Gianni Hunt, making the score 55-49. Spencer Freedman (16 points) drew a foul and knocked in two free throws, but wasn’t done yet.
Stealing the ball right back, Freedman converted a layup to cut Montgomery’s lead to just two. Forced to foul with just seconds left, senior Matthew Weyand was called for an offensive foul, which swung all momentum back in favor of the Knights.
Two Singleton free throws pushed his team’s lead back to five, and moments later in a controversial call, Weyand was again called for an offensive foul, handing the ball right back to Bishop.
Jordan Schakel iced the regional title for Montgomery, and a trip to face Woodcreek (Roseville, Cailf.) in Sacramento for the state championship next Saturday night. Montgomery’s three senior stars (Ethan Thompson, David Singleton, and Jordan Schakel), all went to Sacramento as freshman, but haven’t been back since.
“It’s a great feeling to be going back to Sacramento, with this group of guys and coaching staff,” Thompson said.