SANTA CLARA -- St. Ignatius evened the season series with archrival Sacred Heart Cathedral. And this win carries more weight than any of the three previous times they met this season.
St. Ignatius defeated Sacred Heart Cathedral 55-36 Friday at Santa Clara University in the Central Coast Section Open Division girls basketball championship game.
"This means a lot to the school and means a lot to the girls,'' St. Ignatius coach Michael Mulkerrins said.
It was by far the most one-sided outcome of the four meetings this season. Sacred Heart Cathedral was not at full strength. GeAnna Summers-Luaulu, the West Catholic Athletic League co-player of the year, did not play after injuring her knee in a semifinal win over Pinewood. Then Kai'ree Howard, the other starting guard, suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter. She came back in briefly, was ineffective, and went scoreless in 12 minutes of playing time.
"We have a few people down, but that's no excuse,'' Sacred Heart Cathedral coach LyRyan Russell said. "We played three games in the regular season without her, so it's not like we didn't have any experience without GeAnna. We can't just put it all on one player. We're deep enough and we're good enough to pick it up.
"It hurt that Kai'ree Howard got hurt early in the game with a hamstring, not having another veteran out there with the group. But, you know, we've got to take our lumps some times.''
St. Ignatius (26-4), the epitome of balance, had nobody average in double figures this season. But on Saturday four players did so. Janessa Manzano scored 14 and Sydney Raggio 13, while Quinci Mann and Josie Little had 10 each. Little, a 6-foot-1 junior center who sat out her entire sophomore season because of a concussion, had 20 rebounds.
Gabrielle Vigil led Sacred Heart Cathedral (21-7) with 13 points.
Now St. Ignatius can turn its attention to the state playoffs.
"I assume we'll be in the Open,'' Mulkerrins said. "With our record, hopefully we'll get a home game. We want to represent the league and the section in the state finals, that's our goal.''
Boys Division V: Pinewood's Kyle Murphy made the first of two free throws with 0.3 seconds to play to give No. 1 Pinewood a 47-46 triumph over No. 2 Priory at Notre Dame de Namur.
Murphy received a length-of-the-court inbound pass from Greg Naumann with 2.4 seconds to play, then drove to the basket, drawing the foul. Priory (16-10) had tied the score 46-46 on a 3-pointer by Will Latta.
Pinewood (23-4) jumped to a 20-4 lead early in the second period. It was 28-15 at the half, but Priory center Andy Isokpehi scored eight of his 18 points in the third period to get his team back in the game. Isokpehi also had 14 rebounds. Connor Bonfiglio had 12 points for Priory, while Scotty Harris had 13 points, nine in the fourth quarter.
Ryan Brice scored 14 and Aidan Lucero 13 for Pinewood, which won its fourth consecutive Division V championship.
-- John Reid, Daily News