CIF basketball playoffs: Cardinal Newman girls easily dispatch Notre Dame, 63-37

Cardinal Newman's Kylie Kiech reaches for the ball during the game held at Cardinal Newman High School, Saturday, March 14, 2015. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat)

Cardinal Newman’s Kylie Kiech reaches for the ball during the game held at Cardinal Newman High School, Saturday, March 14, 2015. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat)

By PHIL BARBER

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Cardinal Newman could get used to these playoff double headers. Immediately after the Cardinals boys had survived a close call in their CIF NorCal quarterfinal playoff game Saturday night, the girls had a much easier time in theirs.

Newman exploited its superior height to build a 48-23 lead over visiting Notre Dame of Belmont after three quarters, and cruised to a 63-37 victory.

The double headers are not finished. Both Cardinal Newman teams will host games on Tuesday, with the girls taking on Brookside Christian of Stockton.

“It’s great for the school, and it’s great for the girls, too,” coach Monica Mertle said, “as we continue to make our name as a coed school.”

Not that the Newman gym provided a huge homecourt advantage Saturday. Notre Dame fans filled about half the arena, and they were loud. As the game went on, though, they had less and less to cheer about.

The Cardinals were too deep, too relentless and, especially, too tall for the Tigers.

“We were definitely looking to get the ball inside,” Mertle said. “That was our first look, to go inside. And then if they doubled, we’d look for our kick-outs.”

Notre Dame didn’t have a girl taller than 5-foot-11, which made things all too comfortable for Lauren Walker, Cardinal Newman’s 6-4 center. She finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

“I thought Lauren Walker had a fantastic game,” Mertle said. “She’s just getting better and better and better. And she’s only a sophomore.”

Maiya Flores had 12 points for the Cardinals, fellow freshman Jasmine Henderson scored 11 and versatile senior Kylie Kiech contributed eight assists and seven rebounds.