Bishop O'Dowd High's Ariell Bostick and Breanna Brown sent a message when they blocked Miramonte's first two shots in the North Coast Section Division III championship game on March 2 at Dublin High.
There were not going to be any easy baskets for the Matadors.
Second-seeded Miramonte had only three field goals in the first half as it fell behind 33-16, and No. 1 seed Bishop O'Dowd scored 44 points in the second half for a 77-48 victory and its fifth straight NCS Division III title.
"We wanted to make sure we had a hand in their face because their strength is outside," said Bishop O'Dowd coach Malik McCord about Miramonte. "Those blocks were huge."
Offensively, the Dragons were led by their guards. Sophomore Asha Thomas scored a game-high 21 points, including four 3-pointers. Bostick added 13 points and a trio of 3-pointers, and Aisia Robertson had 11 points.
In this battle between two teams that were undefeated against Northern California competition, Miramonte (27-2) drew to within two points of O'Dowd (26-3) at 10-8 in the second quarter on a layup by Breanna Alford. But an inside basket by Daniella Williams started a 13-1 run for the Dragons, and Bishop O'Dowd led by double digits the rest of the game.
Sabrina Ionescu led Miramonte with 16 points. O'Dowd's K.C. Waters had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Bostick nearly had a triple-double, as she had eight rebounds and eight assists.
On March 3, O'Dowd earned the No. 1 seed in the California Interscholastic Federation Open Division Northern regional and will play No. 8 seed Brookside Christian-Stockton on March 8 at 6 p.m. at Chabot College.
In the NCS Division III semifinals on Feb. 27, O'Dowd received 20 points from Oderah Chidom and 12 points from Maya Williams in an 85-21 victory over Kennedy-Richmond.
McClymonds 47, Oakland Tech 40: The Warriors used their long-range shooting to gain a first-quarter lead and never trailed to set history in the Oakland Section championship game at Merritt College.
Warriors coach Dennis Flannery said it had been 37 years since the McClymonds girls squad had won a section title.
The Warriors (25-3) had four 3-pointers in the first quarter, with the last of them by Gabby Gaines giving McClymonds a 16-8 lead in the final minute of the quarter. McClymonds had eight 3-pointers in the game.
Oakland Tech (21-6) rallied from a 17-point deficit in the third quarter and cut McClymond's lead to only four at 44-40 with 16 seconds left on a basket by Ameela Li. But it would get no closer, as Romanalyn Inocencio hit a free throw on the ensuing possession and Gaines buried two free throws with one second left for the final margin of victory.
Oakland Tech's London Robinson led all scorers with 18 points and also had 10 rebounds, 5 steals and three assists. Li had seven rebounds and six assists.
In the Oakland Section semifinals, Li had a game-high 15 points to lead Tech to a 42-35 win over Skyline on Feb. 26. Darrien Washington paced the Titans with 13 points.
St. Mary's 58, Piedmont 26: Despite a team-high 15 points from Lauren Seyranian, the visiting Highlanders scored in only single digits in three of the four quarters on their way to a NCS Division IV semifinal loss on Feb. 27.
Bishop O'Dowd 89, El Cerrito 78: The Dragons remained unbeaten against Northern California teams this season with a win over El Cerrito in the NCS Division III title game on March 2 at Dublin High. It gives the Dragons (26-3) their second straight NCS title and sets them up to appear in the CIF Open Division Northern regional playoffs. Bishop O'Dowd, the No. 3 seed will host No. 6 seed Modesto Christian (28-3) on March 8 at Chabot College at 7:30 p.m.
Much of the focus for O'Dowd is deservedly on 6-foot-9 sophomore Ivan Rabb, and he delivered 25 points and 10 rebounds on March 2. But fellow sophomore Paris Austin scored a career-high 27, Michael Perri had 19, and Dominic Gomes added 12 points off the bench.
"We want to run the offense through Ivan, but if they try to bottleneck it, we have other options," Richie said. "The kids played well. They made adjustments."
El Cerrito had a 20-14 lead after the first quarter, but the Dragons scored the first seven points of 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.
In a semifinal game on Feb. 27, O'Dowd received 27 points from Rabb in a 69-46 win over Sir Francis Drake.
-- Jimmy Durkin
Oakland 70, Oakland Tech 58: The host Wildcats went on a key run in the second quarter on their way to an Oakland Section semifinal win on Feb. 26.
The game was tied after a quarter and remained tied late in the second when the Wildcats went on a 10-0 run to take a 34-24 lead. Oakland held a 37-31 lead at halftime.
The Bulldogs got within 47-43 late in the third, but the Wildcats scored eight straight to end the quarter.
Tech scored the first five points of the fourth, but was dealt a blow when Leo Smith picked up his fourth foul. He argued the call and picked up a technical foul, which knocked the first team All-City pick from the game.
Oakland held at least a seven-point the rest of the way to earn the win. Smith led Tech with 16 points and Troy Thompson added 14.
-- Jimmy Durkin
McClymonds 50, Skyline 37: Despite Leonard Rivers' team-high 11 points, the visiting Titans scored 10 points or less in three of the four quarters in this Oakland Section semifinal loss on Feb. 26.
St. Joseph Notre Dame 63, Head-Royce 56: The visiting Jayhawks received a team-high 16 points from Ryan Diew, but it couldn't defeat the No. 1 seeded Pilots in an NCS Division V semifinal game on Feb. 27.