NBL girls basketball: Cardinal Newman rolls to tournament title

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

It would be an understatement to say Cardinal Newman’s girls basketball team dominated NBL opponents this season.

The Cardinals not only won all 16 games they played against league foes, they won those games by an average of 38 points.

On Friday night, in the finals of the NBL Tournament, Newman dismantled Santa Rosa, 71-30.

After the game, which was played at Santa Rosa JC, Panthers coach Jim Gomes paid Newman the ultimate compliment. “Team-wise and depth-wise they’re the best NBL team of all time,” he said. “They just do so many things well.”

Santa Rosa hung tough early and trailed 9-7 after the first quarter. However, by halftime, the Cardinals were cruising, 28-16.

After intermission, it only got worse for Santa Rosa. The Panthers were held to four points in the third while Newman scored 21.

“They came out and shot the lights out,” Gomes said. “We couldn’t handle it.”

Hailey Vice-Neat had seven of her game-high 17 in the third quarter.

The Cardinals had three other double-figure scorers. Finishing with 10 apiece were: Maiya Flores, Lauren Walker and Tal Webb.

Vice-Neat and Walker had 10 rebounds each, Tiffany Salinas nine.

“I’m very proud of this team and what they stand for,” coach Monica Mertle said. “This is a group of hard-working, intelligent young women who have put their personal agendas aside for the good of the program.

“We play as a team and that’s the only way the game should be played.”

Devin Murray, in her first game since suffering a concusion on Jan. 8, led the Panthers with nine points, and Emily Codding had eight.

The Panthers head into next week’s NCS Division 1 Tournament at 20-8. Three of those losses were to Newman. During the regular season, the Cardinals beat them 66-33 and 65-43.

Cardinal Newman, sporting a 23-5 record and a 17-game winning streak, competes in NCS Division 4.