SJND Hoopsters Sweep NCS

SJND Men’s
The St. Joseph Notre Dame (SJND) men’s basketball team overcame an early deficit to gain a 65-61 victory over University High of San Francisco last Saturday, March 5, to win the North Coast Section (NCS) Div. V crown.

The number-one-seed Pilots won the hard fought contest with a late push in the final period. The Red Devils tied the game up at 59 late in the fourth quarter. The Pilots proceeded to end the game on an 8-4 run to finish the game.

The Pilots got key contributions from its top two juniors. Guard Darne Duckett scored 17 points in the section championship, including 11 points in the fourth quarter. The Pilots’ other top junior guard, Jadé Smith, led the team with 21 points in the contest.

The Pilots’ defense had trouble stopping the Red Devils to begin the game. University scored 22 points in the first quarter and led 22-16 at the end of the period. But that was their highest point total in a quarter all game. The Red Devils secured a 41-32 lead at halftime. The Pilots cut into the lead with a 16-12 third quarter, but it was the final period that put SJND over the top. 

The Pilots outscored its opponent 17-8 in the final quarter to win the contest. Sophomore Cameron Ba pitched in 10 points for the Pilots, while junior forward Miles Harris contributed eight points.

SJND took down Stuart Hall of San Francisco 63-45 in the Div. V semifinal on March 2. In that match-up the Pilots led from start to finish. Smith scored 24 points including three, three-pointers, but Duckett led the Pilots with 25 points. The two combined for 49 of the teams 63 points.

This is the fifth NCS Div. V title in the last six years for the Pilots and the sixth in the last eight years. They lost to the Red Devils 68-65 in the NCS Div. V semifinal last year. They lost to Branson of Ross in the NCS Div. V final in 2010. 

This is the third time the Pilots beat University in the NCS final in the last five years. The Pilots beat the Red Devils in the championship game in 2011 (63-32) and 2013 (44-38). 

With the win, the Pilots will enter the NorCal Div. V tournament with a 22-9 overall record. SJND earned the number one seed — out of 12 teams — in the tournament. The top four seeds get a bye in the opening round, meaning the Pilots moved right to the quarterfinal round. In the quarterfinal they will play the winner of Williams and Woodside Priory on March 12.

SJND Women

The SJND women’s team won the women’s NCS Division V title in much more smoother fashion than the men’s team. The Pilots took down Urban of San Francisco 53-28 on March 5.

The Pilots made the Blues feel black and blue with their suffocating defense. The Pilots held Urban to under 10 points of offensive in the first three quarters, including the second period when the Blues manage to score only one point.

The Pilots on the other hand were steady on offensive scoring in double figures in each quarter. SJND led 12-8 at the end of the first period. But it was the 10-1 second quarter that blew the game open for the Pilots. They led 22-9 at the end of the first half. They doubled the Blues in points, 16-8, in the third quarter. SJND’s defense let up just a little in the final quarter, but they still managed to outscore its opponent 15-11.

Three Pilots scored in double figures in the championship match. Senior Ayesha Kearns led the way with 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Both junior Mira Love-Sangco and sophomore Kayla Nunn scored 10 points. Kearns also chipped in 14 rebounds and three blocks.

The Pilots won the NCS Div. II women’s championship in 2011 (52-29 over Rincon Valley in Christian of Santa Rosa) and 2012 (70-68 over International of San Francisco). The Pilots lost the NCS final last year 70-55 to Valley Christian of Dublin.

SJND beat University 46-35 in the semifinal on March 2. The Pilots got off to a great start in the semifinal. They led the Red Devils 28-17 at the end of the first half. The Pilots struggled on offensive shooting under 33 percent from the field and just 1-10 from the three-point line, but was able to rely on its tenacious defensive to key them to victory. 

Nunn led the Pilots with 14 points. Kearns also had three blocks in the semifinal.

SJND enters the NorCal Div. V playoffs with a 24-8 overall record. They were awarded the number two seed — out of 12 teams. The will play the winner of Mt. Shasta and Ripon Christian on March 12.