Gabby Green was dominant, scoring 22 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and adding four assists and three blocked shots to lead the St. Mary's High girls basketball team to a 54-48 win over Salesian on March 2 in the North Coast Section Division IV championship game at Albany High.
St. Mary's (29-4) has now beaten Salesian in three of their four meetings this season.
"My team was getting me open looks and I was taking advantage of it," Green said. "I'm really fortunate to play with people who definitely look for me and know my strengths and weaknesses."
Green and her teammates ratcheted up the defense to start the second half, holding the Pride (26-7) scoreless for the first four minutes and two seconds of the third quarter. Salesian didn't get its first basket of the quarter until there was 1:58 left on the clock. A 10-1 run made it 44-27.
"Defense is always a big part whenever we play them," Green said. "Mariya (Moore) is really good getting to the basket so we have to make sure that we control her and settle her down."
Salesian fought back and did cut the deficit to five points in the fourth quarter, but never quite put enough of a run together to challenge.
Moore led the Pride with 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Zavanna Negron came off of the bench for St. Mary's to score 10 points.
In the semifinals on Feb. 27, Green had 21 points and teammate Mikayla Cowling added 14 as the Panthers defeated Piedmont 58-26. St. Mary's earned the No. 4 seed in the new Open Division of the California Interscholastic Federation Girls Division IV Northern regional playoffs and will host No. 5 Sacramento (27-4) on March 8 at 7 p.m.
Heritage 65, Berkeley 40: The defensive-minded Patriots dominated the three-time defending champions in the second half to post a victory in the NCS Division I semifinals on Feb. 27.
"It's nice to know we can do it playing a powerhouse like (Berkeley)," Heritage coach Dan Swan said. "It means we can play against anybody."
Some early Heritage mistakes combined with some hot shooting by Berkeley senior Rachel Howard kept the score close throughout the first half. But as soon as the second half started, the Patriots turned the game into a rout.
Sabrina Engelstad scored five quick points in the Patriots' 11-0 run out of the break, and Berkeley (18-11) trailed by double-digits the rest of the way.
Berkeley also had trouble matching up with Engelstad, a 6-foot-3 Saint Mary's College-bound center, who finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Sydney Berry had a team-high 16 points for Heritage.
Howard paced Berkeley with 22 points. She hit four 3-pointers and scored 12 of Berkeley's first 14 points.
Berkeley, which has played in the last two Division I state championship games, still advanced to the Division I Northern regional playoffs. The 12th-seeded Yellowjackets traveled to face No. 5 Kennedy-Sacramento (24-6) on March 6. Results of the game were not available at press time.
-- Stephanie Hammon
Bishop O'Dowd 89, El Cerrito 78: The Bishop O'Dowd High boys basketball team continues to look like one of the best in Northern California.
The Dragons remained unbeaten against NorCal teams this season with a win over El Cerrito in the NCS Division III title game March 2 at Dublin High. It gives the Dragons (26-3) their second straight NCS title and set them up to qualify for the CIF Open Division Northern Regional playoffs. Bishop O'Dowd was selected as the No. 3 seed on March 3.
Much of the focus for O'Dowd is deservedly on 6-9 sophomore Ivan Rabb, and he delivered 25 points and 10 rebounds. But fellow sophomore Paris Austin scored a career-high 27, Michael Perri had 19, and Dominic Gomes added 12 points off the bench.
Despite the loss, the Gauchos (22-10) earned the No. 2 seed in the CIF Division III Northern regionals and a first-round bye. El Cerrito will host a quarterfinal game on March 9.
"It was a good game for the most part, and we've got to get ready for the NorCal playoffs," El Cerrito coach Michael Booker said. "I can tell you this, we will be ready for NorCals."
El Cerrito had a 20-14 lead after the first quarter on March 2, but the Dragons scored the first seven points of the second quarter to take the lead. There were seven lead changes in the quarter, but another 7-0 run by O'Dowd helped give it a 38-34 halftime advantage.
O'Dowd created distance in the third quarter, building a 55-42 lead. El Cerrito found a burst and scored seven straight, but O'Dowd took a 64-52 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Dragons went on an 8-0 run early in the final quarter to take a 74-55 lead with under six minutes to play.
Tyrell Alcorn led El Cerrito with 16 points, and Marcellus Pippins had 15.
The Gauchos edged San Marin 55-54 in the semifinals on Feb. 27. Pippins had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Alcorn added 14 points.
-- Jimmy Durkin