The Miramonte High girls basketball team closed the final quarter on a 9-2 run but came up just short in a 63-62 loss to St. Mary's-Stockton on Friday in the opening round of the Northern California Regional Open Division playoffs
Sabrina Ionescu missed the front end of a one-and-one with 2.6 seconds left at Delta College.
St. Mary's grabbed the loose ball and ran out the clock for the heart-stopping win.
"That's just the way it goes," Matadors coach Kelly Sopak said. "Players are going to make plays and sometimes players are going to miss shots -- that's just the way it goes."
Ionescu made a lot of plays to give Miramonte a chance to win, finishing with 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight steals.
The Matadors (27-3) battled back from a double-digit first-quarter deficit to lead by one point at halftime, with defense playing a large part of the comeback. The Matadors forced 13 turnovers in the second quarter with Ionescu making six steals and Megan Reid four. Reid finished with 10 steals.
Breanna Alford added 12 points for Miramonte. Kat Tudor led the Rams (30-2) with 19 points.
St. Mary's-Berkeley 43, Sacramento 31: The host Panthers relied on their usual formula to kick off the Open Division era of the NorCal regional playoffs with a win.
A lockdown defensive effort, led by Mikayla Cowling and Gabby Green, help extend St. Mary's winning streak to 18 games.
The 31 points was lowest offensive output of the season for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II champions.
St. Mary's (30-4) has played in four consecutive NorCal Division IV title games, but to get back to the final, the Panthers will have to be much sharper offensively. Top-seeded Bishop O'Dowd awaits St. Mary's in Tuesday's semifinals in a rematch of a Jan. 12 game that the Dragons won 67-49.
In addition to their disruptive defense, Cowling (18 points) and Green (14) also shouldered the bunt of the scoring load against Sacramento (27-5).
St. Mary's limited Sacramento to a single field goal in the second quarter, going on a 14-0 run to take control. The Panthers' transition game played a big role in the run.
Sacramento got within seven points in the third quarter, but again the Panthers defense was there to answer. Back-to-back steals by Cowling and Green led to easy layups that put St. Mary's up 32-19 at the end of the quarter.
-- Stephanie Hammon
Bishop O'Dowd 55, Brookside Christian-Stockton 30: The Dragons struggled at times to find their offensive flow but still cruised to a victory in a first-round Open Division NorCal regional playoff game at Chabot College.
Oderah Chidom had 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Breanna Brown added 13 points and 13 rebounds to lead No. 1 seed O'Dowd (27-3).
The Dragons didn't play particularly well for the first 1½ quarters, although they did hold Brookside Christian (26-5) scoreless for a six-minute stretch in the first quarter.
Nearing the midway point of the second, O'Dowd -- which is scoring 66 points per game with an average margin of victory of 30 -- held only a 13-9 lead.
The Dragons found their stride over the final 4:08 of the quarter and took a 25-15 lead into the break.
-- Jimmy Durkin