High school basketball: Tiny Pinewood takes down St. Mary’s again


Oops, they did it again. Or maybe it should be: Hoops, they did it again.

The tiny team from Pinewood-Los Altos Hills went on the road and beat nationally ranked St. Mary’s-Stockton Tuesday night for the second time in three years in the CIF Open Division semifinals. This time it was a 59-56 win at Delta College.

Stanford-bound Hannah Jump had 19 points, Brianna Clarios added 12 and freshman Natasha Thompson 11 for the third-seeded Panthers (26-2).

In 2016, St. Mary’s was undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country and Pinewood, a school of fewer than 500 kids with six state small-school titles, defeated the Rams 72-69.

On Tuesday, St. Mary’s (27-3) came in ranked fifth nationally, but had no answer early for Pinewood, which streaked to a 39-20 lead midway through the second quarter en route to another three-point win.

Pinewood plays another nemesis in Saturday’s championship game at the Leavey Center: Mitty, the nation’s top-ranked team.

“These girls are something,” Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler said. “We played perfectly for 14 minutes. St. Mary’s didn’t know what hit them. But then they ratcheted down and we held on for dear life. It was another great, great win.”

McDonald’s All-American Aquira Decosta had 28 points. “We couldn’t stop her,” Scheppler said. “All their baskets were either on steals and layups or putbacks. We did an amazing job on defense otherwise.”

Mitty 75, Salesian-Richmond 50: It’s as if nothing can stop Archbishop Mitty-San Jose star Haley Jones.

Despite tweaking her ankle with 2:30 left in the first quarter and returning at 6:18 in the second after getting it taped up, the junior sensation took charge from there to finish with a monster double-double — 32 points and 12 rebounds — as the host Monarchs (29-0) won going away over the fifth-seeded Pride (27-6).

Even with Jones on the trainer’s table the Monarchs had an 18-8 lead after one quarter, but by the time she returned it had shrunk to 18-14, and before Mitty went into halftime leading 33-27, Salesian took leads of 22-20 and 24-23 before Jones, Penn State-bound Karisma Ortiz and freshman Hunter Hernandez took over.

“There’s not really any time for injuries right now,” Jones told Harold Abend of Prep2Prep.com. “We already had lost Nicole so we couldn’t afford another injury. I had to push through it.”

Miramonte-Orinda 69, Presentation 52: Clair Steele had 32 points, including 16-for-19 at the foul line, as the fourth-seeded Matadors (28-5) breezed to a Division 1 win at top-seeded Presentation (23-6).

Though Steele was the only Miramonte player in double figures, nine players scored and five hit three-pointers as the Matadors moved into Saturday’s title game against 10th-seeded Sacred Heart Cathedral.

“She’s crafty,” said Presentation coach Wade Nakamura about Steele after the game, “and if you foul her, she’ll make you pay.”

Sharon Roldan led Presentation with 14 points and Kelly Heimburger added 12. Akemi Namba with 11 and Ava Williams with 10 were also in double figures for the senior-heavy West Catholic Athletic League representative.

“They’re tough as nails,” said Miramonte coach Kelly Sopak about Presentation.

Sacred Heart Cathedral 69, St. Francis 47: Errayanna Hatfield had 19 points, Gianna Silvestri 15 and Yaniah Fleming 10 as the host Irish (14-14) defeated the 11th-seeded Lancers (16-13) for the fourth time this season to move into Saturday’s Division 1 title game.

Lowell 50, University 38: In Division 5 play at Kezar Pavilion, the Cardinals (19-11) forced 30 turnovers by the top-seeded Red Devils (22-10), building a 22-point lead.

K.D. Lee scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Lowell.

University had won its previous CIF playoff games by 35 and 22 points. However, the Red Devils committed 29 of their turnovers in the first three quarters and trailed 41-19 entering the final period.

University rallied, going on an 18-2 run to start the quarter, cutting the deficit to 43-37.

With 1:15 left, Aly Lee found K.D. Lee behind the arc and the latter buried the three-pointer to stem the tide.

“We went off defense first and defense leads to offense,” K.D. Lee said. “We wanted to force them left and play help because we didn’t match up on height with them.”

No other Lowell player scored more than six points.

MaxPreps senior writer Mitch Stephens covers high school sports for The San Francisco Chronicle.


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