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March 17, 2013Bishop O'Dowd remains on the top perch while St. Francis-Mountain View set a record while earning its first NorCal title as three regional champions were crowned at Sleep Train Pavilion.
Bishop O'Dowd and St. Mary's-Stockton were the top two ranked teams all year and will end the season that way after meeting up in a physical and fun NorCal Open Division championship game. For the second time in less than two months, the Dragons beat the Rams 58-50 after winning the earlier meeting by 21 points. It is the second straight regional title for the Dragons after they won Division III last year.
Oderah Chidom, the No. 1 player in the region and McDonald's All-American, had 17 points and 12 rebounds. She is a fluid athlete who catches the ball well and can finish from the post or off the catch. She did have five turnovers, but was the most productive big for the Dragons on a day they didn't really look inside. After a slow first half, Asha Thomas scored 11 points in the third quarter and finished with 16 points. She forced action at times with seven turnovers . Overall though, she is a composed sophomore who shot better than 50 percent.
The Rams were led by their two guards in Onome Jemerigbe and sophomore Bri Moore. Jemerigbe, a 4-star recruit headed to UC Santa Barbara, had 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting. She can get into the lane and sees the floor well. Moore went just 2-for-8 from the field for nine points, but has a good burst off her dribble and at times is a very tough cover in isolation situations. Moore is one of the top sophomores in Northern California. Freshman Kat Tudor had a team high 14 points on three made 3s. She is a shooter to watch out of the 2016 class.
Bishop O'Dowd will move on to play Windward next Saturday in a rematch of a December 29 meeting which Windward won 58-53 at the Oaks Christian tournament.
Berkeley wins third straight regional title
Oak Ridge got off to an 8-0 start, but Berkeley responded with a 22-1 run to gain control. The Yellowjackets led 31-15 and cruised to a 56-45 win over the Trojans. Berkeley was able to open up a double digit lead thanks to its full court pressure and easy points off 12 first half turnovers from Oak Ridge. It is Berkeley's fifth title in the last seven years and its 12th title overall. In a down year for the Yellowjackets, they will still be playing on the final weekend of the season.
San Francisco commit Rachel Howard was very good with 23 points, nine rebounds and four steals with a 3-for-4 showing from three point range. She has a smooth shooting stroke with range as well as being able to put it on the floor and play out on the perimeter defensively. She is ranked No. 10 in the 2013 class and the highest rated 3-star.
She teamed with junior forward Desire Finnie to form a potent inside duo. The 3-star junior had 14 points and eight rebounds in playing with a high activity level and showing some touch in the paint. If she can refine her offensive repertoire, there should be a number of West Coast mid-majors on her this summer. Jaimonie Welch Coleman had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Yellowjackets.
Oak Ridge was led by 17 points from junior Ali Bettencourt, who finished 4-for-15 from the field with five rebounds. Despite the poor shooting day, she is a non-ranked junior to watch. Michelle Barkley had a double-double of 10 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. As a team, Oak Ridge shot 29 percent from the field with 21 turnovers compared to just nine for Berkeley.
Berkeley will face Long Beach Poly in the Division I state finals on Friday night.
Lancers defense delivers NorCal title
Relying on a strong defense all year, St. Francis was able to lock down Lynbrook for a 44-19 win and the program's first NorCal title. It is the sixth title for head coach Brian Harrigan (he was five regional titles at Sacred Heart Cathedral) in his second year at St. Francis. The 19 points allowed is the lowest ever in NorCal title game.
After a slow offensive start, the Lancers started hitting mid-range and outside shots in the second half, led by Jennifer Lucian and her 12 points and six rebounds. After shooting no better than 41 percent through the first three quarters, the Lancers ended the game 8-for-11 in the fourth. Senior guard and first-team, All-West Coast Athletic League selection Shelbi Aimonetti had 15 points with three made threes. Senior Kate Hoey had six points and 11 rebounds to help the Lancers gain a +12 advantage on the glass.
5-foot-4 sophomore point guard Daisha Abdelkader showed promise in pushing the tempo, having an eye for finding the open teammate on the break and weaving around defenders. She had seven points and four rebounds.
Lynbrook, which lost 37-27 to St. Francis in the Central Coast Section Open Division, saw sophomore Sara Dyslin post team highs in points (seven) and rebounds (nine). Senior Jackie Hudepohl had four points and four rebounds, but also committed five turnovers.
The Lancers will play Lynwood next week after it beat Ridgeview 60-42 in the SoCal regional final.