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SoCalHoops State Tournament

D-III SoCal & NorCal Regionals:
1st Round Results & Brackets--(Mar. 7, 2002)

We've updated the bracket (below) and are posting complete results from last night's games, in both SoCal and the NorCal regionals, so that everyone gets a better perspective on the teams that won, the teams that lost and the upcoming matchups which will happen this Saturday in the regional semifinals.   We obviously couldn't be everywhere at once, but we've managed to cull together the highlights from just about every game, with links back to the original newspaper sources in the event you want to see other background stories and results on a particular team.

SoCal Division III Regionals NorCal Division III Regionals
First Round

Bishop Montgomery 89, Kearny 49
Palm Desert 60,  St. Augustine 45
Fresno Washington Union 66, Bishop Amat 63
Compton Centennial 63, Bakersfield East 51

First round

Sacred Heart Cathedral 64, Anderson 48
Crescent City Del Norte 59, Natomas 57
SF Riordan 64, Enterprise 59
Foothill 68, Piner 62

SoCal
Round 1
March 6
7:30 p.m.
SoCal Round 2
March 9
7:30 p.m.
SoCal Finals
March 16
12:00 p.m.
LB Arena
State Finals,
March 23
2:45 p.m.
ARCO ARENA
NorCal Finals
March 16 -
12:00 p.m.
UC Davis Rec.
NorCal
Round 2,
March 9
7:30 p.m.
NorCal Round 1
March 6
7:30 p.m.
Kearny 49
@
* Bishop Montgomery 89
  Palm Desert

@ BHMS 7:30 p.m.

Bishop Montg.
      Sacred Heart

@ Kezar 7:30 p.m.

Del Norte
 * Sacred Heart 64
@ Kezar Pavilion
7:30 p.m.
Anderson 48
   
Palm Desert 60
@
* St. Augustine 45
Natomas 57
@
Del Norte 59
   
Washington Union 66
@
Bishop Amat 63
  Washington Union

@

Compton Centenn.

Riordan

@ Foothills HS

Foothills HS

Riordan 64
@
Enterprise 59
   
*Compton Centennial 63
@
Bakersfield East 51
Piner 62
@
Foothill 68

No. 1 Bishop Montgomery 89, Kearny 49 --

From the LA Times
By Eric Stephens

The Knights (25-6) rolled to a 25-5 lead after one quarter and coasted to the first round victory at Bishop Montgomery. Fred Washington scored 25 points, Gavin Lee had 21 points and Brandon Peace added 17 as Bishop Montgomery shot 53% from the field and made 10 three pointers. "They probably haven't played the kind of schedule that we've played this year," Bishop Montgomery coach Doug Mitchell. "We just wanted to put a lot of pressure on them from the beginning. We were focused on what we're doing as a team." Kearney's Terrance Tucker made a three pointer to finish off a 14-6 run that pulled the Hornets (15-15) to within 12 points in the second quarter. Bishop Montgomery reasserted its dominance with a 16-2 run to end the quarter. Washington, Peace, and Lee combined for 36 of the Knights' 47 first half points. Eric Stephens

From the San Diego Union Tribune:

Fred Washington had 23 points and Gavin Lee scored 21 to lead host Torrance Bishop Montgomery (25-6). Senior guard Erskine Ware had 14 points and senior forward Spencer Hancock and sophomore forward Wilfredo Vasquez both scored seven for Kearny (15-15).   BISHOP MONTGOMERY 89,  KEARNY 49  Kearny 5 16 13 15 – 49 Bishop Mont. 25 22 22 20 – 89 Kearny (15-15) – Hancock 7, Torres 5, Tucker 5, Rooks 2, Garrett 5, Ware 14, Rivera 2, Vasquez 7, Johnson 2. Bishop Montgomery (25-6) – Peace 19, Estrada 2, F.Washington 23, Lee 21, M.Washington 3, Clark 6, Scott 2, Dodd 6, Dinns 4, Autry 3. Three-point goals – Peace 5, Clark 2, Autry, Lee, M.Washington, Tucker, Vasquez.

From the Daily Breeze
Knights Twice As Nice
By Tony Ciniglio, Daily Breeze
[excerpts related to boys' game only]

After emotionally charged CIF championship games, the Bishop Montgomery boys and girls basketball teams were able to catch their breath with blowout victories in the first round of the CIF Division III Southern California Regional playoffs.  The boys, coming off one of the bigger surprises of CIF championship weekend with a victory over previously unbeaten Centennial, enjoyed an 89-49 romp over Kearny, the San Diego Section runner-up. The girls, who rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit to overcome Muir in the CIF Division III-A championship, coasted to a 64-36 victory over Apple Valley, the CIF III-AA runner-up. Bishop Montgomery, which is looking for its third straight state title for both the boys and girls programs, will host another doubleheader on Saturday. The boys will face Palm Desert, a 60-45 winner over St. Augustine, and the girls will take on Muir, a 101-76 winner over Santee. “It's obviously going to get tougher than this,” Bishop Montgomery boys coach Doug Mitchell said. “Kearny just hasn't seen the level of competition we've seen this year. They're not used to our quickness. They're probably the quicker ones most of the time.”  The Bishop Montgomery boys (25-6) pounced on Kearny (15-15) from the outset, racing to a 25-3 lead. To Kearny's credit, it battled back in the second quarter and closed within 33-21 with 3:05 left, but the Knights closed the first half with a 14-0 run for a 47-21 halftime lead.  The Knights opened the second half with a 16-2 run that featured an array of dunks and alley-oops from Fred Washington and Gavin Lee that served as an exclamation point on a 30-2 run. Washington, who scored 25 points, said the Knights wanted to atone for what they felt was a sluggish first half.  “It took awhile for us to get into our groove, but once we did, we got it going,” Washington said. “It was like miss-a-layup night at the beginning. Then we let them come back into it in the second quarter, so we came out kind of upset in the second half. We got on ourselves. We poured it on in the second half.”   Lee finished with 21 points and Brandon Peace contributed 17 points for the Knights, including five 3-pointers. The Knights also had 10 different players score at least two points. Washington and Lee put on quite a show in the second half. Washington took a pass from Ryan Howard and delivered a reverse jam. Washington added a reverse dunk on a breakaway and even converted on an alley-oop at one point. Lee also had a monster dunk on a give-and-go from Peace.  “In a championship game, those are layups, but up by 40 points, you miss it, you miss it, no big deal,” Lee said. “Our season is coming to a close, and we wanted to give our true fans some fun memories. We were just trying to have fun. We're going after that three-peat now, that's what I'm talking about.” 

Palm Desert 60, No. 4 St. Augustine 45

From the LA Times:

Josh Zazulia scored 20 points to lead fourth-seeded Palm Desert (26-5), which held an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter, but pulled away when Donald Brady hit three three-pointers. Romero [sic] Marentez scored 18 for St. Augustine (7-15).

From the San Diego Union Tribune

Josh Zazulia scored a game-high 20 to lead the Aztecs past the Saints at Southwestern College. Rommel Marentez led St. Augustine (16-15) with 18 points. Chris Agnes scored 14 for the No. 4-seeded Saints. Palm Desert improved to 26-5. PALM DESERT 60, ST. AUGUSTINE 45  Palm Desert 10 20 11 19 – 60 St. Augustine 8 13 11 13 – 45 Palm Desert (26-5) – Zazulia 20, McQuillen 11, Walkins 10, Brady 12, Broyles 2, Bohm 5. St. Augustine (16-15) – Marentez 18, Agnes 14, Iase 3, Dubenetsky 6, Silva 2, Schmidt 2. Three-point goals – Marentez 3, Zazulia 2, McQuillen 2, Brady 3.

Fresno Washington Union 66, No. 3 Bishop Amat 63

From the LA Times
By Dan Arritt

Bishop Amat went cold at the free throw line in the closing seconds and lost its Division III first round game at Bishop Amat. The Lancers (25-7) missed seven of 10 free throws in the final 22 seconds, which allowed Washington Union (24-5) to maintain its slim lead. Bishop Amat's final miss from the line with 3.2 seconds remaining was intentional, but Paul Porter's desperation three-pointer came up short at the buzzer. Washington Union sophomore guard Dwight O' Neal scored 17 of his team high 26 points in the fourth quarter, hitting 11 of 14 free throws in the final quarter, which began with both teams tied at 39. John Haywood scored 26 points to lead Bishop Amat, including 11 in the fourth quarter.   Dan Arritt

From the Fresno Bee
Panthers prevail in close one
By James Escarcega, Special To The Bee

LA PUENTE -- Coming into Wednesday's Division 3 first-round game of the Southern Regionals, the major knock on the Washington High boys basketball team was they couldn't win the close games.  Don't tell that to Bishop Amat. The Panthers made 17 of 24 free throws in the fourth quarter and advanced to the quarterfinals with a 66-63 win. Washington next faces Centennial of Compton, a 63-51 winner over East Bakersfield, on Saturday.  "The guys showed a lot of character this evening," Washington coach Vonn Webb said. "They beat a very good team and played hard the entire 40 minutes." The Panthers can thank guard Dwight O'Neill. The sophomore made 11 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter and finished with 22 points.  "We needed those free throws badly," Webb said. "They came at crucial times." While the Panthers were converting on their side of the court, the Lancers were having trouble making their free throws, shooting 8-for-20 from the line in the final quarter. "[Washington] is for real--no question about it," Bishop Amat coach Ray Lokar said.  Another Panther who came through was JaVance Coleman. The senior also scored 22 points, including a three-point play with 4 minutes, 41 seconds remaining that gave the Panthers a 50-43 lead. Panther fans had reason to worry in the third quarter when the Lancers went on an 11-0 run and took a 37-36 lead with 2:17 remaining. But it was O'Neill who gave Washington the lead for good early in the fourth when he made two consecutive layups to give the Panthers a 43-41 lead. Washington improved to 24-5, while Bishop Amat finished its season 25-7.

From the Pasadena Star-News & San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Lancers' rally falls short in regionals
By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer

LA PUENTE -- It had to end sometime.  The Bishop Amat High School boys basketball team, however, just didn't want it to be Wednesday night and the Lancers played like it before visiting Fresno Washington Union finally ended their season with a 66-63 victory in a the first round of the CIF Southern California Regionals.  Bishop Amat (25-7), which captured its first CIF-Southern Section divisional championship this past Saturday, fought to the end before senior guard Paul Porter's desperation 3-point shot at the buzzer fell short. "That was the epitome of our season," said Bishop Amat coach Ray Lokar, whose team nearly rallied from a nine-point deficit during the final two minutes. "The kids have done everything we asked them. "The way it ended, it shows how all these guys work together and what they do to execute and make us successful. Sometimes you can be disappointed at the result, but with an effort like that, you have to take pride in yourself. If we make more free throws and that shot goes in at the end, we're jumping for joy." But it didn't and the Lancers weren't  Until then, Washington Union (24-5), which received 28 points from sophomore guard Dwight O'Neil and 20 from senior guard JaVance Coleman, used its quickness to build a 31-22 advantage during the first half. "We were about eight of 16 from the free-throw line (in the first half) and they got two fast-break baskets at the end (of the half)," said Lokar, whose team received 26 points from senior John Haywood and 14 from Porter. "If we make four more (free throws) and they don't get those baskets, it's a tie game.   "We didn't make huge adjustments, we just needed to prevent those easy baskets. We talked about rebounding, transition baskets and protecting the ball. I thought we did those things better in the second half."  That, and Haywood, propelled the Lancers to an 11-0 run midway through the third quarter. Haywood, who scored 15 of his 24 points in the second half, started the run with a fast-break layup and Porter ended it with a 3-pointer for a 37-36 advantage with 2:20 left in the quarter. Washington Union, which faces Compton Centennial in the regional semifinals on Saturday, rallied to tie the score at 39-39 before opening the fourth quarter with an 8-2 blitz and taking a 47-41 lead with 5:56 left in the game. The Panthers upped the margin to 58-49 with just over a minute to play, but the Lancers wouldn't quit. Bishop Amat, with a little help from Washington Union, cut the advantage to 63-59 with 22 seconds left and to 64-61 with 13 ticks remaining.  "They live and die by that type of defense," said Lokar after watching the Panthers keep the Lancers in the game with some questionable fouling down the stretch. "So they certainly aren't going to change anything up. I was glad they continued to press and send us to free-throw line."  The Lancers, though, couldn't take advantage, missing eight of 19 free throws during the fourth quarter. Still, they had one chance with 2.7 seconds left. Guard Henry Largaespada intentionally missed his second free-throw attempt. The rebound was then tipped to Porter, but his desperation toss from about 25 feet was short.  "We had an opportunity to tie it at the end," Lokar said. "Sometimes shots go in, sometimes they don't."

No. 2 Compton Centennial 63, Bakersfield East 51

From the LA Times:

Darius Sanders had 15 points and 14 rebounds and teammate Arron Afflalo added 15 points, including 10 of 10 from the free throw line in the last three minutes. Compton Centennial (29-1) and will play Fresno Washington Saturday.

From the Bakersfield Californian
Compton-Centennial pulls away from East boys
By Todd Camps

For nearly 30 minutes Wednesday night, the East High boys basketball team outplayed and outhustled heavily-favored Compton-Centennial. But Centennial, the No. 1-ranked team in Division III, pulled away in the final two minutes to escape the East gym with a 63-51 victory in the first round of the CIF Southern California regional playoffs. The Apaches converted on 13-of-16 free throws to cap a 23-7 game-ending run. Despite a 17-point effort from Fred Pineda, the Blades (20-9) lost momentum in the game's final six minutes.   Trailing 44-40 in the fourth quarter, the Apaches reeled off 10 unanswered points and held the Blades without a field goal for more than four and a half minutes. By that point it was too late. "They played their hearts out," said East coach Milt Henderson. "That's all you can ask for." East (20-8) had the Apaches (29-1) on the ropes early, forcing turnovers and holding Centennial star Darius Sanders in check. The Blades' zone rattled Sanders, holding him to one field goal in the first quarter. "We tried triple-teaming him (Sanders) early," said Henderson. "We wanted him to kick it out (the ball) to the point guard." East's strategy worked effectively as the Apaches struggled to get the ball inside and were inconsistent from the perimeter. "It was either let Sanders have it within two feet of the basket or have them (Centennial guards) settle for a 20-footer," Henderson said. "We chose the 20-footer." The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Sanders matched up against East's Nathan Rhodes, a 6-7, 330-pound center. Both players aggressively battled and the two will face off on the gridiron in college beginning next fall. Sanders is headed to Oregon and Rhodes is Washington-bound. Sanders finished with 15 points while Rhodes had just 1. East took control early, taking a 16-10 lead in the second quarter after a put-back by Pineda. Pineda gave the Apache guards fits, but Centennial later turned up the pressure. Centennial sophomore guards Arron Afflalo and Garbriel Pruitt attacked the Blades' interior to pace the Apaches. Afflalo scored 15 points and Pruitt added 12 and the two keyed a tough defensive effort by the Apaches, who led 28-27 at the half and 38-37 after three periods. The Blades remained opportuninstic, however, benefitting from frequent traveling violations and sloppy ballhandling by Centennial.  Centennial tightened up at both ends of the court to outscore the Blades 25-14 in the fourth en route to victory. For East, the outcome validated the team's improvement through the course of the season. "We just blended together at the end of the season," Henderson said. "It took us a while to gel, but we peaked late."

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram
Afflalo's finish lifts Centennial
Boys Basketball: After slow start, guard scores 15 in second half.
By Louis Johnson
Staff writer


After watching him miss his first three shots in a rather nondescript first half performance in Wednesday night's state playoff game against host East Bakersfield, Centennial High boys basketball coach Rod Palmer had a stern message for sophomore guard Arron Afflalo.  "I told him at halftime if he missed another layup he wouldn't get a chance to miss another one after that," Palmer said. "I guess he listened to me."  Afflalo came out after halftime and played arguably his best half of the season, scoring all 15 of his points and dishing out 4 assists to help the Apaches pull away down the stretch for a 63-51 triumph over the Blades in a Division III Southern California Regional first round game.  Senior forward Darius Sanders muscled his way inside for 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds and sophomore guard Gabriel Pruitt added 12 points as Centennial (29-1) advanced to Saturday's regional semifinals, where it will play Fresno Washinton Union, a 66-63 winner over Bishop Amat. The game will be Saturday night at Centennial.  Afflalo, who missed a pair of crucial layups in the Apaches' 57-55 loss to Bishop Montgomery in Saturday's CIF Southern Section Division III-A championship game, showed remarkable poise down the stretch against East Bakersfield (20-9), making all eight of his free-throw attempts in the final three minutes of play.   "It feels good to play this way tonight, especially after what happened (on Saturday)," Afflalo said. "I tried my best to put that behind me and concentrate on what I needed to do to get us a win in this game."  Centennial took a 38-37 lead into the fourth quarter and watched as the Blades opened with a quick 7-2 spurt, capped by John Calvillo's 3-pointer for a 44-40 lead with little more than six minutes to play.  The Apaches responded with a game-changing 10-0 run of their own, including five points by Sanders to take a 50-44 lead with 3:33 remaining. The game became a free-throw shooting contest after that, and the Apaches were more than up to the task, making 13 of their final 14 attempts to put the game away. They made 24 of 38 free throws overall, including 15 of 20 in the final period.  "(Afflalo) really stepped up big for us," said Palmer of his sophomore playmaker, who made three of his four field goal attempts in the second half. "It's hard to come back from what happened, but he's a player and he has heart." 



NorCal Division III Regionals
First round

San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral 64, Anderson 48
Crescent City Del Norte 59, Sacramento Natomas 57
San Francisco Riordan 64, Redding Enterprise 59
Sacramento Foothill 68, Santa Rosa Piner 62


San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral 64, Anderson 48

From the SF Chronicle:

Sacred Heart Cathedral was as good as it needed to be last night.  Playing as flat as they have all season, the Irish shrugged off foul problems and a poor shooting night to advance to the semifinals of the NorCal Division III State Championships at Kezar Pavilion. The top-seeded Irish struggled to a 65-48 win over Anderson Union of Redding. They'll meet Del Norte, which beat Natomas 59-57.  Sacred Heart's John Passaglia (15 points) made
four second-half 3-pointers to lift the Irish past the eighth-ranked Cubs.

Crescent City Del Norte 59, Sacramento Natomas 57

From the Eureka Times-Standard
Del Norte boys pull another miracle out of the hat
Jack Rux The Times-Standard

CRESCENT CITY -- The Del Norte Warriors reached deep in their pocket of miracles and pulled out another Wednesday night. The boys basketball team stayed on a roll, coming back once again in the final minutes to take a 59-57 victory over Natomas of Sacramento, the runner-up in the San Joaquin section. This time Levi Pulley didn't shoot. He passed to Justin Clifton, who hit the winner for the North Coast Section championship Saturday night down in Santa Rosa. But this time Clifton didn't shoot either. Camped under the right side of the hoop, with two Nighthawks looming over him, Clifton slipped the ball to Flynt Pierce on the other side of the lane, and the junior put in a wide-open layup with six seconds to go. It stood up when the Nighthawks on their last play tried an alley-oop pass on an inbounds play from the side with 2.1 seconds left, and Freddy Robinson tipped it away, and Del Norte players kept tipping it until the clock expired to the deafening delight of a Del Norte High gym packed to the limit with Warriors' fans. If Del Norte keeps pulling out miracles like this, they won't be considered miracles anymore. "I told Blaine (Lopez), my assistant coach, where we got better was three games ago," coach Kirk Burrows said. "But I'm telling you, Cinderella's slipper is getting a little tight. Pretty soon we are going to have to dance at the ball in them. We just don't want midnight to ring." With the latest unlikely victory, Del Norte moves on the semifinals of the NorCals with a Saturday night game in San Francisco against No. 1 seed Sacred Heart Cathedral, which beat Anderson 63-48 Wednesday night. The 7:30 p.m. game will be at Kezar Pavilion. Del Norte went to 22-6 on the season while Natomas' season ended at 18-13. While Del Norte trailed in this game by as much as 13 points, it was early on, in the second quarter, at 29-16. But by halftime the Warriors had come battling back to 29-25 before Natomas' Brian Edwards got a close-in basket to make it 31-25 at the interval. Del Norte came back to tie it up at 31-31 early in the third period, and would again and again, only for Natomas to pull back ahead by a few, the last time to 42-36 with two minutes to go in the third quarter on back-to-back hoops by Brian Videau, who led Natomas with 16 points. It was still 42-37 heading into the fourth quarter, but after a 3-pointer by A.J. Webster and a pair of free throws by the 6-foot-7 Pulley, it was tied 42-42 and turned into a nail-biter all the way to the gun.  Pulley led the Warriors with a game-high 18 points, but Travis Webster also stepped up in this game with a big 12 points, including a 3-pointer to tie back at 57-57 after the Nighthawks' Danny Shaw calmly drilled the last of his four 3-pointers. Of the winning play, Burrows said, "We got it to Justin down low in a high-low play with Levi. And I'll be danged if he didn't make a great pass to Flynt. "Flynt doesn't have great range, but I have a lot of confidence in him at that range." Point-blank. Bang-bang. He shot the Nighthawks down. But the Sacramento team had 5.9 seconds left, plenty of time. Del Norte, though, realized it had only five fouls, so the Warriors had one to give, and they fouled Kevin Osborne as he drove from center court toward the key with 2.1 seconds left. After another timeout came the alley-oop pass try, attempting to get it to Videau, but the Natomas passer didn't get it high or deep enough." You have some great fans up here," Natomas coach Marc Jones said. "Two years ago, they came down to our place and lost a close one, but I tell you this is great. "To have a gym packed an hour before tip-off, and they are so respectful," said the Natomas coach, who looks a lot like a young George Foreman. But on this night, his team could deal no knockout punch. "This is a great environment to play a game," Jones said. "We had a chance to win the game. They made their shot, and we missed ours. But as a player and a coach, you live to play games like this in this kind of environment. "What would have been bad is if that after we traveled eight hours on the bus, only about 100 fans showed up."

San Francisco Riordan 64, Redding Enterprise 59

From the SF Chronicle:

John Tofi scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead Riordan past Enterprise of Redding 64-59. Riordan will play at Foothill in the NorCal Division III semifinals on Saturday. Foothill beat Piner 68-62.  Driving more than four hours to Redding was not enough to stop the West Catholic Athletic League regular-season champions, who bolted out to a nine- point halftime lead before holding off the Hornets.  Riordan's Marquise Kately was held to 10 points, but added 10 boards.

From the Redding Record Searchlight
By Joseph Shufelberger, Record Searchlight

In. Out. Win, go on. Lose, go home.   When it comes to the CIF Northern California playoffs, it's as simple as that In a Wednesday night doubleheader, the Enterprise High School basketball teams had opponents on the ropes at a vociferous Manatowa Gymnasium, but couldn't land the one shot they needed. In the first round of the Division III playoffs, the Enterprise boys lost 64-59 to Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco, while the girls fell 42-40 to Bear River of Grass Valley * * *   The boys game came down to the last minutes as well.   Enterprise closed an 11-point gap thanks to a 10-2 run to end the third quarter. Lo Saelee and Kenny Reeder each had a 3-pointer in the stretch as the Hornets entered the fourth quarter down 53-50.Enterprise, though, didn't score again until Kenny Frank's three-point play with 3:29 remaining in the game. Frank's play moved the score to 57-53. A field goal from Riordan stretched the lead back to six Sophomore point guard Brody Angley, fouled on a 3-point attempt for the third time in the game, then made all three free throws. Enterprise (23-6) wouldn't get any closer as Riordan (28-4) went on a 6-0 run to ensure the victory. A 3-pointer from Frank provided the final margin of 64-59.   Angley scored 27 points, including 13 in the first quarter. "It was fun to play in," Angley said. "We don't get that kind of competition in the Northern Section." Enterprise was just 2-of-10 from the free-throw line in the second quarter and 11-of-22 in the first half. The Hornets went to the line 29 times compared to Riordan's 15 trips Frank added 15 for the Hornets. Matt Straus and John Tofi each scored 22 points for Riordan.

From the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat
Piner Comes Up Short at NorCals
By Dewey Forget, The Press Democrat

SACRAMENTO -- After a discouraging loss in the North Coast Section Div. III title game, and trailing Foothill of Sacramento by 13 points in the fourth quarter of its first round NorCal game, Piner could have cried uncle and given up. But that would be out of character for a Mike Erickson-coached team.  Instead, the Prospectors came back to get within four points with two minutes left to play before finally losing, 68-62, to the second-seeded Mustangs.  "The kids are resilient," Erickson said. "They want to win every time out. It's good to get a second chance like this. I knew this team was really good and it would take a good effort for us to win. We were right there." Piner (22-8) actually led, 16-15, at the end of the first quarter after falling behind, 11-2. The Prospectors, who live and die with the 3-pointer, missed their first six attempts before Pat Taylor finally nailed one with 1:18 left to play in the first period. Scott Lord followed with another trey to give Piner the lead. Taylor led the Prospectors with 24 points, including three 3-pointers. As a team, however, Piner made only 8 of 28 from beyond the arc.  "We knew what we were in for," Taylor said. "We are a team based on quickness. We are not scared to come in against a quick team. After that hard loss in the NCS, one of the toughest losses ever, we knew we needed to fight fire with fire tonight. After the first quarter, we knew we could play with them." Foothill coach Drew Hibbs said he had heard Piner was a great outside shooting team, and was not comfortable or confident of the outcome until the final gun. "We had heard about their 3-point shooting," said Hibbs, who took the Mustangs to the Div. III state championship in 1994, and made the semifinal game in NorCals last season. "I thought we did a good job of getting close to them and not letting them get good looks from the 3-point line. It was a war out there. Every time we would get a lead, they would come storming back." Piner trailed at halftime, 36-31, but it could have been a lot worse. With 4:44 left in the half, the Mustangs led, 28-19, after a 13-2 run. Michael Williams, a 6-foot-3 junior forward led the way with nine points in the quarter and 13 for the half -- eight of the points coming on put-backs.   "That big guy (Williams) hurt us in the first half," Erickson said. "We weren't tough enough with him. They knew were the advantage was and they capitalized on it." Piner got only its second lead of the game at 39-36 early in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Daniel Garaventa, who finished with 16 for the game. Then the Mustangs, a very quick team -- maybe even quicker than the Prospectors -- began to push the ball down the court and get easy baskets.  With 3:56 left, the Mustangs (30-4) had a 61-48 lead and were on their way to the second round against the winner of the Enterprise-Riordan game.  Foothill, which plays in the Capital-Valley Conference has won 29 of its last 30 games after a 1-3 start, and according to Erickson has a good chance of beating either of those teams.  "I would not be surprised if they win another state title," Erickson said. "They are a very good team, but I'm proud of our team. They are a tough bunch of kids and they believe in themselves. The sum total of this team is better than the parts."  Foothill was led in scoring by Chris Walker, a cat-quick guard, that gets most of his points off the fast break or penetrating to the hole and drawing fouls. Ben Berg-Nelson added 12 for the Mustangs and Vincent Rivera had nine. Jared Durling hit a couple of long treys and finished with 11 for Piner.

Sacramento Foothill 68, Santa Rosa Piner 62

From the Sacramento Bee:

Chris Walker scored 16 points, and Foothill received solid inside contributions from Ben Berg-Nelson and Michael Williams as the host and second-seeded Mustangs beat No. 7 Piner of Santa Rosa 68-62. Williams scored 13 and Berg-Nelson 12. Foothill will host defending Division III NorCal champion and sixth-seeded Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.


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