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March 9, 2014
Second half run lifts O'Dowd
After a first half that did little to separate the two teams, Bishop O'Dowd asserted itself in the second half and ultimately took home the NCS Division III Championship on Saturday afternoon.
The Dragons defeated EL Cerrito 89-69 to win their fourth NCS title in the past five seasons.
"It feels great," senior Shane Farley said. "The girls got screwed with that extra game in the NCS so we really wanted to come out and do it for them."
Farley had 12 points of his own, but it was Bishop O'Dowd power forward Ivan Rabb that stole the show.
Rabb scored a game high 29 points, 16 of which came in the second half.
The game started off on a torrid and balanced pace. Eight different players scored the first eight baskets. Just two points separated the two teams at half and it appeared the game was going to go down to the wire. However, El Cerrito found itself in foul trouble early in the second half.
Bishop O'Dowd spent the entire fourth quarter in the bonus and did not squander the opportunity.
"That was huge," Farley said. "We got most of their important players into foul trouble and they had to go to their bench early."
While the NCS title is certainly nice, Bishop O'Dowd still has some work to do in order to accomplish their ultimate goal - a California state championship.
Then again, if the Dragons, who have now won 21 straight, keep playing the way they have been lately, they may be well on their way.
"We're playing as a team," Farley said. "We are passing and moving the ball around. That's what is going to take us to state."
Cougars Escape Concord
Concord gave Newark Memorial all it could handle, but at the end of the game it was the Cougars celebrating their third straight NCS Division II Championship.
"It's a great win," Cougars senior Joey Frenchwood said after the 74-70 victory. "This is three for me, back-to-back-to-back. It's a real good feeling for me especially in my senior year."
Newark was favored to win the game, but Concord - aided by a strong student section - put up a tremendous effort and appeared poised to pull off the upset as they led 52-46 after three quarters of play.
Frenchwood led all scorers with 24 points - several of which came when his team needed them most.
The 6-foot senior broke the tie with some free throws at the 3:30 second mark. Then he broke another tie when he laid the ball-up with just 33.3 seconds left in the contest. And ultimately he iced the game with some more points from the charity stripe.
While some may be nervous standing alone at the free throw line with a championship on the line, Frenchwood claims he was calm and stated "I can hit do it in my sleep."
Although it may take them a while to reflect on how well they did play, Concord had a great game.
Senior Siaan Rojas led the Minutemen with 19 points while senior Spencer Clark and sophomore Dru Solis added 18 and 14 points of their own.
The Minutemen led in the third quarter and briefly in the beginning of the fourth, but once the Cougars reasserted themselves on top, Concord was never able to regain their momentum.
An NCS Championship may be a familiar feeling for Newark Memorial, but each of the last two seasons has ended with disappointment in the state tournament.