The Carondelet High girls basketball team had plenty of motivation heading into its 74-60 home win over Monte Vista on Friday.
Not only was first place in the East Bay Athletic League on the line, but the last time the teams met Monte Vista ended Carondelet's 53-game league winning streak.
Natalie Romeo and her teammates made sure the rematch didn't follow the same script. Romeo scored 31 points as the host Cougars avenged a 63-60 Jan. 8 loss by taking control early.
"It was really meaningful, because last time we didn't play so well and we wanted to show them who we really are," Romeo said. "We were pretty upset (about the loss), but we didn't play very good defense that day, so we worked on that a lot and our zone offense."
The win gives Carondelet (18-3, 9-1 EBAL) sole possession of first place with four games remaining. Monte Vista (18-4, 8-2 EBAL) falls to second.
A Romeo 3-pointer late in the first quarter sparked a 9-0 run that gave the Cougars the lead for good.
Soon after, an 8-0 run that began with another long distance shot by the junior point guard pushed Carondelet's lead to double-digits. Romeo also had seven steals to lead the Cougars' pressure defense.
The Mustangs didn't wilt but couldn't keep up after falling behind 34-22 at the half.
Makenzie Cast (17 points) connected on four 3-pointers in the second half to help hold off the Mustangs.
Monte Vista's Jasmine Dilworth scored 13 of her team-high 14 points in the second half.
Alameda 69, Piedmont 59: The visiting Hornets (17-5, 6-3 West Alameda County Conference) broke open a close game with a 20-1 second-half run and didn't trail again.
"We really calmed down and found open passes," said Alameda's Marie Bertholdt about the key run. "We know our strength is getting it inside-out, so we utilized that."
Piedmont (15-6, 6-3) had rallied from a 27-20 halftime deficit to take a 38-33 lead on a layup from JoNae Gonzales with 3 minutes, 31 seconds left in the third quarter. But a converted offensive rebound by Alameda's DeJa Johnson started the decisive 20-1 run, which extended until 5:34 to go.
The Hornets' win avenged a 62-54 loss to Piedmont on Jan. 4 to start the WACC season.
Bertholdt scored a team-high 20 points, and teammate DeJa Johnson added 15 points, including four 3-pointers. Alameda's Maddy Lewis scored 12 of her 14 points in the fourth quarter. Piedmont's Lauren Seyranian led all scorers with 24 points. Teammate Maddie Mills added 15 points.
-- Phil Jensen
Mission San Jose 2, Kennedy-Fremont 2: Neither the Titans nor the Warriors came away satisfied in a Mission Valley Athletic League draw at Kennedy.
Kennedy needed a win to stay in the MVAL championship hunt, and Mission San Jose needed to win to keep its North Coast Section playoff hopes alive. With the result, Newark Memorial, which beat American 3-1 earlier Friday, clinched the MVAL title.
"This feels like a loss because I wanted it bad for our seniors on senior night," Kennedy coach Rodrigo Mendoza said. "This one hurts, but we'll learn from it."
The Titans (9-6-2, 6-4-2 MVAL) broke up a 1-1 draw with a 63rd minute goal from Daniel Villareal, his second of the game and seventh of the season.
But just before the 80th minute, Mission San Jose (4-9-8, 2-5-5) got on level footing with a goal from Sahil Bansal.
Noah Yang scored on a perfectly placed corner kick by Khiem Lu to give Mission San Jose a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. Villareal scored the equalizer in the 30th minute.
De La Salle linebacker D.J. Moffitt gave an oral commitment to play at UNLV, Spartans coach Justin Alumbaugh confirmed. Rated as a three-star prospect by Scout and Rivals, Moffitt, who is 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, will grayshirt and enroll at UNLV in January of 2014 unless a fall scholarship opens up, Alumbaugh said.
-- Stephanie Hammon
-- Phil Jensen