Hornets’ Repeat Title Bid Crushed by Dons

Hornets’ Repeat Title Bid Crushed by Dons

The Alameda High School (AHS) women’s basketball team will not repeat as North Coast Section (NCS) Div. II women’s basketball champions after suffering a 53-42 defeat to Acalanes High of Lafayette Wednesday, Feb. 23.

The Hornets entered the game as the underdog. AHS was the five seed taking on the one-seed Dons (24-3), which also meant they had to play on their opponent’s home court. However, in the first quarter, it looked like the Hornets were the favorites to win. The Hornets led 12-9 at the end of the first quarter. The early lead was thanks in part to AHS sophomore Malani Mastora who scored 11 of the Hornets’ 12 points including three 3-pointers. Mastora’s third 3-pointer, gave Alameda a 12-8 lead with more than a minute to go. It would be the Hornets’ largest lead of the game.

The game slipped away from the Hornets in the second quarter. After AHS freshman Juliana Johnson’s 3-pointer gave the Hornets a 15-14 lead, the Dons went on a 14-0 run that turned a one-point deficit into a 28-15 lead. Acalanes freshman Sophie Chinn scored 12 of the 14 points including two 3-pointers.

The Hornets were outscored 21-6 in the second period. They trailed 30-18 at halftime.

But the Hornets were not done fighting. The Hornets began to slowly chip away at the Dons’ lead. They began the third quarter on a 14-4 run. Johnson hit another 3-pointer late in the quarter to cut the Hornets’ deficit to 32-34.

The Dons’ head coach called a timeout to break the Hornets’ momentum. It appeared to work as the Acalanes freshman Karyss Lacanlale hit a 3-pointer to increase their lead to 37-32. Two free throws by senior Maddie Mersch cut the lead to 37-34. However, Acalanes sophomore Jenna Steele hit a 3-pointer right as time expired. The Dons led 40-34 at the end of the third quarter.

A 3-pointer by Mastora and a bucket by Merch cut Alameda’s deficit to 40-39, but this was the closest the Hornets would get in the match. The Dons went on a 11-2 run and stretched their lead to 51-41 late in the fourth quarter.

Mastora led the Hornets with 14 points including four 3-pointers. Johnson was second on the team with eight points, including 2 3-pointers. Chin led the Dons with 21 points.

Alameda finished 13-8 overall on the season.