Carondelet and Mitty’s daughters battle it out for NorCal supremacy

It was the start and end for Mitty’s women’s basketball team in their only loss of the season – a 61-50 defeat at the hands of Carondelet-Concord in the West Coast Jamboree pool game on 29 December.

The Monarchs trailed 19-11 after the first quarter, but led 42-41 entering the fourth. Then the Cougars – led by the Stanford playmaker Telana Lepolo and sniper linked to Davis Nya Epps – took charge, beating Mitty 20-8 in the final quarter to win 61-50.

The loss cost Mitty (29-1) the Northern California Open Division playoff seed and a home game on Tuesday when the two state powerhouses play for the NorCal crown in De La Salle- Concord.

Carondelet (26-2) has won 10 in a row, Mitty 20.

The winner will face the SoCal champ — either Etiwanda (29-0) or Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth (28-2), ranked second and eighth respectively in the nation — in Saturday’s title game at 6 p.m. at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

The pandemic has added a layer of appreciation to the game. Coach Mitty Sue Phillips‘ was one of 23 teams that qualified for the national finals in 2020 when the championships were cancelled. There were no championships in 2021 as well.

(All games start at 6 p.m. unless otherwise stated)

BOYS

Open area: No. 3 Modesto Christian (29-5) vs. No. 1 Campolindo (28-1)

First Division: No. 13 Clovis North (21-11) at No. 4 St. Ignatius (23-7)

Part II: No. 2 Branson (28-5) at No. 1 Elk Grove (26-6)

Section III: No. 11 Bullard (21-12) at No. 1 Pleasant Valley (30-3)

Section IV: No. 4 Justin-Siena (22-8) at No. 3 Liberty Ranch (29-5)

Section V: Priory No. 4 (19-11) at No. 3 Stuart Hall (20-12)

Division VI: No. 3 St. Bernard’s (23-8) at No. 1 Weed (20-3)

GIRLS

Open area: No. 2 Mitty (29-1) against No. 1 Carondelet (26-2) at De La Salle-Concord

First Division: No. 3 St. Ignatius (21-6) vs. No. 1 Salesian (19-5) at Dominican University, 8 p.m.

Part II: Antelope #10 (26-6) at San Joaquin Memorial #5 (26-6)

Section III: No. 3 Oakland Tech (19-11) at No. 1 Lincoln-Lincoln (30-3)

Section IV: No. 12 Argonaut (27-6) vs. No. 3 Branson (22-8) at Dominican University

Section V: No. 4 San Domenico (22-11) at No. 2 University (17-9)

Division VI: No. 7 Weed (18-12) at No. 1 Fall River (20-6)


“It’s going to be really special (Tuesday),” she said. “You look at the remaining four (open) teams and you see so much talent. So many competitive kids and coaches. And to have things under our control. It’s going to be ‘Let’s try this again’.

In the first meeting this season, Carondelet held Mitty to his lowest point total of the year. The Monarchs, led by a sophomore Morgan Cheli (14.9 per game), average of 68 points per game.

Cheli was 18 points and senior bound for Texas-El Paso Siena Guttadauro added 14, but the rest of the Monarchs only managed 18. For the season, four girls averaged between seven and 10 points per game.

Likewise, Cougars are extremely balanced. Epps, Lepolo, Megane Dickert and Jaime Kent and Ashley Lewis are all regular two-digit markers. Philipps, winner of more than 750 games and six state titles, said Cougars and coach Kelly Sopac kept her looking for cracks in the armor.

“I’ve watched a lot of movies and I can’t really find any weakness,” Phillips said. “They are really well balanced. So many high level players. Lepolo is awesome but he’s not a one trick pony. So well coached. They score at three levels. We will fight and compete and see what happens.

IS history: Coaches Maya Fok and Jason Greenfield bringing their St. Ignatius basketball teams to the NorCal Finals in only their second season defies history.

The Greenfield Boys (23-7) host 13th seed Clovis North (21-11) at 6 p.m., while the SI Girls (21-6) travel to San Dominican University in San Rafael at 8 hours to face the Salesian-Richmond (19-5).

The SI boys are in just their third NorCal final after winning in 1984 (beating Amador Valley-Pleasanton, 58-57) and losing in 2004 (to Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland, 48-26). The girls have won three NorCal titles, losing to Bear River (52-37) in 1996, Sacramento (53-45) in 2006 and Sacred Heart Cathedral (46-28) in 2013.

SI has not won a state title – boys or girls – in the modern era, but the boys did win a crown in 1926.

Other games to watch:

• Modesto Christian Boys (29-5) at Campolindo-Moraga (28-1): The host Cougars can cement their place among the best public school runs of all time with an open division win over the highly talented Crusaders, which feature one of the best sophomores in the state Jamari Phillips (23.8 points per game). The Cougars have won three of five in the series, including the last two (60-52 in 2019; 63-60 in 2018).

• Branson-Ross Boys (28-5) at Elk Grove (26-6): Visiting Bulls exceeded first-year head coach‘s expectations Steve Johnson, shown most recently in Saturday’s 75-49 D2 semi-final win over St. Patrick-St. Vincent Vallejo. Joaquim Arauz-Moore had 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, while George Gale added 14 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Elk Grove, who beat San Ramon Valley-Danville 59-55 in the semifinals, trails a do-it-all guard 6-2 Ameere Britton (18 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists per game).

MaxPreps lead writer Mitch Stephens covers high school sports for The San Francisco Chronicle.

About Kimberly Alley

Check Also

If NBA draft age drops, college basketball will feel the pinch

The prep-to-pro pipeline is likely back in the NBA, and with it will come major …