We are a game closer to the last game showdown between No. 1 Santa Rosa and No. 2 Cardinal Newman for the NBL Girls championship.  Both teams won in different ways on Friday Night and now are one game away from the meeting at Cardinal Newman next Thursday.

Santa Rosa met an Ukiah team that gave them a battle last month before pulling away in the fourth quarter.   There was no such suspense in this one.

The Panthers missed by two points of having enough points for the win in the first quarter.  They jumped out to a 20 point lead on its way to a 66-25 win to make in seventeen straight and 23-1 overall.

Morgan Bertsch had another double-double with 17 points and ten rebounds.   She was one of three who scored in double figures.

The Cardinal Newman win over No. 5 Montgomery was much closer than the Santa Rosa win, but in some ways was as painful to watch as it was for Ukiah fans against the Panthers.   The final score was 46-40.

Cardinal Newman trailed once at 2-1, but Montgomery stayed close in a game that turned into a foul fest.   There were two ties, the first at 8-8 early in the second quarter and the second 31-31 when Destiny Grayer hit a three with 6:22 left. 

Cardinal Newman would score one field goal the rest of the way and still pulled away.  That was because of a pattern had been established in this game of a parade to the free throw line.  In the next two minutes Cardinal Newman went seven of eight from the foul line to take a 38-31 lead.   Julia Bertolero then scored the only field goal of the quarter and Cardinal Newman had its biggest lead of the game at 40-31 with 3:20 left.

Kylie Kiech seemed to be at the line most of the fourth quarter, hitting seven of twelve, which were as many free throws as Montgomery shot the whole game.  Six of them were in the last minute when Montgomery was forced to foul.   Three Montgomery players fouled out. 

On the game Kiech scored 13, ten of them from the foul line.  For the game Cardinal Newman hit 21 of 35 from the line, while Montgomery was 8 of 12.

When the game was able to flow, which was rarely, Cardinal Newman sophomore center Tiffany Salinas had her normal solid game, scoring a game high 16 points and pulled down ten of her 13 rebounds in the second half.   After the 8-8 tie she scored five straight points, three  from the foul line.  You couldn’t get to far in this game without mentioning the foul line.

Cardinal Newman is 18-6 on the season and 11-1 in league play.   Before the game with Santa Rosa, they don’t have a sure thing.   They travel to No. 3 Windsor on Tuesday. 

Windsor defeated Maria Carrillo 41-27 and will be looking for its 20th win against Cardinal Newman.  Windsor will be the No. 3 seed in the NBL Post Season tournament at be at either Cardinal Newman or Santa Rosa in round one.

One Tuesday Santa Rosa travels to No. 6 Casa Grande.

Casa Grande is in a battle with Montgomery for the NBL post season tournament’s last spot.  Casa Grande has a one game lead.   Montgomery is at Maria Carrillo on Tuesday before hosting Casa Grande to end the league race on Thursday.   If the two teams tie, Montgomery would get the tie-breaker.

GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS

The SRJC teams split its two games in Sierra.  Looking at the bright side, if you were picking the team that needed the win the most it would be the Men and they got it.

The SRJC Men defeated Sierra 66-56.  There are no other details on the game at this time.

Cosumnes River also won so they keep the one game lead of SRJC with four games to go which includes one at SRJC to end the regular season.

The bad news for the SRJC Women is they lost their second game of the week.

The good news is they are still tied for first place.

The SRJC Women lost a close game to Sierra 70-65.  Four scored in double figures led by Madison Sowards with 17. Gretchan Harrigan had 15.

So the Women, who started the week with a two game lead in the Big 8 race, are now tied for first with San Joaquin Delta who defeated SRJC on Tuesday and followed the up with a 74-56 win over Modesto.

Sierra moves to within one game.

There are four games left and the leaders are done playing each other, so it’s upset alert from here on out.

FIRST CHAMPION

As expected the No. 4 St. Vincent Girls won its game and wrapped up the NCL II race.   They have won eleven straight and are 18-5 overall on the season.   The Mustangs have a two game lead over Roseland University Prep with two games to go.  They win any tie-breaker because of two head to head wins.

When St. Vincent plays its final home game on Tuesday against Calistoga the senior night festivities is going to take a while.  They have nine seniors on the team including the top five scorers.

This senior class has done itself proud.  They are 62-20 over the past three seasons and have a good chance of hitting the twenty win mark for the third straight season.   It is the first 20 win season since 2007 and along the way has won two of three league titles.

Some have commented on them being ranked so high. In this case the record overrides the schedule.  Who knows they may be able to beat most big school teams.   They have met one SCL team way early in the season and defeated El Molino 47-28.

St. Vincent is a Division 5 team and is No. 6 in the power rankings.

MAGIC WIN

In a 64-35 win over Fort Bragg, the No. 3 Willits basketball team reached the twenty win mark for the second straight season.  Three scored in double figures to raise the Wolverine record to 20-2.   They are 10-0 in NCL I play and have a three game lead with four to go.

Willits is in Division 4 (same as Cardinal Newman) and are No. 8 in the power rankings.

NEXT CHAMPION?

The Sonoma County League Boys have a full Saturday Night schedule.  One of the games is No. 2 Analy hosting El Molino.  A win will sew up the outright SCL championship. The Tigers have already clinched a tie for the league champion.

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