Girls: Pinewood wins but not yet in final
Coming off an injury-plagued season, the Pinewood girls have qualified for the Central Coast Section Open Division championship game for the ninth time in a row.
After beating Palo Alto 54-46 at home on Monday night to improve to 2-0 in pool play, the Los Altos Hills school advances to Friday’s finals with a victory on Wednesday at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
If Pinewood loses, SHC will advance to the Finals unless Palo Alto defeats St. Ignatius on Wednesday.
If Palo Alto and SHC win, Pool B will finish in a tie for first place.
The tiebreaker goes to Palo Alto.
This is why:
Palo Alto would have had victories over No. 2 seed SHC and No. 6 seed St. Ignatius for a total of eight points.
SHC would have won No. 3 Pinewood and No. 6 SI for a total of nine points.
Pinewood would have wins over No. 6 SI and No. 7 Palo Alto for a total of 13 points.
The team with the lowest points (Palo Alto) advances.
“Interesting,” said Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler.
For Pinewood on Monday, Ava Uhrich had 15 points and 14 rebounds and Jolyn Ding scored all of her 13 points in the fourth quarter after three bouts of 0 for 10. She made eight free throws to stretch to freeze the win.
The Panthers also got 12 points from Alex Facelo and 11 from Lita Fakapelea.
The winner of Group B will compete in the final against the best placed Archbishop Mitty. The San Jose powerhouse secured its spot in the championship game with another defeat on Monday to win Pool A.
Scheppler said it would be a major achievement for his team to play in the final.
“If winning the league was a big achievement, this would be another crowning moment in our program because of what we’ve been through in terms of injuries,” said Scheppler.
Guys: the stakes are high for Mitty, Serra
When it comes to playoff basketball, it doesn’t get much better than a winner-takes-all game for a spot in a finals.
That is the case in Group A of the play-offs of the CCS Open Division.
Archbishop Mitty and Serra set up that scenario with comfortable home wins on Monday night to improve to 2-0 in the four-team pod.
No. 4 seed Serra beat No. 8 Santa Cruz 65-53 behind Ryan Pettis’s 22 points and Marcel Elicagaray’s 15. Top-seeded Mitty beat St. Ignatius 67-43 thanks to 23 points from Princeton-bound Derek Sangster and 19 from Gavin Rip.
The winner between Serra (16-10) and Mitty (21-4) on Wednesday will play the Pool B survivor on Friday night at Santa Clara University for the championship.
For Mitty coach Tim Kennedy, the showdown is a chance to take on his mentor Chuck Rapp, who gave the former Serra star his first coaching job by allowing Kennedy to join the school’s JV team in the mid-2000s. to coach.
“I had Tim practice with us on the varsity and guard (then Serra star) Decensae White, which made Decensae a better player,” Rapp recalled. “Then Tim took a quick shower and then came out to do the JV exercise.”
“I feel like I got coaching 101 with him,” Kennedy said of his time on Rapp’s staff. “I know how he prepares his teams, and they will always be ready to compete.”
If Mitty has to make it to an eighth CCS Open Division final, and fourth in a row, Kennedy thinks it will be a low-scoring grind. He laughed when asked if he thought the game would end 95-90.
“Offensively, you may not hit shots every game, but the way you fight and defend, you can always bring that out,” Kennedy said. “That’s something you have control over.”
Serra started 0–4 in the West Catholic Athletic League game, but won seven of the last 10 thanks to a newfound commitment to defense. Rapp also doesn’t expect the game to score highly. Mitty won the first two games between the teams, 54-33 and 67-56.
“When you play against a team three times, there aren’t many secrets,” Rapp said. “They have an idea of what we’re going to do, and we have an idea of what they are.”
Guys: Riordan bounces back. What now?
Archbishop Riordan needs help to defend the CCS Open Division title.
The Crusaders did their part on Monday, beating Menlo-Atherton 58-53.
Now the San Francisco school needs a win at home over Sacred Heart Prep and MA to win at home against Sacred Heart Cathedral – both games are Wednesday night – to advance to the Finals for the third consecutive season.
If SHP, SHC and Riordan tie in Pool B, SHC wins the tiebreak and plays in the final.
“I told Mike, ‘Give me one,'” Riordan coach Joe Curtin said of his request to MA coach Mike Molieri.
Riordan had four players score in double figures on Monday: Achilles Woodson (16), Andrew Hilman (12), Jasir Rencher (12) and Nathan Tshamala (10).
Mitty Girls: Monarchs keep getting better
Archbishop Mitty won for the 13th time in 26 games by over 40 points when it defeated Branham 78-24 in CCS Open Division pool play on Monday.
Last season’s team, which won the NorCal Open Division title, managed just nine such victories after its second game in the pool.
The same Branham team that had slipped past Los Gatos in a three-point thriller fared no better than Crystal Springs Uplands, who lost by 63 to Mitty on Friday.
Top-seeded Mitty (24-2) will host Los Gatos on Wednesday, a team that lost 39-25 to Crystal Springs on Monday-evening.
As if the Monarchs weren’t dominant enough already, superstar junior Morgan Cheli has returned from her near season-long absence with no signs of rust.
Cheli scored 13 runs against Branham (21-5), just days after throwing in 22 against Crystal Springs. Two of those points came on a play where she quickly spun around her defenseman down the baseline for a layup.
“Morgan is fast, agile and resilient… opposing players and coaches agree,” Mitty coach Sue Phillips wrote via text message.
Freshman phenom McKenna Woliczko, who came on the scene after Cheli’s December injury, scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds in just over half of the game. April Chan had eight points and Elana Weisman finished with seven points and nine rebounds.