Fri, Mar 01 2013 11:57 AM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Tuesday’s San Diego Section Division V semifinal game at Ocean View Christian Academy was a rematch of last year’s division championship game pitting the Patriots and the Tri-City Christian Eagles.
The Eagles won that match-up, 54-38, at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion. However, the teams split their two regular season encounters this season.
But with the Horizon Christian Panthers dropping down from Division IV for this year’s playoffs, it pushed Ocean View and TCC into a premature post-season match-up.
And, what many on the Patriots side may have felt, a premature exit from the playoffs following the Eagles’ 41-32 win.
“(Last year) was Ocean View’s first trip to the finals, and an exciting experience for a Patriot team that included two All-Division V players,” noted Ocean View athletic director Matt Horton.
The addition of senior Alyssa Ramos in early January obviously raised the Eagles’ stock. The Patriots defeated Ramos-less TCC, 37-34, in late December and fell 47-34 to TCC behind 26 points from Ramos in mid-January.
Ramos poured in 34 points in a 67-45 quarterfinal-round victory against Calvin Christian. She entered Tuesday’s semifinal averaging 25.8 points per game.
Ocean View countered with its own hoop star: Sabrina Johnson. The junior round-baller entered this year’s playoffs averaging 15.4 points per game, 17.7 rebounds per game and 6.4 assists per game. In two post-season contests, she had tallied 40 points and 45 rebounds for the second-seeded Patriots.
Ocean View had to work hard this season to make up for the loss of four-year starter Stormi Stecher, who averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds per game in 2011-12 and is now a collegiate volleyball player in Missouri.
Horton noted the team averaged five fewer points per game this season, but found help in the rebound department from senior Kathia Perez (4.7 rpg), Johnson (18.0 rpg) and junior Virginia Zermeno (5.1 rpg) to make up ground to best last year’s 35.6 team rebounding average per game.
Ocean View’s 550-plus defensive rebounds this season kept the ball out of the hands of opponents, and was a key to the Patriots offensive attack in terms of the transition game and fast-break points, according to Horton.
The Patriots were up to the challenge on Tuesday, building a 10-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and holding a narrow 15-14 edge until Tri-City made seven quick points at the end of the first half to go ahead 21-15.
Ocean View (19-7) did not get going again offensively until the fourth quarter but was again out-scored by the Eagles (22-5).
Horton noted the hosts could not convert enough free throws to make up the difference, “even though (we) were in the bonus the entire quarter,” he said.
The low-scoring nature of this season’s rubber game was a tribute to the Patriots’ defense. TCC had been averaging more than 68 points during its last eight games. However, Ocean View’s defense was relentless throughout the playoff contest and held the Eagles to their lowest point total since the loss to the Patriots in December.
Ramos was held somewhat in check but still led all scorers in the game with 17 points. Johnson had 16 points and 16 rebounds.
Becca Baldwin added 10 points for the visitors.
The Patriots will lose one senior to graduation — First Team All-Sunset League performer Perez — but will have a strong core of juniors and freshmen returning next season when the team may find itself in a new playoff division, according to Horton.
Tri-City will meet Horizon (23-7) in Saturday’s Division V championship game Saturday at 11 a.m. at SDSU’s Viejas Arena.
Horizon is averaging more than 95 points per game in the playoffs with an 83-point margin of victory: 101-4 (opening round versus Foothills Christian), 85-20 (quarterfinal round versus St. Joseph Academy) and 100-22 (semifinal round versus Vincent Memorial).
Ocean View moved one round closer to returning to the Division V championship game after defeating visiting San Pasqual Academy, 48-36, last Friday. The Patriots jumped out to sizable leads of 12-3 (first quarter) and 23-9 (halftime) that proved to be the difference.
Johnson keyed Ocean View with a game-high 30 points and 25 rebounds. She also contributed six blocks and three assists. Malia Naputi contributed eight points and two steals while Perez added six points.
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