The Mills girls’ basketball team weathered a Lowell third-quarter rally, while Sacred Heart Prep came out flying against Half Moon Bay as they advanced to the final of the Kelly Shea Gallo Memorial Tournament at Mills.
Mills and SHP will tip off Friday at 7:30 p.m. Half Moon Bay and Lowell will meet in the third-place game at 6 p.m.
The Vikings, who breezed to a first-round win over East Palo Alto Academy Wednesday, found an infinitely tougher challenge in the form of Lowell-San Francisco — arguably the best public school athletic program in the City.
Every time Mills threatened to put the game away, Lowell battled back. Down 17-6 in the first quarter, the Cardinals went on a 6-0 run over the final minute to close to 17-12.
The Vikings, who led 30-16 at halftime, scored the first three points of the third quarter to hold its largest lead at 17, 33-16.
By the end of the period, Lowell had whittled its deficit to 5, 39-34.
In the fourth quarter, however, Mills’ relentless hustle and hounding on defense, coupled with a continued aggressive attack to the rim offensively, led to a dominant period for the Vikings.
A pair of Victoria Williams free throws was the beginning of 14 unanwered points for Mills.
Despite grabbing five offensive rebounds in the quarter, the Cardinals simply could not put the ball in the basket. Not only did Lowell misfire on all 13 of its shots, it came up empty eight more times as the Cardinals turned the ball over four times and the Vikings came up with four steals.
It was a steady diet of drives to the basket by Mills over the final eight minutes which led to a 4-of-6 effort at the line and five layups.
Chloe Tam led attack for Mills, finishing with 13 points and seven rebounds. She made only three field goals, but was 6 of 8 from the line. Post player Cassandra Stanley added 11 points for the Vikings and of her eight rebounds, six came on the offensive end. Williams added nine points, while Kim Yu and Rachel Dumandan each chipped in six points apiece.
Lowell was paced by sophomore Elle Ladine, who scored a game-high 18 points.
Mills, with its length at nearly every position will give teams with smaller guards a hard time triggering their offenses in the half-court set. The Vikings offense, meanwhile, attacked the basket early and often. Tam opened the scoring by hitting 1 of 2 free throws before point guard Kiyana Castaneda hit a runner and Stanley scored on a putback for a quick 5-0 Mills lead.
A Ladine jumper got the Cardinals on the board, but Mills reponded with a two more Tam free throws and a fast-break layup from Williams to go up 9-2.
Lowell closed to 9-6 and Mills responded with another spurt, eight unanswered for a 17-6 lead.
But six points in the final minute by Lowell kept the Cardinals in the game.
Lowell scored the first bucket of the second when Ladine grabbed a defensive rebound and went the other way for a layup to cut the Cardinals’ deficit to 17-14.
Mills came back with its best stretch of the half. Stanley scored a pair of putback layups and Williams stroked a 3-pointer to put the Vikings lead to 10, 24-14. A backdoor layup from Tam followed by a steal and layup by Williams put them up 28-16 and Tam ended the half with two more from the line to lead 30-16 at the half.
Tam opened the third with a free throw and Mikaela Nava hit a turnaround jumper to put the Vikings up 33-16 before Lowell came roaring back. Ladine converted an and-1 and two more free throws to fuel a 10-0 run to close to 33-26 with 2:53 left in the period.
Dumandan converted a three-point play for Mills and followed that with a 3 to give the Vikings a little breathing room, 39-29. But the Cardinals scored the last five points of the quarter — including a Ladine 3 at the buzzer — to trail just 39-34 going into the fourth.
But Mills’ pressure in the fourth finally took the fight out of the Cardinals.
Sacred Heart Prep 65, Half Moon Bay 37
After an inconsistent first-round game in the Kelly Shea Gallo Memorial Tournament Wednesday, the Gators showed just how strong they can be when they find their groove.
SHP got back-to-back three-point plays to open the scoring and jump-start a 12-2 run to take control of their semifinal game against the young Cougars.
Grace Florendo scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the first quarter for the Gators, who wound up scoring 26 points and leading 26-7 after the opening period.
Kennedy Anderson scored eight of her 14 points in the fourth quarter, while Charlotte Levison added 12 points for the Gators.
HMB was more competitive in the second quarter as SHP outscored the Cougars 13-10.
But the Gators put the game away in the third, outscoring the Cougars 17-3 to lead 56-20 after three periods. HMB did not give me, as the Cougars scored 17 points in over the final eight minutes.
With one senior, a junior and sophomore, and a pair of freshmen in the starting lineup, Half Moon Bay could have expected to have some growing pains this season, but the Cougars did not look intimidated by the longer, more athletic Gators. Ally Co led the Cougars with 11 points, while Alli Dioli finished with 10.Click here for the full article...