MORAGA -- The Deer Valley High School girls basketball team was ready to play in Friday's North Coast Section Division I championship game at Saint Mary's College.
Deer Valley, the No. 4 seed, bolted out to a 9-0 lead in the first 1 minute, 34 seconds and didn't look back in a 57-47 victory over No. 2 Berkeley, giving the Wolverines their first NCS Division I title since 2005 and their second overall.
"We had to start off very explosive," said Deer Valley's Sierra Dixon, who hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter and finished with 15 points. "We just came out with one heart and one goal."
The Wolverines, who knocked off No. 1 seed Monte Vista 65-57 in the semifinals, have won 10 straight games going into next week's CIF Northern Regional playoffs.
"After the game against Monte Vista, I knew we were ready for this one," Deer Valley coach Mark Hurtado said. "We knew we had to get off to a fast start against Berkeley."
Less than 30 seconds into the game, Deer Valley (23-5) had a 4-0 lead after baskets by Maranne Johnson and Alejandra Cephas. Brandy Williams scored on a put-back and Taya Carter produced a three-point play for the 9-0 lead.
Berkeley rallied to cut Deer Valley's lead to 12-11. But Dixon, a transfer from Washington-Fremont, quickly answered with her first 3-pointer and Berkeley wouldn't get closer the rest of the game.
A key to Deer Valley's win was the inside play of Cephas and Williams. The 6-foot Cephas finished with 14 rebounds and four blocks, and the 5-11 Williams added eight rebounds and 10 points.
Berkeley junior point guard Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman kept the Yellowjackets in the game, scoring 13 points in the first half and finishing with 18 points. Teammate Desire Finnie, who committed her fourth foul in the third quarter and spent much of the quarter on the bench, scored 10 of her 14 points in the fourth quarter.
But when Berkeley (21-8) started to make a run, Deer Valley would answer emphatically, often with a Dixon 3-pointer. She had all four of her 3-pointers in the first three quarters.
Deer Valley made sure it would carry the momentum into the fourth quarter. Johnson sank a running 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded ending the third quarter. Deer Valley held a 46-31 lead and led by double-digits throughout the fourth quarter.
Johnson finished with 11 points, including three 3-pointers.