Albany High sophomore Allison Chuang won the first North Coast Section girls singles title in school history, beating defending champion Stephanie Lin of Pinole Valley 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Nov. 14.

In a three-set work of art, Chuang, the second seed, outlasted the top-seeded Lin in the Division I championship match at Black Diamond Sports Club in Oakley

Lin and Chuang, Tri-County Athletic League rivals, were like mirror images stylistically, hitting quality shot after quality shot.

"I'm really tired," Chuang said with a smile. "I was running from side to side the whole time."

Last spring, Albany's Andrew Gu won the school's first NCS boys singles title. So these are the salad days for Cougars tennis.

"This was huge, actually," Chuang said. "Last year I got third, which I was really proud of, so this year's even better."

It also reversed a trend. Lin beat Chuang in the NCS semifinals last year en route to winning the title. She also defeated Chuang twice this season.

"Stephanie, the way she plays, she really pushes me," Chuang said. "That causes me to go for too much and I start to miss. Today I just really tried to keep it in, keep it deep but not really go for too much, and that helped me a lot."

Cross country

NCS Championships: Berkeley's Tariku Abdo won the NCS Division I boys race in an upset on Nov. 17. Tariku, who finished sixth in the West Alameda County Conference championship race on Nov. 3, made a major move in the second mile and led by nine seconds at the two-mile mark of the 3.0 mile race at Hayward High. He ended up winning by 12 seconds with a time of 15 minutes, 48 seconds.

"That is all personal guts. That's just willpower," said Berkeley coach Brad Johnson about Abdo after his race.

Tariku's sister Diribe placed third in the Division I girls race with a time of 18:01.

St. Mary's Spencer Moore also had a third-place finish in the Division IV girls race (19:31), leading her team to a second-place team finish and a spot in the California Interscholastic Federation state championships on Nov. 24 at Woodward Park in Fresno. Tariku and Diribe Abdo also qualified as individuals.

The St. Mary's boys team will also be competing in Fresno after a fourth-place finish in the Division IV race. The Panthers were paced by a 13th-place finish by Josh Dull (17:16).

-- Phil Jensen

Football

El Cerrito 19, Bishop O'Dowd 7: A steady downpour kept both team's offenses neutralized for most of the game but the Gauchos made the most of their chances in the first half en route to a sloppy win over the Dragons in an NCS Division III quarterfinal on Nov. 17 at De Anza High.

El Cerrito, the No. 1 seed, will now face Analy-Sebastopol in the Division III semifinals on Nov. 23 at De Anza.

Against the Dragons, El Cerrito (12-0) was fueled by the nifty footwork and steady hands of junior quarterback Keilan Benjamin. He ran for 53 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown and completed five of eight passes for 49 yards.

El Cerrito scored first when Adarius Pickett rumbled in from 30 yards with 8:56 left in the first quarter. BOD answered right back with a 13-yard bolt by Antonio Burnette to take a 7-6 lead with 5:41 left in the quarter.

Fullback Derik Calhoun bulled over from four yards out after an slippery exchange from Benjamin late in the first and Benjamin scampered in on a 9-yard TD run with 8:02 left before intermission.

Bishop O'Dowd quarterback Dominic Miroglio completed 10 of 32 passes for 83 yards and was intercepted once by El Cerrito cornerback Marcellus Pippins.

The Dragons (7-5) had 123 yards rushing on the night.

Bishop O'Dowd lost three fumbles and El Cerrito only lost two fumbles. The Dragons failed to capitalize on either of the Gauchos turnovers and that proved to be critical.

-- Joe Wolfcale, correspondent

Justin-Siena 48, St. Mary's 14: The host Braves scored 28 points in the second half to pull away from the Panthers on Nov. 16 and advance to the NCS Division IV semifinals.

The Braves jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first quarter. But St. Mary's (6-6) scored with 11:05 left in the first half. Quarterback Kevin Flemer found Caleb Coleman open for a 9-yard touchdown to cut the Braves' lead to 12-7.

But Justin-Siena (9-2) drove 70 yards on eight plays on its next possession, capped by a 15-yard touchdown run by Austin Connolly.

Justin-Siena scored two touchdowns in the third quarter.

The other score for St. Mary's came on a 96-yard kickoff return by Coleman, making the score 41-14.

-- Nick Norvell, correspondent

Girls volleyball

Bishop O'Dowd d. Albany: The host Dragons pulled out an incredibly competitive first game and took the wind out of the sails of the Cougars, the defending NCS and Northern California Division III champions, and posted a 30-28, 25-21, 26-24 Division III semifinal win on Nov. 14.

No. 3 Albany (34-6) battled back after trailing the entire first game to take leads of 25-24 and 27-26. But No. 2 Bishop O'Dowd righted the ship and took control.

Behind 18 kills from Brianna Karsseboom, who came up with big side-out after side-out, the Dragons (29-6) controlled game two and wiped away a 15-11 deficit in game three.

Kyra Holt had 19 kills for the Cougars.

-- Matt Smith, correspondent

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