Mission Prep loses in state final again

SACRAMENTO -- In March 2008 Jenna Dunbar and Bri Harvey sat in this arena and watched Mission Prep, the school they would attend the next year, play for a state title. Walking into the arena they recalled specifics like their parking spot and the seats they occupied that day.

Unfortunately the outcome would match their memories as Mission Prep lost the CIF Division V state championship game 70-64 to a young, spry Brookside Christian squad on Saturday morning at Power Balance Pavilion.

“I have no regrets … I know none of the girls behind us have any regrets, I know [coach John] Krossa has no regrets,” said Dunbar, who scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds. “We are so blessed to be in this position and we gave it all we had.”

Mission Prep, which was riding a 29-game winning streak, was able to take advantage of the Knights’ physical style early, routinely drawing whistles in the first half -- at one point late in the second quarter the foul disparity was 8-1.

“Early on we weren’t doing a good job of plugging lanes,” Brookside Christian coach Que Ngo said.

Brookside Christian (30-4) opened things up in the third quarter as sophomore guard Tiara Tucker, who entered with a 26-point scoring average, asserted herself. Tucker scored on three consecutive possessions, drawing and-1 fouls on the latter two to open a 51-36 lead midway through the quarter. Tucker led all scorers with 28.

The Knights, much like Mission Prep, had grown accustomed to blowout wins winning its regional playoff games by an average of 20 points, took a 60-45 lead when freshman guard Ariana Vaughn beat the buzzer with a deep 2-pointer.

“There wasn’t any doubt in our minds that we could come back,” said Harvey, who made all 12 of her free throws in scoring a team-high 22 points.

Mission Prep chipped away at the lead, and outscored the Knights 19-10 in the fourth quarter, at one point drawing to within five points trailing 69-64 with 1:40 remaining, but it was not enough.

“If told me we scored 64 points against [Brookside Christian], I would have thought we would have won,” Krossa said. “That’s pretty good. Sixty-four points against any team is pretty darn good.”

Mission Prep (32-2) is now 0-7 in state championship games but finishes the 2011-12 season with the best win-loss record in school history.

Reach John Parker at johnparker2008@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @john_a_parker.