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 Saturday at Dublin High.
There were not going to be any easy baskets for the Matadors.
No. 2 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.
Miramonte (27-2) drew to within two points of No. 1 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.
Freshman Sabrina Ionescu led Miramonte with 16 points.
Now the focus turns to the new Open Division in the California Interscholastic Federation Northern regional.
At the regional seeding meeting on Sunday, it is a near certainty that Bishop O'Dowd, which is currently ranked 12th in the nation by maxpreps.com,
Miramonte is also eligible to be selected for the Open Division.
"I don't know what the factors are," said Miramonte coach Kelly Sopak about the selection criteria. "We just lost the section final by 29 points. If we're going in the Open Division, we are going to have to get a lot better in 72 hours."
Carondelet 84, Clayton Valley Charter 56: The No. 1 seeded Cougars (26-3) dominated the second-seeded Eagles (22-7) at Dublin to claim their second straight NCS Division II title and their fifth in the past six years.
The Cougars forced the pace with its pressure defense and up-tempo offense.
"We usually run like that every game," said Natalie Romeo, who paced Carondelet in scoring with 18 points. "Our coaches just told us to play like we always play."
Clayton Valley took an early 3-2 lead on a free throw by Kayla Taylor, but a layup by Romeo started a 13-1 run for the Cougars.
Carondelet held a 47-31 halftime lead and led by double figures throughout the second half. Cougars coach Margaret Gartner emptied her bench with 6:24 left in the game and a 73-46 lead.
Clayton Valley Charter's Ashley Allen led all scorers with 25 points, including 15 in the first half.
Carondelet is eligible to be selected for the new CIF Northern regional Open division.
"We'll go wherever they put us," Gartner said.
-- Phil Jensen
St. Mary's 54, Salesian 48: Gabby Green was dominant, scoring 22 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and adding four assists and three blocked shots to lead the Panthers over the Pride in the NCS Division IV championship game at Albany High.
St. Mary's (29-4) has now beaten Salesian in three of their four meetings this season.
The rivals can potentially meet again in the California Interscholastic Federation Tournament, which begins next week, although the Panthers would be a candidate to play in the CIF's new Open Division.
"My team was getting me open looks and I was taking advantage of it," Green said. "I'm really fortunate to play with people who definitely look for me and know my strengths and weaknesses."
Green and her teammates ratcheted up the defense to start the second half, holding the Pride (26-7) scoreless for the first four minutes and two seconds of the third quarter.
Salesian didn't get its first basket of the quarter until there was 1:58 left on the clock. A 10-1 run made it 44-27.
"Defense is always a big part whenever we play them," Green said. "Mariya (Moore) is really good getting to the basket so we have to make sure that we control her and settle her down."
Salesian cut the deficit to five points in the fourth quarter, but never quite put enough of a run together to challenge. It also made just seven of 22 from the free throw line (32 percent).
Moore led the Pride with 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
-- Damin Esper, correspondent