Alemany rallies to win first state basketball championship
A spirited second-half rally brought Bishop Alemany High School of Mission Hills its first state high school basketball championship March 24 in Sacramento.
The Warriors earned the Division III crown by beating Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco, 71-67, after trailing by eight points at halftime. Seniors Marqueez Coleman and Max Guercy each made two free throws in the final 10 seconds to clinch the win.
Coleman ended with 27 points, Guercy with 19 and Razhaun Henderson with 13 before fouling out.
Alemany, coached by Tray Meeks, ended the season at 33-4, including the CIF-Southern Section Division IIIA title. Earlier in the week, Alemany edged St. John Bosco High School of Bellfower, 62-61, in the Southern California regional final to earn a spot in the state final at Arco Arena. Alemany won the CIF title with a 72-60 victory over Oak Park.
Oak Park edged St. John Bosco, 67-66 in the semifinals while Alemany topped Santa Margarita 72-67.
In the Division I championship game, Mater Dei High School of Santa Ana outscored Sheldon of Sacramento, 66-48, for its second straight title. Katin Reinhardt scored 30 to lead the Monarchs, who earlier won the CIF Division IAA crown with a 63-59 triumph over Long Beach Poly, following their 61-58 defeat of Loyola in the semis.
Junípero Serra High School of Gardena fell short of the state Division IV final, losing 73-66 to Price in the Southern California Regional championship match. Serra had beaten Price in the semis of the CIF Division IVAA tournament, then beat Lutheran 69-59 to win that crown; Lutheran edged Crespi of Encino, 51-49, in the other Division IVAA semifinals.
All in all, it was a stellar basketball season for Catholic school teams, with St. Bernard winning the CIF Division VAA title over Ribet Academy.
Cantwell Sacred Heart of Montebello, enjoying its best season in years, lost in the CIF Division IVA final to Pacific Hills, 65-42. And Providence of Burbank came close to the CIF Division VA championship before being edged by Holy Martyrs in an overtime final, 65-62.
Mater Dei’s girls basketball team made it a matched set of Division I titles by defeating Berkeley, 57-40, led by Nirra Fields with 24 points and nine rebounds, Jordan Adams with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Alexas Williams with 16 points. The Monarchs earlier won the CIF Division IAA crown, 54-47, over Brea Olinda.
The CIF championship finals had a healthy representation of Catholic schools. Bishop Amat of La Puente earned the Division IIIA championship by beating Oak Park, 44-30, while Junípero Serra matched the boys’ achievement in Division IVAA with an 82-73, triple-overtime victory over Windward, then reached the Southern California Regional Division IV championship game before losing to La Jolla Country Day 46-36.
Serra earned its spot in the CIF final by downing Bellarmine-Jefferson of Burbank, 71-54, in the semis. Windward outlasted St. Bernard, 59-52, in the other matchup.
Two other Catholic schools reached the CIF finals. Alemany nearly won the Division IIIAA crown, finally losing to Laguna Hills, 59-55 in double overtime. And Villanova Prep of Ojai, after defeating Providence 49-35 in the Division VAA semifinal, came up short to Mission Prep 56-45, in the finals.
St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs reached the Division IVA semifinals befiore losing to Brentwood, 49-41.
Two girls soccer teams made it to their CIF division finals, Bishop Amat lost 2-0 to Claremont in Division III; Claremont had edged St. Lucy’s of Glendora, 1-0, in the semis. And Marymount lost a close 2-1 match to Oaks Christian in the Division IV final.
Two boys soccer teams reached their respective division semifinals. In Division I, Loyola was edged on penalty kicks 3-1 by Millikan after they had tied 2-2 in regulation. Cathedral was beaten by El Rancho, 3-1, in a Division IV semifinal.