For the last two years Cardinal Newman has owned the local Girls Basketball scene. They have owned it to the point where you had the feeling if they didn’t win a State Championship, maybe it just isn’t in the cards for a local team to win one.
Well here we are.
Saturday is the day when Cardinal Newman meets Antelope Valley for the Division IV State Championship. The game begins at 10 am and it is at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
Both teams have had similar seasons. Both have won thirty games and both were the No. 1 seed in their region of the state playoffs.

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Freshman point guard Avery Cargill will be tested by the Antelope Valley defense on Saturday.

Antelope Valley is in Lancaster, which is about 75 miles Northeast of Los Angeles. According to the Wikipedia page it is a Public School and was founded in 1912. According to the page that pops up when it is googled, it is quite a bigger school than Cardinal Newman with over 1,900 students. Yes they do have different sections in the south and it isn’t based on school population.
Looking back at the history during the Max Preps era for Antelope Valley and you get mixed results. What is included has to be one of the best turnarounds in the history of high school sports. That is easy to say because with the numbers it’s harder to have too many that were better. In 2009 they went 4-21 and finished last in league. In 2010 they went 26-3, won a league championship and went to the section playoffs.
Since then they have been a pretty solid program, although they did sneak in a 8-18 record in 2013. The last two seasons have been golden. Last season they went 25-2 and went through league undefeated. They were No. 3 in the South Section playoffs and one of the losses ended their season in the semi-final round.
That was the set up for this season, which is a history making one for the school.
It didn’t start out that way. Two games in they were 0-2 which is as many losses as they had all of last year. The season started with an 84-52 loss to Chaminade, who is 30-4 and the No. 2 ranked team in the state. They are in one of the more attractive games of Championship Saturday when they meet Miramonte (32-0) for the Open Division Championship. That game is at 6 pm. The second loss was on November 25th. They haven’t lost since and own a thirty game winning streak.
If you look through the schedule they have a lot in common with Cardinal Newman in that Antelope Valley hasn’t had many close games. Both teams went through league play 14-0. You know how Cardinal Newman dominated the NBL. Antelope Valley did the same to the Golden League and then some, winning each game by an average of over 47 points. Cardinal Newman won its average NBL game by 44 points.
It is hard to compare league from the North and South but it does appear the North Bay League is a better league up and down than the Golden League. It you go by power rankings it isn’t close. The lowest number for the NBL in the Power Rankings is the No. 567 team in the state. Only two teams in the Golden League are better and four of the eight teams are at No. 800 or more. Two of the eight teams in the Golden League finished at .500 or higher, the NBL had five.
Like Cardinal Newman, Antelope Valley did schedule up in the Non-League portion of its schedule. The team that kept showing up on its schedule was La Canada, who they beat three times. The first time was during the regular season. The next two were in the playoffs. The first playoff win gave them their first Section Championship ever. The second got them to this game.
Antelope Valley’s leading scorer is senior captain Tylen Price who is averaging 16.4 a game. They have one other player that averages in double figures and that is freshman Savannah Sullivan at 10.5. They are a veteran team with five seniors and like to run and press and can score points in bunches.
The key to the game might be who gets used to playing at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. It doesn’t appear either team has played in that kind of atmosphere. Last week some of the Nor Cal playoffs were held there and there was a report that some teams got confused with the 3 point lines, shooting from NBA range instead of High School range. With the 10 am start, the big arena will probably have more empty seats then full ones. It is a completely different atmosphere than a cozy High School Gym.
If you are going, the other thing to be prepared for besides the different atmosphere is the prices. You are going to a professional venue, so you will pay semi-professional prices and that includes the food. Before you get into the arena you will be charged $15 for parking. A General Admission tickets cost $16 and Children, Students (ASB card) and Seniors costing $10.
As for the power rankings, as it has been all through the playoffs except one game, Cardinal Newman has the advantage. They are ranked No. 23 in the state, Antelope Valley is at 54. The only game Cardinal Newman wasn’t higher in the power rankings in the playoffs was against Salesian, which was the game they lost in the North Coast Section Division 4 championship game. By the way, Salesian was No. 6 in the Open Division and lost in the second round.
The Cardinal Newman game is the first of six state championship games on the day at Sleep Train. The times of the games are scheduled two hours apart and the last game will be the Open Division Boys game which is scheduled to start at 8 pm.
Good luck Cardinal Newman.
North Champion Cardinal Newman (30-5)
South Champion Antelope Valley (30-2)
10 am…Division IV Girls…No. 54 Antelope Valley (30-2) vs. No. 23 Cardinal Newman (30-5)
Noon…Division IV Boys…No. 40 Harvard-Westlake (26-8) vs. No. 55Palma (26-4)
2 pm…Division II Girls…No. 45 Cajon (26-6) vs. No. 72 Elk Grove (24-10)
4 pm…Division II Boys…No. 28 Long Beach Poly (24-10) vs. No. 14 Junipero Serra (25-5)
6 pm…Open Division Girls…No. 2 Chaminade (30-4) vs. No. 3 Miramonte (32-0)
8 pm…Open Division Boys…No. 1 Chino Hills (33-0) vs. No. 9 De La Salle (31-2)
The first is the South team. The rankings are based on the Power Rankings in the State
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