Uploaded: Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:08 AM
Eastside Prep, Pinewood girls renew rivalry in title game
|By Andrew Preimesberger
Palo Alto Online Sports
Senior forward Hashima Carothers scored 12 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to pace the Eastside Prep girls' basketball team to a 44-22 CIF NorCal Division V semifinal victory over visiting International of San Francisco on Tuesday evening.
The No. 1-seeded Panthers improved to 23-8 overall while fourth-seeded International ended its season at 30-5.
Eastside Prep now will take on No. 3 seed Pinewood in the finals on Saturday at American Canyon High (near Vallejo) at 10 a.m. The Panthers last topped Pinewood, 54-30, in the West Bay Athletic League playoff final on Feb. 16 and are 3-0 against that team this season -- winning by an average margin of 50.6-34.
"Where we're going Saturday, we've been there," said Eastside Prep head coach Donovan Blythe. "We were there last year and this year we need to take it further."
Eastside Prep has yet to play in a state championship game, something Pinewood has done quite often -- six times, in fact.
The Panthers dropped a 55-38 decision to Brookside Christian in last year's NorCal Division V final in addition to losing NorCal finals in 2008 and 2003. Brookside played in the Open Division this season -- losing in the first round of NorCals -- opening the door for a possible Eastside Prep trip to the state finals on March 22 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
The NorCal finals will be the first meeting of two Central Coast Section teams since 2006, when Pinewood beat Sacred Heart Prep.
Sophomore Destiny Graham helped get Eastside going when she hit a turnaround shot as time expired in the first quarter to put the Panthers up, 8-4.
Junior guard Charmaine Bradford maintained the momentum and got the crowd into it when she hit a corner jumper with 20 seconds left in the second quarter to put Eastside up 20-12 at the end of the first half. Bradford finished with 12 points, five assists and no turnovers from her point-guard position.
The Panthers came out aggressively in the third quarter as they went on a 12-0 run, led by Bradford and junior Alexus Simon. The Jaguars couldn't do anything against the sturdy Panthers' defense, going 0-for-8 from the field while scoring only three points in the quarter. Eastside Prep forced 19 turnovers.
"We turned our defense up a lot tonight," said Carothers, who also had two blocks. "We were a little rusty the game before so we knew we had to step it up tonight. Defense got us the win."
Simon put the game out of reach for the Panthers when she scored on a put-back layup in the fourth quarter to put her team up, 37-17.
Eastside Prep now turns its attention to Pinewood, which lost each of the three games to Eastside this season by an average of 14 points.
"This is going to be our fourth time playing Pinewood," said Blythe. "We just have to be ready to go."
You can bet Pinewood (23-7) will be ready to go after slogging its way to a 37-30 semifinal victory over No. 2 and host Valley Christian-Dublin (31-3).
Defense and rebounding won it for coach Doc Scheppler's team while junior Leanna Bade led the offense with 11 points.
The game was tied at 26 with about three minutes to play when Angelina Mapa, Pinewood's only senior, banked in a three-pointer. Sophomore point guard Marissa Hing then wrapped things up with four free throws in the final minute. Hing finished with nine points.
In the NorCal Division IV semifinals, Menlo School senior Drew Edelman scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds but it wasn't enough as the No. 5-seeded Knights (22-10) dropped a 61-54 decision to No. 1 Salesian of Richmond (28-6) at St. Mary's College in Moraga.
Kaelen Dunn added 14 points in her final game while fellow senior Lauren Lete bowed out with six points five assists, six rebounds and three steals. Junior Maddy Price added 11 points and seven rebounds as Menlo out-rebounded Salesian, 31-20.
The difference in the game, however, was Salesian's 5-foot-11 junior Mariya Moore, who scored 28 points with 10 rebounds, eight steals and four assists.
The game was close throughout until Salesian went on a 9-0 run to take a 45-37 lead in the third quarter.
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