By Josh Levine
Despite going into the fourth quarter down 42-35, Convent of the Sacred Heart High School opened the final frame with a 13-2 run to push ahead in a 56-49 victory in the Bay Counties League West championship game over University High School on Saturday at Kezar Pavilion.
Convent senior forward India Pearce scored a game-high 28 points, including 19 in the second half, and the Cubs (17-9) outscored University (16-11) 21-7 in the final period.
“We wanted it so much. The freshmen wanted it for the seniors and the seniors wanted revenge on University for the buzzer-beater [in the CIF-North Coast Section playoffs] last year,” Pearce said. “I think the butterflies were definitely there in the beginning and we were nervous, but that went away.”
University’s Amelia King countered Pearce with 22 points, 10 of which came in the first quarter, but was held to four points in each quarter the rest of the way.
“I think we outplayed Convent today,” King said. “We were the better team, but Convent is tougher and more experienced, and that showed. We weren’t able to play four good quarters of basketball.”
Pearce and Gina Domergue split the time guarding King, who took 27 shots from the field.
“I honestly never thought we were going to lose today,” said Convent head coach Phil Galvin. “And give credit to University and Ralph (Barhydt). Their defense really bothered us and they did a great job.”
The Red Devils were still within striking distance, down 52-47 with 50 seconds remaining, when Pearce nailed a three-point shot that put the game out of reach
“[Pearce] is simply a beast. I think she’s the MVP of this league,” Galvin said. “[She] just did what an MVP does.”
By winning the league tournament, Convent gets an automatic bid to the NCS Division V playoffs, while University should receive an at-large bid.
“I know we’re going to have to play higher seeds now because we lost, but when we play well look at what we can do,” Barhydt said.
India Pearce – 28
Jaime Hun-Nishikado – 10
Isabella Borges – 5
Bianka Quintanilla-Whye – 5
Two players tied with 4 points
Amelia King – 22
Justine Li – 9
Mikaela Symanovich – 7
Alana Zack – 7
Gabriella Chua – 4