CIF girls basketball: State title dreams end for three Empire teams

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The basketball season ended Saturday night for the three Redwood Empire high school girls teams that were still competing in the CIF State Tournament.

Santa Rosa lost at Deer Valley, 71-56, while Cardinal Newman was defeated by Scotts Valley, 58-48, and St. Vincent was on the short end of a 68-39 score at Eastside College Prep.

Santa Rosa, the No. 9 seed in Division 1, dug itself a hole at the start against top-seeded Deer Valley. Playing before the home crowd in Antioch, the Wolverines raced to a 30-13 lead after one quarter.

Over the next three periods, Santa Rosa outscored Deer Valley 43-41. Morgan Bertsch wrapped up her high school career with a team-high 18 points. That’s one point above her average.

Freshman Sara Howard contributed 12 and senior Devin Murray had 11.

The Panthers end the season 28-5 while Deer Valley goes to the NorCal semifinal round with a 24-5 record.

Like Santa Rosa, Cardinal Newman was a No. 9 seed playing a No. 1 on the road. The Cardinals trailed 21-18 at halftime in the Division 4 contest and fell behind by 10 after three quarters.

“We got the lead down to eight in the fourth quarter and then had to foul,” coach Monica Mertle said. “They’re a good team, but we’d love to have another crack at them. I think we’d win.”

It was a physical game, with Newman scoring 21 of its points from the foul line.

Scotts Valley used a full-court press and trapping defense.

Kylie Kiech led the Cardinals with 13 points. Finishing with nine each were Tiffany Salinas, Hailey Vice-Neat and Lauren Walker.

Those four plus five other players on the varsity will be back next season.

“We accomplished so much this year and I’m so proud of the girls,” Mertle said. “We finished first in NBL, we won the league tournament and won games in NCS and CIF.”

The Cardinals ended the season at 24-8 while Scotts Valley improved to 25-5.

St. Vincent, the No. 5 seed in Division 5, stayed with No. 4 Eastside Prep for the first quarter. The Mustangs trailed 14-10 going to the second.

“Eastside is the best team we played this season,” coach Jim Fagundes said. “We hit a scoring drought in the second quarter and they pulled away.”

St. Vincent was outscored 21-8 in the period.

“We played hard and just lost to a better team,” the coach added. “It was a great year. Our goal was to advance to the second round of NCS. We accomplished that and then some.”

Olivia DeGraca and Jacalyn Murphy shared scoring honors for the Mustangs with 11 apiece.

St. Vincent goes to the sidelines with a 27-7 mark. Eastside of East Palo Alto is now 20-10.

 

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