NBL girls basketball: Santa Rosa wins 17th straight

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Santa Rosa High’s Lady Panthers, the winningest team in the Redwood Empire, made it 17 in a row Friday night with a 66-25 win over visiting Ukiah.

The victory improved the Panthers’ record to 23-1, while the next-best mark in the Empire belongs to the Willits boys (20-2).

Santa Rosa took care of business from the start against Ukiah, scoring the game’s first 23 points.

The Wildcats finally got on the scoreboard with 10 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

“Our game plan was to come out fast and we did that,” coach Steve Chisholm said.

Freshman Emily Codding led the way with seven points and junior Kylie Oden had six.

Santa Rosa began the second quarter with six straight, four of those by center Morgan Bertsch.

In the second half, the lead never got below 30.

Bertsch, the tallest player on the court at 6-foot-4, was the game’s top scorer with 17. Teammate Devin Murray had 14 and Codding was also in double figures with 13.

Katie Daly, the reigning large-school Empire player of the year, finished with eight.

“This was an easy game for us,” said point guard Daly, “but we know there are tough games ahead.”

One of the tough games will be next Thursday at Cardinal Newman.

That contest will conclude North Bay League play for both teams and likely will decide whether Santa Rosa stands alone atop the standings or shares the title with Newman.

The Cardinals remained one game back in the standings by defeating Montgomery, 46-40, Friday night. When Santa Rosa and Newman played earlier in the season, the Panthers prevailed 57-41.

“Going to their place, we’re expecting a tough game,” Daly said. “We’re getting healthy and playing good ball, so we feel pretty good about things.”

Last year, Santa Rosa won the NBL at 12-2 and finished 23-7.

“Comparing our team last year to this one,” she said, “I’d say the difference is now we have all the pieces to the puzzle.”

Ukiah’s league record is 3-9 and 10-13 overall. Leading scorer for the Wildcats was Adriana Franco with 6. Rachel Ruddick and Ally Milone had four each.

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