The Mercury News
Harris leads Bellarmine to Division I title
Sophomore Brayden Harris hit his first seven shots en route to 24 points to lead Bellarmine College to a 63-55 win over Los Gatos in the Central Coast Section Division I championship game Saturday at Santa Clara High.
“Once I hit that first shot it all just started to come,'' Harris said. “Every time we came down the court when I had my shots I'd take them. It all just kept rolling for me.''
“Brayden has a very bright future,'' Bellarmine coach Alex Sarrettt said. “Keep in mind he's a 15-year-old sophomore. He's got a lot of room to grow.''
It was Bellarmine's 15th CCS basketball title.
The Bells (13-13) had won their first two playoff games by an average of 24 points and led Los Gatos by 15 points in the first half. The lead had dwindled to 55-52 with 2:38 left, but Julian Gospich, a 6-7 junior, hit a 3-pointer and the Bells closed it out at the foul line.
Gospich finished with 12 points. Tariq Weiser had 13 points and Nick Corbett added 10.
Los Gatos (21-6) got 12 points from Max Houghton and 11 apiece from Nolan Koch and Scotty Brennan.
Division I girls
EVERGREEN VALLEY 67, LOS ALTOS 45 >> The Cougars won the title with only seven players on their roster.
“We have a small roster and every player understands their role and value to the team,” coach Drew Fenstermaker told the Bay Area News Group via text. “We attribute our success to our team spirit. We are connected and continued to evolve each day.”
Ryka Aprameyan scored 31 points for the Cougars (20-7) and Aastha Bhagat added 16.
Los Altos (17-11) got 11 points each from Tara Davari and Natalie Holm.
ST. FRANCIS GIRLS, BOYS SWEEP CHRISTOPHER >> The girls won 6652 behind 23 points from sophomore point guard Maia Jimenez and the boys won 50-21 with a defensive effort for the ages.
Jimenez lists herself as 5-foot1, but she plays big, especially in big moments. She hit a shot at the buzzer to beat Pioneer in the quarterfinals. Saturday, she got herself to the free-throw line 18 times.
“She's so quick,” St. Francis coach Sami Pompei said. “Tiny but mighty.”
Christopher was the No. 1 seed, but the second-seeded Lancers jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back. In addition to Jiminez, who made 16 free throws, St. Francis (14-11) got 13 points from Allison Dauer and 11 from Ava Saglimbeni.
The St. Francis boys, who had ended the regular season on a sixgame losing streak, led 19-9 at the half, then put the game away by outscoring Christopher 20-4 to start the second half.
“We had 19 at the half and 18 in the third quarter,” St. Francis coach Mike Motil said. “Sometimes we struggle offensively against bigger teams, but our defense is really good. A lot of our games have been in the '40s.”
The 21 points were the fewest allowed by the Lancers since Feb. 27, 2010, when they beat Leland 44-16.
Anujan Tennathur had a gamehigh 15 points for St. Francis, which will head to the CIF NorCal playoffs with a 14-12 record.
Division III girls
MILLS 66, SANTA CRUZ 52 >> Michelle Tang scored 28 points and Mills won its first CCS girls basketball title since 1985
“This was for all the Lady Viking teams that were not fortunate to get here,'' said longtime coach Dave Matsu, who turned over the head coaching duties to his son, Justin, this season.
The score was tied 47-47 in the fourth before the Vikings went on a 19-5 run to close the game.
Tang made six 3-pointers. So did Chloe Lee, accounting for all of her scoring. Serena Mezzetta added 10 points.
Division III boys
MONTEREY 62, BURLINGAME 43 >> Burlingame missed 10 of 15 free throws while Monterey hit 16 of 17, but that wasn't the biggest difference.
“We had a hard time adjusting to their pressure,” Burlingame coach Jeff Dowd said. “They took us out of our offense, made our looks tough.”
Zaden Martin led Burlingame (21-5) with 15 points.
Division IV girls
MENLO SCHOOL 49, HALF MOON BAY 34 >> Menlo completed its CCS title defense and now has won five in the 15 years that John Paye has been the head coach. Saturday's might have been the least likely of them all.
The Knights were 12-10 during the regular season, went 4-6 in the West Bay Athletic League and suffered a five-game losing streak in January.
None of that mattered Saturday. Sophomores Ruiqi Liu and Karen Xin combined for 28 points – 17 by Liu – and senior Riley Jensen had 11 points, including two key 3-pointers.
Jensen's performance stood out for Paye.
“She tore her ACL last year,” Paye said. “This was only her sixth or seventh game back. She hadn't been scoring many points, but was on limited minutes until this week.”
The other key to victory was holding Alli Dioli, the star player for No. 2 seed Half Moon Bay, to nine points, 10 below her season average. In the semifinal against Notre Dame-Belmont, Dioli had 36 points and eight 3-pointers.
Division IV boys
KING'S ACADEMY 59, HALF MOON BAY 53 >> When King's Academy went to the locker room down by 12 at halftime, coach Cameron Bradford got right to the point.
“I told them they could lay down or fight,” Bradford said. “The guys battled, battled, kept fighting.”
The Knights cut the lead to 50-46 in the fourth quarter, then went on a 13-0 run for their first CCS title in boys basketball. Jon Taylor scored 21 points and Tylek Barnett had 18 for the Knights (22-3).
PRIORY'S TEAMS HAVE MIXED RESULTS >> Both teams were seeking to defend their 2022 championship. The boys won, beating Oakwood 69-45, but the girls lost 6439 to Summit Shasta.
The boys were led by Clint Smith with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Priory (24-3) also got 12 points from Ryder Bush added 12 points, 10 points and nine rebounds from Rostand Olama Abanda and 10 points and five assists from Tayo Sobomehin.
The girls were led by Ugreat Danies with 18 rebounds and 12 points. Adelaide Chan had 10 points and seven assists.