Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Westmoor’s Brianna Domagas, left, is guarded by South City’s Julia Garica during the Rams’ 58-40 win to take the PAL Tournament girls’ title Saturday night at Capuchino.
A year ago, the Westmoor girls’ basketball team went 12-0 in Peninsula Athletic League North Division play and 2-1 in the the PAL Tournament, losing in the championship game to Burlingame.
This year, the Rams again went undefeated during the regular season and returned to the PAL Tournament championship game.
This time, the Rams finished the job, beating South City 58-40 to capture its first PAL Tournament since winning it all in 2004.
“[Winning the PAL Tournament crown] was one of our goals (for this season),” said Westmoor coach Mike Keough. “After losing last year, we got a feel for it.”
The Rams were tested, however, especially their bench. Starting point guard Yazmeen Goo, center Tiara Cobbins and shooting guard Brianna Domagas each picked up their fourth fouls midway through the third quarter. Instead of giving up a double-digit lead, the Rams reserves actually helped build the advantage going into the fourth quarter.
“I trust (my second team) when they’re out there,” Keough said. “But I didn’t know how they would come out (and play) in such a big game.”
The second unit was buoyed by the play of the Alcantara sisters – senior starter and all-league selection Marinel and junior Marlene, a key reserve. Those two combined to score 11 of the Rams’ 14 third-quarter points, helping turn a 26-14 halftime lead into a 40-25 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
“When Goo went out, we tried to get more aggressive with our press,” Carion said. “And that just played into [Westmoor’s] hands more. When they beat our press, they beat it for a layup.”
Marinel Alcantara scored a game-high 16 points, with Cobbins adding 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Marlene Alcantara and Domagas each added seven points for the Rams.
The Rams used strong defense, strong rebounding and scoring in spurts to beat South City for the third time this season. South City played well, but the Warriors had too many scoring droughts and when they did manage to string a few baskets together, Westmoor always did it better.
In the first quarter, for example, a Reichel Vaioli basket off the dribble penetration tied the game at 2 for South City less than a minute into the game. The Warriors then went more than three minutes without a point, while the Rams scored seven unanswered points to take a 9-2 lead less than three minutes into the game.
It went that way all game long.
“We held them down for a little while,” said South City coach Paul Carion. “But our runs were two, four points. Their runs were six, eight points.”
It was the Westmoor defense that helped jump-start its offense as the Rams finished with eight blocks that allowed them to get out on the fast break. It also helped limit the Warriors to just 14 first-half points.
“We knew they were good,” Carion said. “The thing about Westmoor is its good offensively, but they’re a really good offensive rebounding team.”
Westmoor was on top of its game from the opening tip, taking a 12-6 lead after one quarter of play. In the second quarter, the Rams used runs of 6-0 and 6-2 to take a 26-14 lead at halftime.
South City played better in the second half, scoring 26 points, but the Rams just kept chugging along. Not even having three-fifths of their starting lineup with foul trouble slowed them down. As well as the Warriors played over the final two quarters, the Rams were even better, scoring 32 points.
South City was led by Julia Garcia, a frosh-soph callup who finished with nine points and four rebounds. Mira Avila chipped in with seven and Vaioli added six.
The fact the Warriors failed to have anyone score in double digits was one of the biggest factors in their loss.
“I thought we played well,” Carion said. “We just didn’t score well.”