Miramonte routs Analy in NCS girls tournament

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

SEBASTOPOL — It was déjà vu all over again for the Analy girls basketball team here Friday night and that was bad news for the Tigers faithful.

Analy's Kelley Benck drives between Miramonte's Carly Gill, left, and Devon Mcdonald, right, during the NCS playoffs held at Analy High School, Feb. 25, 2011. Miramonte beat Analy 75-46. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat)

For the second straight year, visiting Miramonte came to town and ousted Analy from the North Coast Section Division 3 playoffs in the quarterfinal round. This year, it was 75-46, while in 2010, the winning margin was only three points.

In the first quarter, it looked like the Tigers would avenge last year’s loss. They led 17-12 after one and held a 23-22 lead with 5:45 left until halftime.

However, it was downhill from there. The Matadors went on a 16-2 run leading to intermission and Analy never recovered.

In the blink of an eye, Miramonte forced four turnovers that were converted into eight points. Briana Alford put the Orinda team in front for good with a lay-up and that was followed by in-close baskets from Megan Reid, Taylor Kizziee and Alyssa Johanson.

The run continued as Analy never got closer than 17 after Jeannine Loutzenhizer opened the third quarter with back-to-back 3-point goals.

When the smoke had cleared, all Tigers coach Earl Pasamonte could do was shake his head and smile.

“That’s a very good team,” he said pointing to the Miramonte dressing room. “They didn’t do anything that surprised us, they’re just well-coached and keep coming after you.”

Miramonte, the No. 3 seed and now 22-5, finished third in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League and is coached by Kelly Sopak.

“One of the reasons we’ve had success is that we have a nine-player rotation,” he said. “We don’t lose anything going that deep. I sub in two, three or four players at a time which means we’ve always got fresh legs on the court.

“We play up-tempo on offense and like to press on defense. Once we got those steals in the second quarter and got the pace of the game quicker, I knew good things would continue to happen.”

Miramonte came in averaging 68 points per game.

Analy nailed four 3-point goals in the first quarter, two by Kelley Benck and one each by Katy Lowry and Molly Schuster.

“We had a couple of collapses in the second quarter and they took advantage,” said Benck, who led all scorers with 19. “Then, our shots stopped falling.”

Katy Lowry, who came in averaging a team-high 16, finished with 11.

“They’re a very good team,” the senior said. “We tried, but once they got the momentum, that was it.”

Analy went 12-0 in the Sonoma County League and at one point won 20 games in a row. The Tigers lost five of their first six games as they worked on reinventing themselves after losing last year’s Redwood Empire Player of the Year Jen Tsurumoto to graduation.

“This was the first time in school history that a girls team has gone undefeated in league,” Pasamonte said. “Right now, the girls are upset but I told them not to hang their heads. We accomplished something that’s never been done at Analy.

“We had a great season, we played as a team and all the players contributed. A coach couldn’t ask for more.”

Johanson led the Miramonte attack with 17 followed by Alford with 14 and Devon McDonald, 11.

The Matadors visit league rival and No. 2 Campolindo in Wednesday’s semifinal round.