By John Blomster
Behind a game-high 19 points from senior forward Stephanie Lee, University High School defeated Bay School 65-56 in the first round of the CIF-North Coast Section Division V playoffs Wednesday night at Kezar Pavilion.
University advances to play second seed and Bay Counties League West champion Convent of the Sacred Heart in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
University (18-11) battled back from an early first-quarter deficit and a halftime tie to upend Bay (19-10) in a lopsided third quarter that proved to be the difference in the game.
“I think that, despite missing some easy shots and getting pressured early, the girls worked hard, stayed composed and pulled it off,” said University Head Coach Bobby Henshel. “[Going into the next round] I think we just need to control our composure a little bit and bring our intensity and defense together and be more composed on offense.”
Bay jumped out to a 9-1 lead early in the first quarter and led 15-11 going into the second, but had difficulty handling the ball.
University capitalized on the Breakers’ 14 turnovers and 8 shooting fouls and slowly closed the gap in the second quarter, tying the score 28-28 at halftime.
The University defense held Bay to 8 points in the third quarter, and the Red Devils took a 48-36 lead into the final frame.
University senior guard Cameron Ruby had 17 points, including four unanswered free throws in the last minute of play.
Bay, coming off a recent Bay Counties League Central championship, shot well from the floor at 48 percent, but struggled with fouls and and had 26 turnovers in the game.
“We were holding up our end on defense, but our offense got a little tentative there midgame,” said Bay Head Coach Larry Minnich. “I told the kids, you wouldn’t let ‘em take [the ball] if it was your lunch bucket.’”
Bay junior Mary MacLeod had a team-high 17 points and shot 5-for-5 from the free throw line.