Girls: Mt. Diablo stun No. 1 seed Berean Christian
How many times have we heard over the years that it’s hard to beat a team three times in one season? Mt. Diablo proved on Friday night that something is up there.
After two regular-season losses to Berean Christian, including one by 17 points, eighth-seeded Mt. Diablo defeated the top-seeded Eagles in the quarterfinals of the North Coast Section Division V playoffs 47-44 on Friday night.
The Red Devils (17-11) defeated Berean 26-14 in the second half.
MD visits No. 4 seed Upper Lake on Tuesday (27-1).
“We went in expecting to win,” coach Ronnie McGee said. “We played with a lot of resilience. At one point we were nine behind.”
Halfway through, the Red Devils trailed 30-21. After three quarters, they came back to 37-31.
A diamond-and-a defense after the break did the trick. Makayla Powell led the effort, holding Berean Christian star Gabrielle Abigor to 13 points. Powell had 12 rebounds.
Offensively, Natalie Dance, a 5-foot-1 sophomore point guard, led MD with 27 points. Stephanie Zuniga added 11 points, including two three-pointers in the fourth quarter. She and Jorena Olivar each had four steals.
Berean Christian went 22-5 this season.
Girls: Granada upsets No. 2 California
Junior forward Cassidy Bartolotto scored 20 points to lead the seventh-seeded Matadors past the second-seeded Grizzlies on their home floor in an NCS Division I quarterfinal game.
Granada (16-12) played a hard defense and allowed California (18-10) to score in double digits in only the fourth quarter as the Grizzlies scored 11 points.
Alexa Pletschette had 11 points for Granada, all in the second half, including three 3-point baskets.
For California, who won a 54-46 victory over Granada on January 20 in an East Bay Athletic League game, Trinity Chu had 14 points and Taylor Lim had nine – all on 3-point baskets.
Boys: Clayton Valley coach praises Pittsburg
Clayton Valley Charter coach Frank Allocco Jr. wasn’t too surprised when he found out on Friday that his top-seeded team would host No. 12 Pittsburg in the semifinals of NCS Division I.
The Pirates have gone on a Cinderella run, following their win over No. 5 seed Berkeley on Tuesday with a win over No. 13 seed James Logan on Friday.
“I’ve been going for a long time and I knew going into these playoffs that there are a lot of good teams,” said Allocco.
Clayton Valley opened the season with a road win over Pittsburg. Although the Ugly Eagles won by 15, Allocco said the Pirates presented a challenge.
“They’re athletic and fast, they can really move up and down the field,” he said. “The first time they played against us, they harassed us a bit with their zone pressure and their pressure. They play hard and go for rebounds.”
Pinole Valley boys, girls reach semifinals
There was a lot of excitement within the Pinole Valley basketball programs when the NCS seeding was announced Sunday.
After a strong regular season, both tears were rewarded with No. 2 seeds.
So far, so good for both of them as they each continued in Division III on Friday and will play host to semi-finals on Tuesday.
The Pinole Valley boys avenged a season-ending 11-point win against Hayward in the playoffs last year by beating Hayward 70-21.
In the earlier Friday game, the Pinole Valley girls settled things by beating Maria Carillo 39-19.
On Tuesday, the girls host San Marin at 5:30 p.m. and follow the boys with a game against St. Patrick-St. Vincent at 7 p.m
Closing shots: girls cruise San Leandro
In what was expected to be a fairly even game, the San Leandro girls ran away from Alameda in the second half to win 44-25 in a Division I quarterfinal. The Pirates (20-8) will face No. 1 seed Monte Vista. Senior guard Geriah Bradley had 18 points for San Leandro. Heaven Payton and Lisette Lopez each scored nine. Alameda fell to 13-9. The Hornets and San Leandro split two games during the regular season, but the Pirates won the second game they played by 17 points. Both teams were 5-5 in the West Alameda County Conference Foothill Division, but San Leandro was the hot team going into the playoffs. The Pirates have won seven of their last eight.