Laguna Hills no match for O'Dowd

SACRAMENTO -- Though they could not have heard it tucked away in the visitor's lockerroom, one song that played during halftime of Saturday afternoon’s CIF Division III girls basketball championship may as well have been dedicated to Laguna Hills High School: The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

The Hawks were dismantled from beginning to end by Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland 62-24 at Power Balance Pavilion.

“They’ve got everything -- they’ve got size, quickness; it’s hard to find a weakness,” Laguna Hills coach Jim Martin said. “They brought it from the get-go.”

After the euphoria of upsetting Southern California top seed Mission Bay of San Diego a week ago in the regional final in Ontario, second-seeded Laguna Hills got no such feeling in Sacramento. The Dragons’ back-court quickness enabled them to roar out to a 10-0 lead in the first 4:52 before senior forward Celia Marfone made a pair of free throws to put Laguna Hills on the board. Bishop O’Dowd got three layups off of back-court steals in the first quarter.

The Dragons led 18-6 after one quarter and that lead ballooned to 27-8 a couple of minutes in when Marfone, who will play at collegiately at UC Davis, again ended the run.

“That’s definitely the best team we’ve seen this year,” Marfone said. “Their height advantage over us was pretty clear. When they had the ball in the post, they converted. When we had the ball in the post, we didn’t.”

Marfone recorded a double-double with team-highs in points (12) and rebounds (11). Junior guard Maddy Ziering-Smith added 10 points and five steals.

While Laguna Hills (26-9) entered the season unheralded, Bishop O’Dowd entered the season as a prohibitive favorite. The Dragons lost last year’s D-III state title game 53-42 to St. Joseph’s of Santa Maria.

“I knew we couldn’t end it like last year,” Bishop O’Dowd junior forward K.C. Waters said. “That wasn’t an option.”

Waters had game-highs in points (14) and rebounds (12) in leading the way to the Dragons first state title. Every player who suited up for Bishop O’Dowd played -- as they have since the playoffs began -- and scored.

“It’s a beautiful thing when everyone is involved like that,” Dragons coach Malik McCord said.

After winning the South Coast League the Hawks entered the Southern Section 3AA playoffs as the fourth seed. They knocked off top-seeded Yorba Linda to enter the SoCal regional playoffs as the second seed.

“It’s hard to end your season on a note like this,” Martin said. “But once the sting goes away for the players, I think they’ll realize what a tremendous run they’ve had.”

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