The St. Mary's High girls basketball team found a way to avoid overtime against Salesian in a Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division showdown between the two rivals at Contra Costa College on Feb. 5.
It led the entire game, as the Panthers took an 8-2 lead in the first quarter and the Pride never got closer than three points in the final three quarters of a 59-53 St. Mary's victory.
The Panthers win avenged a 62-59 overtime loss to the Pride on Jan. 18. Both teams entered the game ranked in the top five in the Bay Area News Group East Bay girls basketball poll, with Salesian fourth and St. Mary's fifth.
"We definitely had the mindset that every quarter was a new quarter, 0-0," said St. Mary's Gabby Green, who scored a team-high 21 points and was also active defensively, altering many shots. "Everybody kept their energy up."
Salesian, which fell to 21-5 overall and 9-1 in TCAL-Rock action, narrowed the deficit to three points multiple times. The last time was with 36 seconds to go on an inside basket by Mariya Moore, who scored a game-high 32 points.
But those would be the last points of the game for the Pride. Green was fouled on the next possession and made one of two free throws for a 57-53 lead. Teammate Mikayla Cowling, who was 6 for 6 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and scored 16 points overall, connected on two free throws with 17.2 seconds left for the final points of the game.
St. Mary's, which improved to 21-4 overall and 9-1 in TCAL-Rock play, held a 39-26 lead one minute into the third quarter but Salesian battled back, led by 18 second-half points by Moore.
"They are going to make a run; good teams make runs," St. Mary's coach Nate Fripp said. "I wanted to make sure we continued to compete."
St. Mary's Elexis Goodwin also reached double figures in scoring with 10 points.
Bishop O'Dowd 64, Berkeley 53: The Dragons took control early in this Feb. 8 game and held off a late rally by the host Yellowjackets to claim a share of the West Alameda County Conference-Foothill Division league championship.
The first time O'Dowd and Berkeley met this year, the Dragons (21-3, 11-0 WACC) barely escaped 76-73 at home. This time, the Dragons dominated the first three quarters to earn their 13th consecutive win.
O'Dowd went on an 18-0 run to close the first quarter, then added to the lead by holding Berkeley (13-11, 6-5 WACC) scoreless for the first five minutes of the second quarter.
The Dragons led 51-25 after three, but Berkeley made the score respectable with a 28-point fourth quarter.
Sophomore Ivan Rabb made an impact at both ends of the floor for O'Dowd, finishing with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight blocks.
Justyce Key scored 13 points to lead Berkeley.
-- Stephanie Hammon