Cardinal Newman girls claim NBL title

Cardinal Newman's Kylie Kiech drives to the basket between Santa Rosa's Sara Howard, left, and Kylie Oden during Tuesday's game at Newman. Credit: Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat

Cardinal Newman’s Kylie Kiech drives to the basket between Santa Rosa’s Sara Howard, left, and Kylie Oden during Tuesday’s game at Newman.
Credit: Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Cardinal Newman’s girls basketball team captured its second straight North Bay League regular season title Tuesday night by defeating visiting Santa Rosa, 65-43.

With one game remaining, the Cardinals are 13-0 while second place Santa Rosa is 11-2. Newman plays at Casa Grande on Thursday.

“This was one of our goals,” coach Monica Mertle said. “I was really happy with the effort all the way through. We didn’t shoot well, but we stuck with it and got the job done.”

The Cardinals never trailed. After one quarter it was 22-14 and the lead grew to 32-22 by halftime.

Three-point shots late in the third by Hailey Vice-Neat, Kylie Kiech and Jasmine Henderson enabled Newman to expand the lead to 54-30 heading to the final period.

Kiech was the game’s top scorer with 17 points. She also had eight rebounds and five assists.

Vice-Neat scored 11 to go along with 11 boards. Tiffany Salinas contributed 10 points.

For Santa Rosa, Emily Codding scored 15 while Kylie Oden and Sara Howard finished with 10 apiece.

It was the 14th win in a row for the Cardinals. Their last defeat was on Dec. 30 when they lost to Brea Olinda (52-43) in the West Coast Jamboree.

When Newman and Santa Rosa met earlier in the year, the Cardinals won 66-33.

“This time we played with more poise,” Panthers coach Jim Gomes said. “That was especially true in the first half.
“Newman had a heckuva third quarter on both defense and offense. They’re such a good team, you can’t fall behind and expect to catch up.”

There’s a good chance the two schools will meet again a week from Friday in the final of the NBL Tournament.