The Mercury News Weekend
Dougherty Valley, DLS to meet for NCS Open boys championship
Dougherty Valley dusted off one East Bay Athletic League rival in the semifinals.
Tonight, the top-seeded Wildcats will try to do the same to another as they play second-seeded De La Salle in the North Coast Section Open Division championship game at Saint Mary's College. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Dougherty Valley advanced with a 64-60 victory at home over Granada and De La Salle moved on by beating visiting Salesian 55-49.
“It should be a good one,” Dougherty Valley coach Mike Hansen said. “The EBAL has been the best all year. So that's how it should be.”
When De La Salle visited Dougherty Valley during league play, the home team broke open a tight game in the fourth period to win 69-55.
In the semifinals, Dougherty Valley pushed the right buttons to beat Granada for the third time this season, edging the fourth-seeded Matadors to reach the Open final for the first time in the three-season existence of the elite bracket.
Ryan Beasley got off to a torrid start for Dougherty Valley, scoring 17 of his 30 points in the first quarter. But the shifty guard essentially matched baskets with Granada's dynamic duo of 7-footer Andrew McKeever and 6-7 wing Tyler Harris. They combined for all 18 of the visitor's points in an opening period that ended with Dougherty Valley in front 22-18.
Harris finished with 21 points. McKeever had 20.
Dougherty Valley made a stop in the closing seconds to ice the victory.
“We've got a lot of senior leadership,” Beasley said. “We knew it was going to be a close game with an EBAL team, especially Granada. They're real good. We knew it was going to be a close game, but we've got closers on our team. We closed one out tonight.”
De La Salle will be appearing in the Open championship game for the second consecutive season. Last year, Aidan Mahaneyled Campolindo squeaked past the Spartans 51-50.
“I'm proud of our program to be back in this game,” De La Salle coach Marcus Schroeder said.
Boys: Stunner! Serra beats Mitty to reach CCS Open title game
The notion of Serra ending up in the Central Coast Section Open Division championship game would have seemed utterly preposterous back when the Padres began West Catholic Athletic League play 0-4.
But here they are.
Tonight, it will be fourth-seeded Serra playing No. 7 seed Sacred Heart Cathedral for the Open title in an 8 p.m. start at Santa Clara University.
Serra reached the final by stunning host Archbishop Mitty in the final round of Pool B on Wednesday. The visitors shot 10 of 16 from 3-point range in the first half and led by as many as 13 points before Mitty roared back in the second half to take the lead.
But Serra, which had missed its first nine 3-point attempts in the second half, rallied when Alex Naber got a shot to go down from behind the arc with 1:06 to go and then regained the lead on a game-winning 3 by Ryan Pettis with 23 seconds left.
“It feels great,” Pettis said. “No one wins at Mitty, it's a hard place to win at, but we finally did it.”
SHC advanced by winning a three-way tiebreaker in Pool B. The Fightin' Irish's big upset unfolded last week in the first round of pool play when it won on the road over second-seeded Archbishop Riordan.
Girls: Pinewood in Open final again
Things were looking pretty grim five games into Pinewood's season. The Panthers were 1-4, and the schedule wasn't getting any easier.
“You want to hear the sob story?” Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler asked Wednesday night, shortly after his team eased past Sacred Heart Cathedral 71-50, placing the Los Altos Hills school in the CCS Open Division final for the ninth consecutive season.
The Panthers (16-10) will play Mitty (25-2) tonight at 6 p.m. at Santa Clara University. Both teams went 3-0 in pool play, setting up what will be the eighth meeting in a row between the schools in the CCS Open final.
It's an appearance Scheppler never thought his team would qualify for.
Back to the sob story.
“We had three seniors out with ACLs and we had three others (not seniors) who couldn't play because of ineligibility,” Scheppler said. ”We've overachieved to the highest level. Getting to the championship game with this team is nothing short of phenomenal.”
Pinewood led SHC (21-5) by an astounding 39-15 at the half, but the margin was cut to 50-38 after three quarters. Then Pinewood outscored its opponent 21-12 over the final eight minutes.
Ava Uhrich had 21 points, 13 rebounds and six assists to lead Pinewood. Also scoring in double figures were Alex Facelo (17 points), Jolyn Ding (16) and Lita Fakapelea (14). All but Uhrich return next season.
Pinewood is 1-6 in the previous seven meetings against Mitty, but that doesn't dampen Scheppler's enthusiasm.
“It's an annual event,” he said of the title game versus Mitty. “One I was not expecting this year.”
Girls: Mitty playing in high gear
Mitty blew out Los Gatos 85-27 in the final round of Pool A. The San Jose school had already clinched its spot in the Open Division final after pool-play games Monday.
In the rout Wednesday, Mitty led 6012 at halftime and 80-18 after three quarters. McKenna Woliczko scored 24 points to pace the Monarchs (25-2). Morgan Cheli added 13 points and had seven rebounds. Haley Hernandez scored 12 and Elle Hanson 11.
In its three pool-play wins, Mitty outscored Crystal Springs Uplands, Branham and Los Gatos 256-81 (85-27 per game).
Girls: Salesian, SRV reach Open final
After an 11-day layoff, second-seeded San Ramon Valley struggled into the second half before a 20-1 stretch fueled a 4941 win over Cardinal Newman and a berth in the NCS Open title game against Salesian, a 57-54 winner over Carondelet in the other semifinal.
The final tonight is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Saint Mary's College.
SRV hadn't played since beating Monte Vista in the final East Bay Athletic League game on Feb. 11.
“You could see it in our play,” coach John Cristiano said. “We were rusty coming out of the gate tonight. We weren't moving well, we weren't shooting well. We were kind of out of sync. But we caught our wind in the second half and the third quarter was more reminiscent of who we are and how we play.”