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February 22, 2011 > Third battle between MSJ and Logan crowns MVAL champs

Third battle between MSJ and Logan crowns MVAL champs

By Nick Zambrano
Photo by Mike Heightchew

After beating Washington High on Feb. 10, Mission San Jose High girls basketball head coach Doug Sakamoto said that the regular season finale with James Logan High was going to be meaningful. He couldn't have been more right.

Defending their home court on senior night, James Logan handed the Lady Warriors a timely defeat and forced a one-game playoff for the Mission Valley Athletic League title. And so now the two teams met on the neutral floor at Washington High on Saturday night, Feb. 19, to settle the score once and for all.

In their previous tango, the Lady Colts were able to breakthrough Mission's rigid defense and got a solid from Camille De Leon and All-MVAL selections Chelsea Salom and Kalene Correia. The trio of seniors combined for 30 points in that 40-23 final.

"They played just like three-year guard, senior varsity players should play," Logan head coach Frank Borghi said of his seniors in Thursday's game.

Nevertheless, Saturday's contest was a game neither Sakamoto or Borghi would ever forget about. But it was Sakamoto's Lady Warriors that would remember it more as they pulled away with a dramatic 33-28 victory.

"I feel relieved, I feel proud of the girls. The most meaningful part is that we lost to them on Thursday and then come back and play determined basketball," Sakamoto commented. "We just took care of the ball and made better decisions. We made some outside shots, which we haven't been doing against them (Logan), so that definitely helped."

A game that was close throughout, the first half score could have been mistaken for a little league tee-ball game. Leading scorers at the half - a 13-5 MSJ lead - were Ilene Tsao of Mission with seven and Christina Campbell of the Lady Colts with three.

"As familiar as we are with them and as familiar as they are with us, two teams that defend decently, it's kind of like what we expected," said Borghi of the skimpy first half.

Camille De Leon took matters into her own hands in the third. The shifty guard helped the Lady Colts climb back from a 7-0 Mission run by scoring all 11 of the team's points in the frame. In a little over a minute, De Leon ripped off eight of those 11.

Second chance baskets proved to be the difference for as they prevailed in the rebounding game, out-rebounding the Lady Colts, 32-20. Mission bigs Maya Ramachandran and Jessica Woo each recorded double digit rebounds, stockpiling 11 and 10 respectively. Woo's 10 boards complimented her 14 points for a double-double.

Aside from claiming the MVAL title, the Lady Warriors (25-2, 12-1) clinched a spot in the North Coast Section (NCS) Division I Championships. Mission received the fourth seed and will be playing Granada High in the first round of the tournament on Feb. 22. Logan (21-6, 11-2) received an at-large bid as the fifth seed. They'll be playing Pittsburgh High in their first round dance on the same day.

After the Titans boys basketball team fell to James Logan on Feb. 9, the Newark Memorial Cougars were granted the opportunity to play spoiler to Kennedy's dreams of an MVAL title.

The defending MVAL and CIF Division I Northern regional champs, Newark (20-6, 11-1) made due on the chance and blasted the Titans out of the water with ease. Due in part to a 10-0 run in the first quarter that cultivated in a 20-4 ending of the frame.

The deficit was too much for Kennedy (22-4, 10-2) to handle and eventually they succumbed to an overwhelming amount of fouls. They had 26 in the half alone. Their one bright spot came way of D'Vaughn Mann, who led all scorers with 22 points and eight rebounds.

Newark was led by Casey Norris and Kendall Andrews. While Norris had 18 points, it was Andrews who racked up a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

The Cougars will be the fourth seed in the Division I portion of the NCS, they'll match up against no. 13 seed of Freedom on Feb. 22. Due to their smaller enrollment, Kennedy will be playing in the Division III section of the tournament. The Titans will be the heavy favorite in their match-up with Albany High on Feb. 22. Both games will tip-off at 7 p.m.

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