Mastora Powers Hornets into the Next Round

Mastora Powers Hornets into the Next Round

In the first round of the 2023 Div. I North Coast Section (NCS) women’s basketball championship tournament, junior Malani Mastora (#3) scored 35 points, leading Alameda High School (AHS) to a 79-51 victory over Deer Valley High School of Antioch.

This NCS opener took place Feb 14 at AHS in front of a sparse crowd of spectators. Despite having four players out with season ending injuries, including co-captain senior Gloria Seidl (#15), the Hornets had little difficulty overpowering its opponents en route to a blowout win.

The only lead Deer Valley held came in the opening minutes of the contest when the Wolverines held a 5-3 advantage. From that point, AHS used its trademark full-court trapping defense, forcing the Wolverines to commit several turnovers leading to multiple open layups and three-point attempts for Mastora, sophomore Juliana Johnson (#22) and their teammates. The Hornets broke the contest open early, taking a 28-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.

In the second quarter, the Wolverines began to turn things around as they grew into the game and started generating better shot attempts on offense. This opportunity came when Alameda stopped its full-court defense after obtaining the sizable lead. However, Deer Valley’s offensive runs were always answered by the hot-shooting Hornets, who found holes in the Wolverines’ defense throughout the game. Mastora, in particular, was on fire, seemingly scoring the majority of times when her team had the basketball. The Hornets took a 41-18 lead into halftime.

The second half was more of the same as the teams continued trading baskets with Alameda maintaining its double-digit lead, up 30 after three quarters. Seniors Maddy Olavides (#11) and Naomi Williams (#30) played well for Deer Valley in the second half in an attempt to spark a comeback, but the Hornets’ lead proved insurmountable. Given the team’s lead and minimized depth, the Hornets played its second string the first few minutes of the final quarter, the only time in this game when the visitors looked to be the better team on the court.

Following a few minutes, Mastora and the rest of the starters came back into the game to settle things down. After the game, Alameda assistant coach Brian Sato shared his takeaways of the game.

“I think we shot the ball well today, 11 for 22 on three pointers,” said Sato. “If we shoot the ball well, I think we are pretty tough to beat. We could definitely work on our defense. I thought we gave up too many points and shots.”

With the win, Alameda advances to round two at league rival San Leandro High School Friday, Feb. 17. The game carries major stakes as not only is it the playoffs, but it's the rubber match as these two teams split their two matchups this season. Additionally, Sato said that this game will determine who wins third place in the West Alameda County Conference – Foothill League as both teams tied for third in the regular season behind Piedmont and Bishop O’ Dowd.