Pilots Shine in Hoops Postseason


Men’s Basketball
Defending North Coast Section (NCS) Div. V champions, the St. Joseph Notre Dame (SJND) men’s basketball team, began its quest for a NCS Div. IV title with a 56-32 victory over Healdsburg Saturday, Feb. 25.

The Pilots jumped out to a 14-2 lead in the early stages of the contest. The visiting Greyhounds responded with a 10-2 run to shorten the gap to 16-12 in the second quarter. But the Pilots used an 8-2 run to stretch their lead to 24-14 at the half. The Greyhounds were unable to make it a more competitive contest in the second half. The Pilots at one point led by 28 points.

SJND was led by senior guard Darne Duckett. Duckett, who will play at Whitman College in Washington State next year, scored 14 points and added six steals. Junior forward Cameron Ba nailed three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points. Senior guard Jadé Smith finished with nine points, 11 rebounds, 10 steals and six assists. Freshman forward Isaiah Mellor scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds.

Healdsburg (19-8) sophomore Trey Chapman led the team with 14 points, while senior Landon Courtman chipped in 11 points.

SJND (28-1) advanced to the NCS Div. IV semifinal where they went against Stuart Hall of San Francisco on Wednesday. The game was played at the SJND home gym. The winner advances to the NCS final where they will meet the winner of the other semifinal between St. Patrick-St. Vincent of Vallejo and Lick-Wilmerding of San Francisco.

SJND and Stuart Hall played each other earlier this season on Jan. 14. The Pilots took down the Knights 74-45 in the contest. The two teams also played each other three times last season with the Pilots winning all three games. The Pilots beat the Knights 44-41 in the regular season on Jan. 30, 2016. SJND beat Stuart Hall in the NCS Div. V semifinal 61-45. Finally, SJND beat the Knights in the California Interscholastic Federation Div. V Norcal regional final in a 67-58 triple-overtime thriller.

The Pilots are looking for their 17th NCS men’s basketball title. The win was No. 828 for SJND head coach Don Lippi. 

The Pilots are the one seed, out of 15 teams, in the tournament.

Women’s Basketball
The St. Joseph Notre Dame (SJND) women’s basketball team cruised to a 65-42 victory over Kelseyville in the quarterfinals of the North Coast Section (NCS) Div. IV playoffs Saturday, Feb. 25.

The defending NCS Div. V champs were too much for the Knights. The Pilots took a 15-4 lead after sophomore Zhane Duckett hit her second 3-pointer in the first quarter. The Pilots were never tested the rest of the match up. The Pilots led 18-9 at the end of the first quarter. They led 32-21 at the end of the first half. The Pilots really put the clamps into the Knights in the third quarter where they scored 25 points and led 57-35 by the end of the quarter.

The Pilots were led by two underclassmen in freshman Malia Mastora and sophomore Duckett. The two combined for 41 of the team’s 65 points. Mastora scored 22 points on 6-of-14 shooting. She also went 8-of-10 from the free-throw line. The freshman also contributed seven rebounds, seven steals and three blocks in the quarterfinal match up. 

Duckett scored 19 points in the game. She went 7-of-11 from the field including 2-of-3 from the 3-point line. She led the team with six assists. 

Senior Aiyanna Dueberry hit three 3-pointers and finished with nine points. Junior center Kayla Nunn added seven points and seven rebounds. Freshman guard Malia Lepolo had a solid effort with six points, three rebounds, three steals and three assists.
Kelseyville (26-4) got 13 points from senior Haleigh Meyer and 12 points from senior Alma Perez.

SJND (25-4) played Arcata in the NCS Div. IV semifinal yesterday. Arcata defeated Swett of Crockett 84-28 to advance to the semifinal round. SJND beat Arcata earlier this season 41-35 on Dec. 30, 2016.

The winner will take on either Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa or Marin Catholic of Kentfield in the final. SJND is the two seed, out of 14 teams in the tournament. They were given an opening-round bye.  

SJND won the NCS Div. V tournament last season with a 53-28 victory in the final against Urban of San Francisco.