SAN JOSE -- In an early-season showdown between two defending state champions, the Bishop O'Dowd High girls basketball team received all it could handle from host Archbishop Mitty-San Jose for the first 20 minutes of this nonleague game on Dec. 1.
But Bishop O'Dowd then pulled away for a 51-40 victory, led by an impressive performance from Oderah Chidom.
The Duke-bound Chidom scored 13 of her game-high 20 points and eight of her 16 rebounds in the final 12 minutes of the game, as the Dragons increased a two-point lead to a high of 15 before winning by 11.
"We were still a little rusty. We are so used to playing against each other," said Chidom about her and her team in the first half. "We have to play like we have a huge target on our backs."
Bishop O'Dowd was ranked No. 1 in the country in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 preseason national rankings. Last season, the Dragons won the California Interscholastic Federation Division III girls state title, and the Monarchs were CIF Division II girls state champs.
"We were dominated on the glass," Monarchs coach Sue Phillips said. "They are a very, very talented team."
The Dragons bolted out to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter behind five points from Asha Thomas. But Mitty went on an 11-4 run and tied the score on a 3-pointer by Jahnay Anderson with 3:41 left in the first half. A pair of free throws by Mitty's Kelli Hayes narrowed O'Dowd's lead at halftime to 21-20. Mitty had four 3-pointers in the first half (two each by Anderson and Emily Dinger).
Bishop O'Dowd, which never trailed in the game, held a slim 27-25 advantage with 4:46 left in the third quarter. But a Chidom inside basket started an 11-3 Bishop O'Dowd run to end the quarter, and the Dragons led by double-digits throughout the fourth quarter.
Anderson scored a team-high 17 points for Mitty. The Dragons limited Mitty star Hayes to two field goals and a total of nine points.
Bishop O'Dowd coach Malik McCord gave his team a grade of D-plus regarding the game.
"They totally agree," said McCord about his team. "We played sloppy, we rushed things."
Thomas scored 10 points for the Dragons, and teammate K.C. Waters had seven points, six rebounds, three blocks and three steals.