The tournament meant a lot to one local team, as Liberty High’s win in the Diamond Division showed that despite the graduation of Bay Valley Athletic League MVP Corinne Costa, the Lions are still a force to be reckoned with. Junior center Bernadette Fong won the Division MVP, pacing the Lions with 23 points in the first-place game, a 56-47 victory over Southern California’s Jurupa Valley. In that final game, the Lions also got 10 from junior guard Shaunike Lee and seven from sophomore guard/forward Erin Morgan.
On its way to the final, Liberty beat Mission Prep 54-47, Caruthers 60-41 and Amador Valley 43-39.
“It’s about the four games that they had to play to get to here,” head coach Debbi Weil said. “They played with total heart and dedication, as a team. Each and every kid played their role and did their job on this team, that’s what made it successful for us.”
Every Bay Valley Athletic League team hosted a different division of the tournament. While Liberty’s win in the Diamond Division brought the BVAL its only champion, Heritage went 3-1 on its way to a fifth-place finish in the Sapphire Division, and Deer Valley bounced back from losses in its first two games to go 2-2, good enough for a 13th-place finish in the Platinum Division, the top bracket in the West Coast Jamboree.
“This was a good win over a good team today,” said Wolverines head coach Mark Anger after his team’s 65-43 win over Elk Grove’s Pleasant Grove. “We’re making real progress. We played four really good teams, four teams that are going to be regional teams, and we’re getting better.”
Deer Valley lost its first game 68-47 and its second 65-58 to Presentation before bouncing back with a 59-54 win over Eastside College Prep and the final win against Pleasant Grove. Senior guard Raven Fox, who is headed to Fresno State next year, was the Wolverines’ representative on the All-Tournament Team.
Long Beach Poly, the nation’s second-ranked team, won the Platinum Division. The Jackrabbits defeated fifth-ranked Carondelet 58-56 in the final. Also participating was Berkeley, which defeated Deer Valley in last year’s North Coast Section final. The Yellowjackets, ranked No. 41 in the country, finished third in the Platinum Division.
Heritage made a strong showing in the Sapphire Division. The Patriots’ only loss came at the hands of division runner-up Clovis East, which downed Heritage 86-66 in the second round. While that game was the only Patriot loss, it was their highest-scoring effort. Acalanes took the Sapphire division by virtue of a 90-50 blowout of Clovis East.
Patriots sophomore forwards Sabrina Engelstad and Ali Ramirez were named to the All-Tournament team. In the 46-42 final round Heritage win against the Turlock Bulldogs, Engelstad led the Patriots with 17 points while Ramirez scored eight. Sophomore guard Erin Asher finished between them with 10.
The Patriots got the tournament off right with a 45-41 overtime win against Weston Ranch. After dropping the game to Clovis East, they responded with a 62-47 victory over Hercules before clinching fifth place by beating Turlock, despite a late rally by the Bulldogs that left Patriots fans holding their collective breath.
“They make every game interesting,” said head coach Lexy Tamony. “We can be blowing a team out and we’ll let them get close. I don’t know what it is, but we come out sluggish in the third quarter. I was really happy with how we played. We got matched up with one of the strongest teams in the tournament in the second round, and that was a little tough.
Antioch was dealt some close losses early, but rebounded with a blowout 51-18 win over Concord to take seventh place in the Tanzanite Division. In the opening round, the Panthers lost 57-55 in overtime to San Leandro. The next day, Antioch dropped a double-overtime match to San Ramon Valley 67-63. Foothill won the Tanzanite Division.
In the final against Concord, junior guard Ferosa Talag led the Panthers with 10 points. Freshman guard Maranne Johnson was Antioch’s all-tournament selection and the leading scorer in the other two games.
Panthers coach Ventura Armenta was happy his team was able to finish off the tourney with a win. “They came out and played hard in all three games,” Armenta said. “For us, we have an inexperienced varsity team, so being in those close games, that kind of cost us a bit.”
For a rebuilding Freedom team, the tournament started out strong. Sophomore guard Elsa Ross scored 19 in the Falcons’ 53-40 first-round victory over the California School for the Deaf. Losses to Las Lomas, Jurupa Valley and Amador Valley followed, and the Falcons finished in fourth place in the Diamond Division.
Pittsburg, in the Gold Division, was also strong out of the blocks, beating San Francisco’s Washington High School 66-50. That was the only taste of victory the Pirates would get, as they lost 52-46 to Vista Murrieta, 58-46 to Armijo and 58-46 to Chatsworth to finish ninth in the division. Los Angeles’ Narbonne High School won the gold division.
Staff writer Justin Lafferty contributed to this story.
Platinum – Long Beach Poly
Gold – Narbonne
Sapphire – Acalanes
Diamond – Liberty
Ruby – Mission Prep
Emerald – Reed
Amber – Campolindo
Pearl – Orland
Tanzanite – Foothill
Quartz – Dublin
Opal – Valley
Topaz – Dougherty Valley
Onyx - Florin