Sacred Heart Prep valiantly recovered from a first-half deficit in its Central Coast Section girls Division IV championship game Saturday. The Gators weren't able to recover a second time.
Grace Battles scored 15 points, which included four 3-pointers, in Sacred Heart Prep's 56-46 loss to Half Moon Bay at Santa Clara High. No one else scored more than eight points for the Gators (12-12), who looked efficient in beating Oceana in the semifinals.
"The game was physical and that threw us off a bit," SHP coach Melanie Murphy said. "I thought we adjusted well but we had to readjust in the second half. We gave up a lot of points and we weren't able to answer."
The Gators still advance to the NorCals and host Union Mine at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Sacred Heart Prep recovered from an early deficit to pull within 23-21 at halftime.
Charlotte Levison hit a 3-pointer to make it 21-all but a turnover allowed the Cougars (21-8) to take the slim lead,
Battles scored to tie the game at 23 early in the third quarter. That's when things turned sour.
Half Moon Bay took off on a 19-2 run over the next five minutes. The only SH Prep points during the run were a pair of free throws from Natalie Zimits, who matched Zoe Zaharias for a team-high six rebounds.
Sode Smith broke the field goal drought with just under a minute to play in the third quarter, though the Gators faced an 18-point deficit entering the fourth quarter.
Levison, the team's leading scorer all season, seemingly gave the Gators some momentum early in the fourth period with a great move to the basket for a layup.
Instead, she was called for an offensive foul, her fifth personal, and that seemed to suck the energy out of SHP. Zaharias also fouled out in the final period.
The fourth-quarter play of Tatum Angotti and Denise Stine, who combined for 14 points and six rebounds, reengaged the Gators and they made a late run, closing to within nine at one point. It was, however, not enough.