Maybe it was bad timing for the Cardinal Newman Girls to have one of the best local teams of all time. Maybe the Salesian Girls team had one of its best teams at the same time. Although Salesian has been so good the last couple of years, it is hard to tell the difference. Either way, there was a big difference between the two teams, at least on this day.
This wasn’t like last season’s game in which, in the semi-final game, Salesian stole the game from Cardinal Newman at the end 57-55. This game was Salesian’s from the beginning, scoring the first six points of the game and building a ten point lead before the first quarter was over. After that, there wasn’t much of a threat as they went on for a 64-47 win to take their second straight NCS Division 4 Championship and the third in five seasons.

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With center Lauren Walker in foul trouble Cardinal Newman’s Taylor Hextrom (32) played significant minutes to help the Cardinals try to stay in the game vs Salesian. (Photo by Jim Rael)

The bright side for Cardinal Newman is that they probably won’t have to see this team again. Salesian is most likely going into the Open Division in the state playoffs. Although last season both teams in the Division 4 Girls Championship game went into the open division, it appears Cardinal Newman will stay in Division 4 and have a great shot at being a No. 1 seed.
Another bright side for Cardinal Newman is that they will probably not see another player like Minyon Moore. The 5’ 7” senior, who is committed to go to USC, had one of her best games of the season. There weren’t too many things she wasn’t involved in on either side of the floor. She scored nearly half of Salesian’s 64 points, going for 31.
It is the fourth time this season that she hit the 30 point mark. She doesn’t score the points just to score them to finish off a blowout, she scored them in close games. Going into this game Salesian was 1-2 in games in which Moore hit 30. Two of those games went into overtime, which they split. The overtime loss was to St. Mary’s of Stockton, who is 27-0 on the season and will be the No. 1 seed in the same Open Division Salesian will be in for the CIF State Championship. .
Moore wasn’t the only reason that Salesian had the one sided win, but was the main one. It didn’t help Cardinal Newman’s cause that their big players were not only battling the Salesian front line, but also battling foul trouble. Junior Hailey Vice-Neat picked up her second foul halfway through the first quarter. Worse yet was Cardinal Newman’s 6’ 5” center Lauren Walker was held scoreless before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Salesian 6’ 5” center Angel Jackson scored ten points. Avery Cargill led Cardinal Newman with 15 points.
The Cardinal Newman Girls will now wait and see where they will be placed in the State Playoffs. The Open Division is an eight team tournament. The other divisions can have up to sixteen, so you need to win three games to get to the State Championship game.
The first round for everything but the Open Division is on Wednesday. Round two is Saturday and the Semi-Final is on Tuesday March 15th.
The Open Division first round is Friday.
Last season Cardinal Newman lost the NCS semi-final game to Salesian. Salesian went on to defeat St. Mary’s of Berkeley in the championship game. Both of those teams went to the Open Division, which opened up the No. 1 seed for Cardinal Newman in Division 4.
If you are a Cardinal Newman fan you are keeping your fingers crossed that they won’t be put in the Open Division.
There was one other local team that was playing for an NCS section championship. That team had the many similarities as the Cardinal Newman Girls.
Unfortunately the game was similar too.
The Anderson Valley Boys, who like Cardinal Newman were the No. 2 seed, they are in the Division 6 bracket. They had to take a trip to the East Bay to take on No. 1 Emery. They fell behind early and lost 57-48.
Anderson Valley was nine down at the half and 13 after three. Jared Johnson scored 10 for Anderson Valley, who goes to 22-6.
Division 6 has a Nor Cal bracket for the first time and Anderson Valley should get a home game in the first round.
The losses by the local teams mean no NCS championships for the local teams again this season.
The last local Boys team to win a section championship was in 2013. That belonged to Rincon Valley Christian in Division 6.
Rincon Valley Christian was also the last Girls teams. That was also in Division 6 and that was in 2010
Today the seedings will be picked. Besides the Cardinal Newman Girls and Anderson Valley Boys knowing that will get in, so do both the Montgomery Boys and Girls teams, along with the Cloverdale Girls and Archbishop Hanna Boys.
There is also hope for the Windsor Boys. El Cerrito defeated Newark Memorial on Saturday to win their second straight NCS Division 2 championship. If El Cerrito moves up to the Open Division, that could open up a spot for Windsor in the Division 2 bracket.
Last season El Cerrito defeated Montgomery in the championship game and was moved up to the Open Division, so there is a good chance that will happen again.
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