The Pinewood and Eastside Prep girls are once again on a collision course in the CIF NorCal Division V basketball playoffs and, once again, standing in each other's path to the state finals.
Pinewood, the No. 2 seed, eliminated No. 7 Valley Christian-Dublin for the second time in as many years, 57-46, at Los Altos Hills. The Panthers won last year's meeting in the second round.
Point guard Marissa Hing led the way with 14 points while fellow junior Monique McDevitt added 11 points. Junior Gabi Bade contributed nine points, sophomore Chloe Eackles finished with six points and eight rebounds while freshman Akayla Hackson added five points, six rebounds and five assists.
Pinewood shot 31 percent from the field (18 of 58) and just 27 percent from 3-point range (11 of 41).
"We haven't shot well," said Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler, "but high 20's from three is good enough to win most high school girls games.
"In practice and in drills . . . considering our whole roster . . . (this is) my best shooting team at Pinewood. They have to make the jump to having a game situation success closer to their drill shooting."
The Panthers (27-3) next will host No. 6 Capital Christian (26-5) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Capital Christian eliminated No. 3 SF International, 48-43.
"I haven't gotten a detailed scout on Capital Christian," Scheppler said. "I know they're solid and it should be a great game. Happy to play at home!"
The semifinal winner will advance to the NorCal title game on Saturday at American Canyon High at 10 a.m.
Eastside Prep, which dropped a 48-36 decision to Pinewood in last year's NorCal finals, took a big step toward reaching that game again with a 68-39 romp over No. 5 St. Vincent de Paul on Saturday in East Palo Alto.
Junior center Destiny Graham scored a season-high 29 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked two shots as the No. 4-seeded Panthers rolled.
Junior Brije Byers added 13 points, senior Alexus Simon had eight points and 15 rebounds, senior Charmaine Bradford dished out eight assists and junior Chacitty Cunningham contributed 10 points and five assists.
The Panthers (20-10) next will hit the road to face No. 1 seed Brookside Christian (27-4), a 58-25 winner over No. 8 St. Francis-Central Coast Catholic.
"It's a coin flip on Eastside Prep/Brookside Christian," said Scheppler.
While Pinewood and Eastside Prep were advancing, the Sacred Heart Prep and Pinewood boys saw their respective seasons end.
Sacred Heart Prep dropped a 69-58 quarterfinal decision to No. 2 Salesian (22-14) on Saturday in Division IV action at Albany High in Richmond. The No. 7-seeded Gators finished 21-8. Junior Corbin Koch led SHP with 17 points with sophomore Mason Randall adding 15 and Jim McLean 11.
The Gators sent Salesian to the free-throw line 40 times, with the host team making 26 and outscoring SHP by 15 points at the charity stripe. Sacred Heart Prep took only 18 attempts.
"Forty free throws has to be an all-time record," said SHP coach Tony Martinelli. "There was really no flow to the game, and it seemed like neither team could get much momentum going. Once the whistles relaxed for a bit, I thought there was well-played basketball on both sides.
"We actually got it tied at 37 and then made back-to-back turnovers that led to Salesian scores and then the whistles started up again. I'm sure it was just as frustrating to watch as it was to play or coach the game. Unfortunately, we shot the ball poorly. Had we raised our percentage by 10 percent, we could have had an exciting finish."
But, Sacred Heart Prep could never get closer than seven late in the fourth quarter.
"Salesian is good and well-coached, but they are not the team that we saw two years ago in the NorCal finals," said Martinelli. "It sets up an interesting semifinal between them and Half Moon Bay."
SHP loses only five players to graduation --- Ryan Galvin, Casey McDonald, Stephen Bannick, Walker Barnum and Kohki Kitano. Galvin was the only starter.
Also on the road were the No. 7 Pinewood boys, who dropped a 57-35 game to No. 2 seed and to No. 2 seed and host St. Joseph Notre Dame in the Division V quarterfinals. Pinewood finished 24-5 as senior Greg Naumann scored 14 points and junior Ryan Brice had 11.
Pinewood will lose only Naumann and MJ Stevens to graduation.
"It was an incredible season, one filled with more great memories then sad ones," said Pinewood coach Mani Messy. "I am extremely grateful to the team for all their time and commitment throughout the season especially our two seniors who helped build plenty of excitement for the program during their four years of eligibility. It is my hope that they will carry on knowing they did everything anyone could've ever asked of them.
"Our young guys will continue to work and stay hungry as hunger feeds desire, determination and the passion required to stay consistently great."
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