STOCKTON -- Head coach Kelly Sopak called it the Miramonte High girls basketball program's biggest win.
The No. 6 Matadors advanced to Tuesday's Northern California Open Division regional semifinals with a 94-79 win over No. 3 St. Mary's-Stockton, arguably Northern California's premier program for more than a decade.
Sabrina Ionescu led Miramonte (29-1) with 31 points, Breanna Alford had 15 and Keana Delos Santos scored 14. Kat Tudor led the Rams (26-5) with 23 points.
Miramonte not only dominated St. Mary's, the Matadors did it the same way the Rams built their legacy, with suffocating defense and strong perimeter shooting.
"We have a lot of respect for them," Sopak said. "They are, in my mind, the pinnacle program in Northern California and have been for years. This is probably the biggest win in our school's history."
Miramonte outplayed St. Mary's from the beginning, but it was a stretch during the second quarter when the Matadors really took over. Miramonte led by nine, 30-21, early in the second quarter when the Rams' pressure defense started creating opportunities. St. Mary's was sent to the line seven times in 42 seconds but converted just 2 of 7 free throws.
The Matadors quickly had a chance to put together a run of their own, and they did not miss the opportunity. Delos Santos quickly scored seven points in 30 seconds.
With 5:17 remaining in the second quarter, she hit a 3-pointer from the left corner that gave Miramonte a 33-23 lead. Following a Matadors steal, her layup in transition made it a 12-point game. She then intercepted the inbound pass and scored inside to make it 37-23 with 4:47 left in the first half.
"We came in with a lot more intensity than last year when we lost to them," Ionescu said. "We had a lot more intensity and really felt like we were the better team from the time we got here."