High School Hoopsters Compete
The Alameda men’s basketball team advanced to the Div. II NorCal regional semifinals due to the strong play of guard Ryan Cibull.
Cibull led his fellow Hornets with 24 points in Alameda’s 73-63 victory over Los Gatos Saturday, March 10, in the NorCal Div. II quarterfinals at the Hornets’ Nest. The senior made six 3-pointers in the contest to lead the Hornets to victory.
The Hornets were in control of the game for most of the 32 minutes of action. Alameda took a 17-15 lead into the second quarter, its first lead of the game, after Hornet senior Andre Smith hit a 3-pointer with one second left in the quarter. Alameda led the rest of the way, even though they never held a sizable lead over the Wildcats. The Wildcats closed within one point late in the second quarter at 30-29, but two 3-pointers by senior Benno Zecic and Cibull gave the Hornets a 36-29 lead at halftime.
Cibull caught fire early in the third quarter. He made three straight 3-pointers in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the quarter to give the Hornets a 45-33 lead. The Wildcats managed to close the gap to 66-60 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Hornets staved off any serious threat of a comeback.
Zecic scored 15 points for the Hornets in the match up. He also pulled down five rebound and dished out four assists. Smith also scored 15 points for Alameda.
The Hornets had to fight off stellar performances from two Wildcat players to advance to the semifinals. Future University of San Francisco Don Dylan Belquist led the way for Los Gatos. The senior scored 30 of the team’s 63 points. Fellow senior Alex Braken-Guelke scored 23 points in the Wildcats’ final game of the season.
The Hornets advanced to the quarterfinal by beating Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills 61-42 on March 7. The Hornets actually trailed 11-10 at the end of the first quarter, but the Hornets’ suffocating defense pushed them to outscore Oak Ridge 19-7 in the second quarter.
The Trojans held on in the third quarter, but the Hornets pulled away in the fourth outscoring their opponents 23-10 in the period.
This is the furthest the Hornets (26-5) have advanced since the state championship was put in place in 1981. Alameda, the first seed in the Div. II NorCal playoffs, took on fifth seed Grant High of Sacramento Tuesday, March 13, in the Div. II semifinals.
St. Joseph Notre Dame Pilots women’s basketball
The St. Joseph Notre Dame (SJND) women’s basketball team was eliminated from the NorCal Div. II playoffs after a 57-51 defeat to St. Francis of Mountain View on March 10 in the quarterfinal round. Junior Zhane Duckett led the Pilots with 17 points. Sophomore Malia Mastora scored 16 points. The Pilots’ season ends with a 28-5 overall record. SJND beat McClatchy of Sacramento in the opening round in a 47-46 nail biter on March 7. Duckett scored 21 points in that contest.
SJND Pilots men’s basketball
The SJND men’s basketball team was eliminated from the NorCal Div. II playoffs in a 71-54 defeat to Woodcreek on March 7. The Timberwolves pulled away from the Pilots in the second half when SJND was outscored 39-28. SJND finished the season with a 22-11 overall record.