Palo Alto Weekly
Sports - March 29, 2013
TITLE SHOT MISSES . . . The Pinewood girls' basketball team needed to shoot the lights out in order to win its sixth CIF Division V state championship last Friday in Sacramento. Instead, it looked like the Panthers were shooting with the lights off as they missed 38 shots, shot just .192 from three-point range and dropped a 47-33 decision to Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth in the state finals at Sleep Train Arena. Pinewood (23-9) had a solid game plan of playing a swarming defense, taking care of the ball and hitting its shots. After grabbing a 12-9 first-quarter lead, the plan appeared to be working. Sierra Canyon (27-9), however, proved to be more athletic, had way more size in 6-foot-1 Kennedy Burke and 5-11 Cheyanne Wallace and forced Pinewood into 19 turnovers while walking off the court with its first-ever state title. Burke finished with 14 points, 16 rebounds, five blocks and four assists while fellow sophomore Wallace had seven points, 11 rebounds and three blocks as the two helped pressure the Panthers into mistakes and out of a shooting rhythm. While Pinewood did a good job early on to double- and triple team both Burke and Wallace whenever possible and force others to step up, that plan disappeared when Sierra Canyon's Gabi Nevill hit back-to-back three-pointers to spark a 9-0 run in the second quarter. Her first trey gave the Trailblazers the lead for good at 15-14. Trailing by just 18-17 at the half, Pinewood let the game get away in the crucial third period by making just 1 of 14 field-goal attempts. Sierra Canyon outscored Pinewood, 18-5, in the period and capped the quarter when Burke inbounded the ball under the Pinewood basket, bouncing it off the back of the Panthers' Leeana Bade and scoring on a layup. Facing a 36-22 deficit to open the final quarter, Pinewood got to within seven points with 4:59 left to play when Bade made a steal and turned it into a layin and a 36-29 game. Sierra Canyon then scored six unanswered points to push its lead to 13 at 42-29. The Trailblazers put the finishing touches on the victory by making 5 of 7 free throws in the final 1:24. Pinewood finished just 11 of 49 from the field for .224 percent, including 5 of 26 from three-point range. Sophomore Gabi Bade led the Panthers with eight points and seven rebounds while junior Leeana Bade and sophomore Marissa Hing each added seven points and combined for 13 rebounds. Leeana Bade received the Pursuing Victory with Honor Sportsmanship Award for her team.The 19 turnovers and poor shooting, however, was too much to overcome for Pinewood, which was making its seventh appearance in the state finals under veteran coach Doc Scheppler. Pinewood loses only one senior, Angelina Mapa, who played in three state title games.