CONCORD -- Miramonte High girls basketball coach Kelly Sopak figured the first team to score 100 points Tuesday would win. He was pretty close.

Sabrina Ionescu scored the last eight of her 35 points in the final 77 seconds, and Mariah Seals came off the bench to score 21 in a 92-87 Matadors' victory over Carondelet at De La Salle High to move to the CIF Open Division Northern regional championship game Saturday in Sacramento. Sixth-seeded Miramonte will play No. 4 Salesian at 6 p.m.

Natalie Romeo's second 3-pointer in a minute brought Carondelet (28-4) within 84-83 with 1:17 remaining. But after a timeout, Ionescu took the inbounds pass and drove the length of the court, slicing in for a layup and an 86-83 lead.

Katie Rathburn got the Cougars to within 86-85 when she scored with an offensive rebound with 52 seconds left, but Ionescu sank six free throws the rest of the way to ice the game for Miramonte (30-1).

"That's probably the hardest I've ever coached in my high school career," Sopak said. "They keep their foot on the gas the whole way."

Seals' tachometer was pegged the whole time, too. She buried three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. In the second quarter, she helped spark a 13-point run which brought the Matadors from a 7-point deficit -- the biggest lead of the game for either side -- to a 36-30 lead with 3:12 left in the half.

But the Cougars came right back with seven points in a minute for a 40-39 lead. It was that kind of a game the rest of the way, with 26 lead changes.


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Seals is one of six Matadors averaging double figures in scoring this season, one of the reasons why Miramonte is the second-highest scoring team in California.

"She's had a great season, but the last eight games she's just been on fire," Sopak said. "She's the emotional sparkplug that we use."

As if playing for a berth in the NorCal championship wasn't enough, the Cougars had extra motivation: Sopak coaches 10 of their players on his AAU summer league team.

"It's tough," he said. "They probably know me better than I know them, so they know the system so well, they were very well prepared. Individually and collectively, they're real tough."

MaKenzie Cast had 21 points and Romeo scored 20 for the Cougars.

Miramonte 92, Carondelet 87

Miramonte (30-1)

Ionescu 9 15-17 35, Seals 8 2-4 21, Delos Santos 3 2-2 9, Howard 4 2-3 10, Louie 2 1-2 7, Alford 3 0-0 6, Miller 1 2-2 4. Totals 30 24-31 92.

Carondelet (28-4)

M. Cast 7 4-5 21, Romeo 6 5-5 20, Grupalo 6 2-2 15, Chenault 6 0-2 12, Cruz 3 0-0 6, Boucher 1 4-4 6, Hughes 2 0-0 5. Totals 32 15-18 87.

Miramonte          23          20          20          29--          92

Carondelet          25          15          24          23--          87

3-point goals: Seals 3, Louie 2, Ionescu 2, Delos Santos, Cast 3, Romeo 3, Grupalo, Hughes.