CIF STATE GIRLS DIVISION II
At Power Balance Pavilion, Sacramento
Matchup: Rialto (33-3) vs. Stockton St. Mary’s (28-2), Friday, 6 p.m.
How they got here: St. Mary’s won its third Northern Division Regional championship in a row and its ninth in school history. St. Mary’s is ranked seventh in the nation by ESPN Rise and is coming off a 56-48 win over Del Oro in the championship game of the Northern California Regional. St. Mary’s was actually down three points, 27-24, at halftime and outscored Del Oro, 32-21, in the second half. Both of St. Mary’s losses came in December in the Nike Tourament of Champions in Arizona. The Rams lost to Brea Olinda (No. 5 by ESPN Rise) and Riverdale Baptist from Maryland (No. 10 by ESPN Rise). Rialto has played some tight games in the playoffs, including two against Buena. Rialto beat Buena by two points, 44-42, to win the Southern California Regional championship. The Knights beat Buena, 55-53, to win the Southern Section Division 2AA championship.
Key players: Kendall Kenyon set a school record with 20 rebounds against Del Oro in the Northern California Regional final. She also scored eight points. Ali Gibson, who’s headed to Oregon State, led St. Mary’s with 15 points against Del Oro. Regina Camera hit four 3-pointers and scored 12 points.
Cal State Northridge-bound Janae Sharpe leads Rialto in scoring with 24.6 points per game. She scored only eight in the Southern California Regional final against Buena. Denae Williams is the team’s leading rebounder at 18.7 per game. Trazhazia Webb leads Rialto in assists with 11.0 per game. Brittany Walker led Rialto in scoring with 12 points against Buena in the Southern California Regional final.
What to expect: St. Mary’s has won nine of the past 11 Northern California Regional championships in three divisions. The Rams have created a nice little dynasty in Central California. They won two Division III state championships in a row and will be playing for their fourth straight state title. This is St. Mary’s first trip through the Division II playoffs, but the new road to a state title has been far from rough.