Vanden stages historic comeback

Douglas Benton, NCP Editor
NorCal Preps

Clovis West wins a defensive showdown

The anticipation of the Open Division game between Mitty and Clovis West didn’t disappoint even if the style of play was unexpected. A matchup of free flowing, efficient offensive teams ended up being a physical, defensive grind won by Clovis West 44-40.

Basketball is a game of runs and Saturday’s game was a clear example of that cliche. Mitty started on a 9-3 run. Clovis West answered with a 12-0 to close the first quarter. Mitty put together a 11-3 run. Clovis West countered with a 6-0 run. Mitty closed the first half with the final seven points for a 27-24 lead.

A low scoring third quarter left Mitty in the lead 35-30 with eight minutes left. A Haley Jones jumper at the 5:42 mark made it 37-30, but Mitty wouldn’t make another field goal (1-for-13 with five turnovers in the quarter). Clovis West on the other hand overcame a stretch where it missed 16 of 18 threes with two makes from senior Sarah Bates, who finished with a team high 12 points. Her second make gave the Golden Eagles a lead it wouldn’t surrender. She followed without a basket off an outlet pass on an inbounds play to make it two possessions.

Mitty’s offensive flow was hindered throughout the game as evident by just eight assists on 17 baskets and 23 turnovers, a season high. Madeline Holland (11) and Jones (10) were in double figures for the Monarchs, which outrebounded the Golden Eagles 39-29.

Clovis West shot just 29 percent with a 1-for-12 showing in the third quarter. It rallied for a 4-for-10 performance in the fourth.

Vanden’s story ends with The Comeback

The Denver Broncos have The Drive. The San Francisco 49ers have The Catch. Vanden basketball will now have The Comeback.

Down 58-41 with 6:42 left, Vanden closed the game on a 23-3 run to shock Mater Dei in a 64-61 win for the Division II state title.

How did it happen?

Deirdre Huff made a three and following a technical foul on Jayda Adams, Huff added two free throws to go from 17 down to 12 in 37 seconds. The Vikings only knocked a point off the deficit in the next two and a half minutes before a pair of free throws by Julia Blackshell-Fair. Down 59-50 with 3:30 left, the two teams traded buckets proceeding an 11-0 Vanden run to close the game.

The climactic moment came with 11 seconds left when Blackshell-Fair stole the ball at midcourt, drove, made the basket and was fouled. The three point lead gave Vanden its first lead of the second half. A long three by Adams was off and a final free throw for the Vikings ended the historic comeback.

“They keep rewriting their own history,” head coach Allison Johnson said of this group. This is the first NorCal and state titles in program history.

Mater Dei was in control using a 25-3 run of its own to turn an eight point first half deficit into a 14 point lead at 46-32. The Monarchs rode their senior stars of Cyndi Lewis and Jayda Adams for 21 of the 25 points in the third quarter. Mater Dei was very effective after halftime of getting Lewis on the right block for excellent looks. She finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Adams, headed to Duke, accounted for 19 points, eight rebounds and four steals.

Vanden’s title was was spearheaded by Blackshell-Fair, who will play at Houston next year. The senior had 20 points, a Division II record tying 21 rebounds, eight assists and five steals.

“She’s the best player to come through Vanden High School,” Allison Johnson said.

Huff and Myli Martinez combined for 26 points with seven made three pointers for the Vikings. They outscored Mater Dei by 18 points beyond the arc.


Jefferson, late defense leads West Campus to first state title

West Campus led by 10 points late in the first half and by nine in the fourth quarter before holding off a late Los Osos run for a 63-55 win and the Division IV state title. The Warriors held Los Osos scoreless for the final 2:38.

A back and forth beginning turned to West Campus’ advantage with a 10-2 run late in the first and into the second quarter. The Warriors didn’t trail again. Part of the run was a half court three pointer by Gabriella Rones at the end of the first half for a 17-15 lead.

West Campus stretched the lead to 10 points late in the first half at 33-23 before Los Osos scored five points in the final 32 seconds to close the deficit to 33-28. The third quarter was all about Los Osos freshman guard Breanne Ha, who went 4-for-5 from three point range (0-for-7 the other three quarters) as the Grizzlies tied it up at 49 heading into the fourth quarter.

The final period was defined by West Campus junior guard Kiara Jefferson, who finished with 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting, eight rebounds and two steals. She flashed a strong mid-range game and scored seven points as part of a 10-1 run to start the fourth quarter.

West Campus senior Namiko Adams added seven points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals. Rones had 16 points for the Warriors.

Los Osos was led by 24 points, five rebounds and four assists from Ha. Peyton Van Soest (12) and Dynnah Buckner (11) were also in double figures.

The Warriors shot 35 percent, but a +12 rebounding advantage and +8 from the foul line (14-for-26 overall) gave the necessary cushion.

What to Read Next