PIEDMONT -- The Castilleja High girls basketball team didn't have an answer for Piedmont star Lauren Seyranian in the first half of Wednesday's CIF Division IV Northern regional first round playoff game.
But in the second half, it was the Highlanders' defense that carried it to a 48-30 victory.
"We knew it would be a grind-out game and we would have to play D the whole game," said Piedmont coach Bryan Gardere, whose team used a stifling man-to-man defense. "For us, being a little short-handed, we knew we had to really dig in."
Piedmont will face No. 3 seed Bradshaw Christian-Sacramento (20-6) on Saturday.
The sixth-seeded Highlanders (20-9) were missing starting point guard and second-leading scorer JoNae Gonzales because of a high ankle sprain. Piedmont had only five regular varsity players available and two junior varsity call-ups.
In the first half, Seyranian was nearly unstoppable. The UC-Davis-bound wing player, who moved to point guard for the game, had 16 of her game-high 20 points in the first 16 minutes as Piedmont held a 30-15 halftime lead.
"I thought everyone really stepped up today," she said. "We were just focusing on playing hard through the horn and not fouling."
Piedmont rebounded well, especially sophomore Cate Selna. The 6-foot-1 center grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds to go along with her 12 points.
The Highlanders hit the offensive boards exceptionally well in the fourth quarter after ending the third with a 38-23 lead,
"With a team like that, you have to limit them to one shot," said Castilleja coach Gary Plummer, whose team was competing in its first CIF Northern regional game since 2010. "They got a big lead and took advantage."
Piedmont held a slim 7-5 advantage in the first quarter after a 3-pointer by Castilleja's Cate Alder. But a jumper by Bailey Thompson started a 9-2 run for Piedmont, which led by at least six points in the first half after that.
Paige Vermeer was the primary offensive weapon all game for No. 11 seed Castilleja (20-11). The junior guard scored 10 of her team-high 18 points in the first half, and also had a team-high six rebounds.
Division IV Piedmont 48, Castilleja 30
Alder 1 0-0 3, Vermeer 6 4-4 18, Afifi 2 2-2 6, Gerber 1 0-0 3. Totals 10 6-6 30.
Garaventa 3 0-0 6, Thompson 4 0-3 8, Eidam 1 0-0 2, Seyranian 7 3-4 20, Selna 6 0-3 12. Totals 21 3-10 48.
Castilleja 7 8 8 7-- 30
Piedmont 14 16 8 10-- 48
3-point goals: Vermeer 2, Alder, Gerber, Seyranian. Highlights: P -- Selna 17 rebounds; Thompson 10 rebounds, 4 assists; Seyranian 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals; C -- Vermeer 6 rebounds; Tarr 4 rebounds, 2 assists; Afifi 4 blocks.