A season of ups and downs for the Amador Valley High girls basketball team ended Wednesday night with a 57-48 loss to visiting Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills in the Division I Northern California regional playoffs.
But for a Dons team that endured a midseason coaching change, just getting to this point in the season was an accomplishment in itself.
Augie Valdez took over in early January, and the team didn't miss a beat. They stuck together to make the North Coast Section semifinals and reach the regional playoffs for the first time in 10 years.
And despite 21 points and 10 rebounds from junior Courtney Seams, the host Dons couldn't keep up with the Trojans in the final quarter of the first-round contest.
"I think the girls played hard tonight, we just missed a lot of easy shots that normally we'd make," Valdez said. "I thought we had a pretty good shot at winning the game tonight, they just played a little bit better."
The game was tight for three and a half quarters before Amador Valley (19-10) went cold from the field and the Trojans' Ali Bettencourt got hot.
The teams were tied at 30 halfway through the third quarter when Bettencourt hit one of her four 3-pointers on the night, and the Dons trailed the rest of the way.
Bettencourt scored a team-high 18 points for Oak Ridge, 15 of them coming in the second half.
Alysse Ketner added nine points for Amador Valley in her final high school game.
She'll be missed next
"I think it was good for the community, good for the school, and hopefully this is something that's setting up for future teams," Valdez said.
Both Oak Ridge (26-4) and Amador Valley reached the semifinals of their section playoffs.
McClymonds 68, Armijo-Fairfield 60: The Warriors (26-3) went on an 18-7 run to dispatch the Indians (23-8) at Oakland Tech and move on to the second round of the Division I NorCals.
Armijo held a 53-50 lead early in the fourth quarter, but two free throws by Ahjahna Coleman started the final run. Gabby Gaines scored six points in the final 2:14 of the game, including two free throws that gave the Warriors the lead for good at 61-59.
She then scored on a tough layup in traffic for a 63-59 Mack lead with 1:02 remaining.
Gaines scored eight of her team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter. Teammate Da'Ja'Nay Powell added 14 points despite sitting on the bench with foul trouble for much of the game. Romanalyn Inocencio scored all six of her points in the fourth quarter for Mack.
-- Phil Jensen
Lowell-San Francisco 63, Oakland Tech 50: Kelly Wong scored 20 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out six assists to lead the host Cardinals (25-5) over the Bulldogs (21-7) in the first round of the NorCals.
Oakland Tech fought back from a 10-point deficit early in the game to take the lead in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs fell behind early in the fourth quarter but cut the deficit to 52-50 only to see Lowell make eight of 10 free throws down the stretch.
Oakland Tech committed 18 turnovers in the game and was outrebounded by a smaller Cardinal team, 41-33.
Bulldogs post Kelea Pickeral-Dennis sat out almost 11 minutes of the game with foul trouble, a fact that influenced that last statistic.
Pickeral-Dennis finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
-- Damin Esper, correspondent
Kennedy-Richmond 69, Branham 54: After Kennedy-Richmond got over its first quarter jitters, the Eagles showed why they went undefeated in the Tri-County Athletic League Stone Division.
With the win, the Eagles will face Sacred Heart Cathedral (22-6) in the second round of the NorCal Division III playoffs on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Kennedy (26-6) was led by Julian Robinson finished with 27 points, and Raven Caldwell chipped in 15, with 13 coming in the first half.
Branham (23-8) was led by Regina Sankey, who finished with 33 points.
-- P.J. Brown, correspondent