Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
South City’s Lindsey Eto drives the baseline during the Warriors’ 50-42 upset win over Carlmont in a PAL Tournament semifinal game Friday night.
Westmoor’s Tiara Cobbs splits a pair of Terra Nova defenders during the Rams’ 73-42 win over the Tigers in the semifinals of the PAL Tournament.
The South City girls’ basketball team showed that the Peninsula Athletic League’s North Division is no slouch.
The Warriors stunned Carlmont, the No. 1 team from the PAL South, 50-42, to advance to the championship game of the PAL Tournament.
They will face Westmoor, the top seed from the North, which buried Terra Nova, 73-42, in the other semifinal game.
The championship game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. tip Saturday at Capuchino High.
“South City did a great job of taking us out of the thing we like to do,” said Carlmont coach Dan Mori.
The biggest of which was holding Carlmont’s Anisah Smith in check. The senior guard came into the game averaging over 20 points per game, but after a lackluster performance in the tournament opener against Half Moon Bay, during which Smith was held to just nine points, she struggled against a quick, physical South City defense, scoring 13 points on 4 of 17 shooting from the field.
“We knew we had to take out Smith,” said South City coach Paul Carion. “Make her as uncomfortable as possible.”
Carion assigned that task to junior Mira Avila, who shadowed Smith all over the court and forced her to work for every dribble, every pass, every shot. Avila’s quickness bothered Smith and when it came to crunch time, the Warriors’ team defense suffocated the Scots.
Actually, it was more than just crunch time. South City got into the passing lanes and tipped a lot of Carlmont passes — or simply stripped the Scots of the ball.
“They did a good job with quick hands,” Mori said. “For some reason … we tried to dribble through everyone.”
Westmoor came up with 17 steals and forced Carlmont into eight turnovers.
“Our main thing was basic basketball,” Carion said. “Protect the ball and play good defense.”
Avila’s defense on Smith did not affect her offense. Avila scored a game-high 22 points, draining four 3-pointers in the process.
South City got off to a quick start, jumping out to a 5-1 lead to start the game, but Carlmont responded with a 8-0 run as the Warriors went nearly two minutes without a point.
After one quarter, Carlmont led 10-7.
South City did not do itself any favors by missing its first 13 free throws and 15 of 18 in the first half. Yet somehow the Warriors managed to keep the game close and trailed by one at the half, 21-20.
In the third quarter, there were eight lead changes or ties as Avila hit a pair of free throws early in the period to give the Warriors their first lead since the first quarter.
The Warriors got a spike of momentum at the end of the third when Charlene Halal drained a 3-pointer two steps behind the arc just before the quarter buzzer to give South City a 30-29 lead going into the final eight minutes.
The Warriors would not trail again the rest of the way.
Avila opened the final period with a 3 and another basket, followed by a third unanswered bucket as South City opened up a 37-29 advantage with 6:36 to play. Carlmont got a pair of free throws from Sabrina Miller and a layup from Cam Kondo to slow South City’s momentum, but it was only briefly, as the Scots would get no closer than five points the rest of the way.
Free-throw shooting woes nearly came back to haunt the Warriors as they missed four straight down the stretch, but Carlmont could not take advantage. The Warriors finally hit 2 of 4 in the final few seconds for the final margin of victory.
“[The Warriors] did what they needed to do to win,” Mori said.
Westmoor 73, Terra Nova 42
In the first round of the PAL Tournament Wednesday, the Tigers put a 40-point beating on Mills, crushing the Vikings 60-20.
Now Terra Nova knows how it feels.
Westmoor, the top seed from the North, beat the Tigers for the third time this season and it wasn’t even close. After lead 16-7 after the first quarter, the Rams blitzed the Tigers in the second period, connecting on 12 of 19 shots as they outscored Terra Nova 33-7 to lead 41-13 at halftime and cruised to the victory.
Westmoor didn’t have one player light up the Tigers. Tiara Cobbs led the way with 13 points, Roni Niveria added 11 and Kasey Liang finished with 10. Instead, the Rams used nearly their entire roster to hand the Tigers one of their worst beatings in recent memory. Ten of the 14 players on the Westmoor roster scored and the Rams played most of the fourth quarter with their reserves.
Terra Nova was led by Alynna Vega, who finished with 17 points, but most of those came after the game was well decided. Arianna Sheehy was the only other Tiger to score in double figures, finishing with 12.
The Rams also dominated on the glass, limiting Terra Nova to one-and-done more often than not. Westmoor pulled down 18 rebounds in the first quarter alone and finished the game by outrebounding the Tigers 56-27.