SACRAMENTO -- Pinewood girls' basketball coach Doc Scheppler calls his players
Hailie Eackles and the pipsqueaks. None of his girls are over 6 feet. Eackles, the team’s leading scorer, is listed at 5-8.
St. Bernard, Pinewood's opponent in the CIF State Division V championship game Friday, has five players over 6-0, including senior center Kacy Swain at 6-3.
The pipsqueaks from Pinewood were down early, but battled back to beat St. Bernard, 67-56, in the Division V championship game at Power Balance Pavillion. The Panthers were outrebounded 42-27, but used a barrage of 3-pointers to build a nine-point halftime lead and pulled away in the second half.
Eackles, who will play at the University of the Pacific next year, scored a game-high 31 points and made four 3-pointers in leading the Panthers to their fifth CIF state championship and second in a row.
“She’s an outstanding player,” said St. Bernard coach Bo Corona. “She’s not only an outstanding player, she was hot tonight. Some players rise to the ocassion. She rose really high today.”
Pinewood teammate Miranda Seto, who’s headed to UC San Diego, scored 23 points and was 10-for-12 from the free-throw line as the senior tandem took control of the game in the second quarter.
St. Bernard jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first quarter and was up 11-10 with three minutes to play in the quarter when Seto stole the ball and scored a layup to give her team a 12-11 lead. Pinewood took the lead and never gave it up. The Panthers made eight 3-pointers in the game.
“I’ve never had a team that played so clutch,” Scheppler said. “It’s been great riding on the same train with them.”
Swain ran into foul trouble picking up her third in the second quarter. She was called for her fourth fall in the first minute of the second half. The UCLA-bound Swain had to play conservatively and Pinewood took advantage.
Swain finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Lajauna Drummer scored a team-high 16 points and had 10 rebounds for St. Bernard.