Fri, Mar 09 2012 02:05 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Ocean View Christian Academy senior Stormi Stecher was officially bestowed with the CIF Sportsmanship patch during awards ceremonies following last Friday’s San Diego Section Division V girls basketball championship game at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion.
But it easily could have been the whole team.
As disappointed Patriots players lined up following their 54-38 title game setback to the Tri-City Christian Eagles, Ocean View Christian fans began to shower their team with positive messages.
“We are proud of you!” they chanted.
The Patriots, to a player, responded in unison: “Thank you, guys!”
It wasn’t quite the magical ending Ocean View’s players and coaches might have envisioned for a season chock full of runaway success. The Patriots entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed in the 16-team bracket and carried a 22-2 record into last Friday’s final — the school’s first ever — against the second-seeded Eagles.
But the dream season somehow fell short. Call it stage fright or due to some other mechanism. What it does is obviously set the stage for next season.
“We’re losing only one senior,” said OVCA Principal Steve Johnson, who also serves as the team’s coach.
Stecher led the Patriots with 14 points in last Friday’s championship contest while snaring 14 rebounds. Sophomore Sabrina Johnson led the team with 19 rebounds, including 12 defensive boards, but tallied just six points.
Malia Naputi contributed seven points while Kathia Perez scored five points, Nia Lyles had four points and Virginia Zermeno tacked on two points and eight rebounds.
Stecher and Johnson each led the team with five steals. Johnson also had five assists.
TCC (22-6) bounded out to an 18-5 first quarter lead to put the reigning Sunset League champions in an early hole. The Eagles led 30-16 at halftime.
The Patriots had difficultly once again in the third quarter as TCC widened its lead to 42-22.
OVCA finished the game with some resolve by scoring 16 points in the final quarter.
The Patriots coach said the ball just didn’t bounce the right way for his team and, in particular, for Johnson, who entered the title game averaging 18 points per game.
Ocean View defeated TCC in Vista, 47-45, on Jan. 26. In that game, Johnson had 12 points and 14 rebounds to go with six assists and a game-high 12 steals.
With Johnson unable to repeat that showcase performance in the final, the Patriots were unable to match that season defining victory of a month earlier.
“I think if Sabrina had the same kind of game she did then that this game would have been closer and it might even have changed the outcome,” the elder Johnson said.
Still, with just 38 girls in the school, Ocean View’s success in 2011-12 has to be trumpeted. By contrast, the Patriots coach said TCC’s female enrollment is near 300 students.
“We haven’t lost a home game in two years (12-0 in 2011-12 and 10-0 in 2010-11),” Steve Johnson said. “We won our league this season and we have to be considered the favorite to win our league again next season.”
Ocean View finished 10-0 in league play this season, topping runner-up Calvary Christian Academy (7-3, 14-9) and Lutheran (7-3, 10-11), both of which tied for second place.
San Diego Academy (4-6, 6-13), Foothills Christian (0-8, 1-13) and Kuyper Prep (0-8, 0-10) rounded out the Sunset League standings.
Calvary Christian (seeded eighth), Lutheran (seeded 10th) and SDA (seeded 15th) also qualified for the section playoffs but all met with first round elimination.
The Patriots tipped off the season with a seven-game winning streak and entered last Friday’s CIF final with a 15-game winning streak.
Ocean View defeated the fifth-seeded Rock Academy, 52-46, in the semifinals on Feb. 29 as Stecher racked up 18 points and 17 rebounds and Johnson contributed 13 points and matched Stecher with 17 rebounds.
The Patriots bounced ninth-seeded Julian, 57-29, in quarterfinal action on Feb. 25 as Johnson put on a one-woman show with 24 points and 20 rebounds.
OVCA tipped off the playoffs with a 41-30 first round victory against 16th-seeded Escondido Adventist on Feb. 22. Johnson led the victors with 12 points and 11 rebounds while Stecher contributed 11 points and Perez had 10 points.
Naputi rocked TCC with 17 points with a season-high 17 points in the teams’ Jan. 26 non-league match-up.
In last Friday’s section final, senior Faith Kraatz keyed the Eagles with18 points while classmate Sydney Pettaway added 10 points. Kraatz also grabbed 19 rebounds while Pettaway had 10 boards.
Both Ocean View and Tri-City qualified for this year’s state playoff bracket. TCC earned a home court game against Avalon on Tuesday while OVCA traveled to Dantzler Charter for a first round game.
Other section qualifiers in the 15-team Southern California regional draw included Vincent Memorial and the Rock Academy.
TCC defeated Vincent Memorial, 80-43, in the Division V semifinals.
Mater Dei Catholic’s Crusaders appeared to have the Bishop’s Knights’ number — specifically, a 20-17 halftime lead — in the teams’ Division IV semifinal game on Feb. 29 before the host Knights did a number on the Crusaders en route to claiming a 52-44 victory.
The third-seeded Crusaders ended the season 21-6 with the elimination loss. Second-seeded Bishop’s (19-9) went on to place runner-up to top-seeded La Jolla Country Day (28-1) via a 64-39 championship round setback last Saturday at USD.
The defending Mesa League champions were undone by the Knights in the third quarter. Bishop’s racked up a decisive 22-11 scoring edge to take a 39-31 lead into the final quarter.
The teams battled to a 13-all standoff in the final eight minutes to give the Knights the eight-point win.
Alexandria Young totaled 14 points and 11 rebounds while teammate Brittani Lusain had 12 points and 12 rebounds to key the Crusaders along with Cardedra Evans (10 points, 11 rebounds). Lusain also had five steals.
Devon Roeper and Imani Littleton led Bishop’s with 16 points each while Bryn Stark contributed 12 points. Roeper had 14 rebounds while Littleton was credited with 10 boards.
Mater Dei eliminated sixth-seeded Francis Parker in the preceding quarterfinals by a 71-29 score. Three Crusaders hit for double figures: Evans (14 points), Young (12 points) and Kiden Gowolo (10 points).
Scoring was spread out with 11 players bagging points in the rout. MDC led 24-5 at the end of the first quarter and 48-7 at halftime.
Melina Hood and Kelsey Plum led LJCD with 20 and 19 points, respectively, in the Division IV championship game. Maya Hood had 13 points and a team-high 19 rebounds also for the Torreys, who are ranked second in the state and fourth in the nation by MaxPreps.
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