Three Island Teams Still in NCS

All six Alameda high school basketball teams competed in the opening stages of the North Coast Section (NCS) basketball playoffs last week with teams experiencing mixed results.

Men’s Playoff
The St. Joseph Notre Dame (SJND) men’s team (20-9) won its first two playoff matches. The one-seed SJND took down the 16-seed Sonoma Academy of Santa Rosa 71-36 on Feb. 24. The game was relatively close at the half with the Pilots leading 40-28 at the break. But the Pilots stepped up its defense in the second half and outscored the Coyotes 31-8 in the final two quarters. Pilot guard Darne Duckett led the team with 17 points. 

The Pilots team also won its second round match by at least 30 points. SJND took down College Prep of Oakland 62-32 on Feb. 27. The Pilots put the game away in the first period with defensive intensity. The Pilots led 16-0 at the end of the first quarter. Junior Jadé Smith led the team with 21 points.

The Pilots took on Stuart Hall of San Francisco in the semifinal on Tuesday. The winner will play the winner of Urban and University of San Francisco in the Div. V final.

The Encinal men’s team was given the nine seed in the NCS Div. III playoffs. The Jets were unable to advance to the second round as they lost to Analy of Sebastopol — the eight seed — 47-39 on Feb. 23. The Jets led 29-28 at the end of the third quarter, but the Tigers outscored the Jets 19-10 in the final period. Senior Javon Johnson led the squad with 13 points. Junior Jordan Armstrong scored 22 points to lead Analy. The Jets' season ends with an overall record of 15-14.

Alameda men’s team was awarded the 11 seed in the Div. II playoffs. They also did not advance past the first round. They were knocked off 77-48 to Las Lomas of Walnut Creek on Feb. 23. 

The Hornets could not stop the Knights’ high-powered offense. The Knights scored at least 18 points in each quarter. Junior Scott Tran led the team with 10 points. The Hornets' season ends with an 11-19 overall record.

Women’s Playoff
The SJND women’s team (22-8) also won its first two playoff matches in blowout fashion. They beat Holy Names of Oakland 72-10 on Feb. 24 and International of San Francisco 66-30 on Feb. 27.

Kayla Nunn led the Pilots with 22 points in the opening round game against Holy Names. Aiyanna Dueberry scored a team-high 20 points against International. 

The Pilots took on University of San Francisco in the semifinals yesterday. The winner will play the winner of Cloverdale and Urban in the final.

The Encinal women’s team went 1-1 in their short-lived NCS Div. III stint. The eight-seed Jets won an 83-78 overtime thriller over Moreau Catholic of Hayward in the first round on Feb. 23. The Jets were fueled by a miraculous performance from senior guard Destiny Kelly. Kelly scored 49 point in the contest including six three-pointers. Caprice Taylor scored 14 points for the Jets. 

The Jets fortunes took a turn when they were defeated 82-48 in the second round on Feb. 26 at the hands of Miramonte of Orinda. The Jets were outscored 31-6 in the first quarter.

The Alameda women’s team (15-13) took down its first two opponents in the Div. II playoffs. The sixth-seed Hornets beat San Lorenzo 65-29 in the opening round on Feb. 23 then upset the three-seed Newark Memorial 54-44 on Feb. 26. 

The team played Acalanes of Lafayette yesterday. The winner plays the winner of Carondelet and Montgomery in the final.