Empire Girls’ Basketball Greats Meet in SSU, Pomona Game

Posted By Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:

One player shy of an All-Empire team, former prep standouts played key roles in the Sonoma State-Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball contest in Rohnert Park on Thursday.

Aly Henington

Sarah Semenero – Sonoma Valley — sparked a second half surge and scored a career high 11 points to pace Pomona to the win.

Aly Henington – Maria Carrillo — again was Sonoma State’s second leading scorer with a dozen points.

Charlene Popoff—Windsor — started for Pomona. Kaitlin Derby – Petaluma – came off the bench for the Broncos.

A rare meeting of so many former Sonoma County prep standouts, the game was tight throughout the first half with the Seawolves and Broncos tied at 26 going into the second half.

Sonoma State took an early 31-28 lead on a three-pointer from Jaclyn Bisordi. But the Broncos responded with to a 9-0 run – a pair of Semenero 3-pointers and her free throw accounted for seven of those points.

In addition to her career-best point total, Semenero added three rebounds and two steals in Pomona’s 70-50 win.

“It was great to be playing in front of my friends and family here,” Semenero said on the Pomona website. “It was important for our team to bounce back from the loss last week and it’ll give us some momentum going into Saturday’s game against Humboldt.”

After winning six straight, Pomona fell to Cal State Monterey Bay before getting the win Thursday. Pomona is 7-2 overall and 4-1 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

Recovering from a knee injury that sidelined her for the Sonoma State games last season, Semenero is getting confidence back on the court and with her shot.

Semenero and Derby, both juniors, come off the bench for Pomona.

Joining the pair on the Pomona squad is Popoff, who starred at Santa Rosa Junior College the past two seasons. As a sophomore, she led the Bear Cubs to the Big 8 Conference title and the California junior college final four. She earned the league’s Most Valuable Player honor and was selected to the All-State team.

The three Pomona players were All-Empire in 2008. Henington was All-Empire a season earlier.

A teammate of Popoff’s at Santa Rosa Junior College, Henington was more of a rebounder and shot blocker for the Bear Cubs. She has found her stroke at Sonoma State. Second on the team in scoring, Henington averages 10 points and is second for the Seawolves in 3-point goals and percentage.

With the loss, Sonoma State fell to 4-7 overall and 2-5 in conference play.

The Seawolves are back in action at home Saturday against Cal State San Bernardino. Game time is 5:30 p.m.