ThernSerra Cavaliers will play for the Girls’ Division I state basketballrnchampionship March 23 after beating Ribet Academy 58-46 March 17 to win thernSouthern California Regional title.
Unfazedrnby Ribet’s superior height (with four starters standing 6 feet or taller), thernCavaliers raced out to a 31-18 halftime advantage and maintained control in thernsecond half, even after Ribet cut the deficit to four points in the fourthrnquarter.
Juniorrnguard Lauryn Pointer — at 5-foot-8, assigned to guard Ribet’s 6-foot-9 center,rnAndrea Aquino — more than handled her assignment, scoring 17 points to leadrnSerra. Cheyenne Givens added 16 points and Alexis Tucker 15 for coach McKinleyrnHadley’s team.
Withrnthe win, Serra (24-8) earned the right to play Sacred Heart Cathedral of SanrnFrancisco (15-14), the Northern California Regional champion, on March 23, 6rnp.m. at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. The Fightin’ Irish overcame a sluggishrnmidseason in which they lost seven of eight to win the CIF-Central Coast title.
Bothrnschools have had previous success in the state championship game. Sacred Heartrnhas won ten state titles, most recently in 2015, and won four consecutive inrndifferent divisions (1993-96), while Serra won the Division IV state title inrn2013, and lost in 2015 (Division 1) to McClatchy of San Jose in overtime.
Inrnthe Boys’ Regional title games March 17, St. John Bosco (25-8) was overwhelmedrnin the fourth quarter and lost to Chino Hills 67-51 in the Division I matchuprnin Long Beach, while Bishop Amat was beaten by Notre Dame of Riverside 69-56rnfor the Division III crown on the victors’ home court.
Top-seededrnSt. John Bosco (25-8) dominated sixth-seeded Chino Hills for three quarters,rntaking a 49-40 lead, but could only manage a single basket in the final periodrnas Chino Hills scored the first 18 points of the period. Christian James scoredrn13 points and Jonathan Salazar had 15 rebounds for coach Matt Dunn’s Braves.
BishoprnAmat led 19-15 after one quarter, but the Titans (who had beaten the Lancers inrntheir CIF-SS D-3A title game on March 2) took charge before halftime andrngradually pulled away. Coach Brandon Ertle’s Lancers (29-7) were led by seniorrnguard Ismael Arellano’s 28 points, including 19 of his team’s 27 in the secondrnhalf.