Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
March 7, 2013It must be March as the typical 12th seed "upset" of a No. 5 seed, a game usually featuring two teams that really aren't that far apart, took hold and this time it happened in South Sacramento as the Kennedy Cougars fell to perennial power Berkeley in the NorCal regionals, 53-40.
This was the second straight year Berkeley eliminated Kennedy from post-season action (last season was a 56-38 win for the NorCal title) and its seventh straight victory over a Sac-Joaquin opponent in the regionals.
Berkeley, looking for it's 12th appearance in the state championship (which would break a record currently shared with Brea-Olinda) and a third state title, played like a team that had definitely been there before and will now move on to play McClymonds of the OAL, a 68-60 winner over Armijo-Fairfield, in second round action this Saturday night.
The game didn't quite have a play-off feel as the stands were probably one-third of full capacity, but it mattered not as senior forward Rachel Howard knocked down a couple of treys on her way to 15 points and harassed the Kennedy point guards.
Howard's efforts were matched by diminutive point guard Jaimonie Welch-Coleman who quarterbacked the Berkeley offense to perfection while utilizing a great crossover dribble to get consistently in the lane for short jumpers as Berkeley led the entire first half and went into the locker room with a 22-18 advantage.
A 10-1 run to start the second half, once again triggered by the play of the 5-foot-2 Welch-Coleman, who would finish with a game-high 17 points, gave Berkeley a 15-point lead it held the remainder of the game.
In that first half, Kennedy attempted, with limited success, to get the ball down on the block to 6-foot-2 center Daylana Tyler-Scott. It was a wise move seeing as the tallest player on the entire Berkeley roster stands just 5-foot-11, but Tyler-Scott, who did end the night with a team-high 13 points, missed some opportunities at point-blank range, and the same was the case all night for Kennedy.
While the Cougars were looking to get Tyler-Scott in a groove, they positioned Utah State-bound Lynette Johnson on the perimeter instead of taking advantage of her physical strength inside against Berkeley's Desiree Finnie.
Finnie, who would contribute a solid effort with 14 points, mostly from nice stop-and-pop baseline jumpers, is a long and willowy defender, yet Johnson might have had an opportunity to bull her way to the hoop if down on the low block more often but her chances to take advantage of her brawn over Berkeley's lean frontline were limited by the Yellowjackets' collapsing defense. With the exception of a couple of quick buckets near the end of the first half to keep the game close, Johnson caught the same cold spell as her teammates and finished with just nine points on the night.
On the other side, the 'Jackets executed well in their motion offense as they got easy buckets in the third quarter when they began to pull away from the Cougars.
Berkeley is known for its man-to-man pressure defense and this year is no exception as the 'Jackets make up for a lack of height (although with Howard defending the point guard spot, Berkeley had a 5-6 inch advantage at that position) with quickness and Berkeley utilized that to their advantage to consistently disrupt the Cougars' offensive flow as they beat Kennedy ball-handlers to the spot, turning them with regularity, to ended the Cougars' season.