By Ernest Stone
If an undefeated Bay Counties League West season wasn’t reason enough to believe that Convent of the Sacred Heart High School could be a CIF-North Coast Section powerhouse, a 70-45 home blowout win over St. Vincent de Paul of Petaluma on Saturday night in the NCS Division V quarterfinals should serve as solid evidence.
“This may have been the most complete game offensively of the year for us,” said Cubs head coach Phil Galvin. “It didn’t end there either, on defense we did some things to disrupt them and our size was a real problem for them.”
It was Convent’s (19-9) defense that broke the game open as early as the first quarter, holding the Mustangs (16-11) to just 2-of-11 shooting while forcing eight turnovers. Combined with the Cubs’ ability to score inside, the first quarter ended with the home team leading 22-4.
Leading Convent’s dominance in the paint was senior Shannon McInerney, who’s 12 first-half points allowed the Cubs to cruise to a 39-19 halftime lead.
But Convent’s reliable senior India Pearce was not to be outdone. Pearce added a team-high 17 points, with her six-point third quarter helping Convent build an insurmountable 57-28 lead heading into the final eight minutes of the game.
“The first three minutes of both the first quarter and third quarter are huge in establishing the tone of the game,” said St. Vincent head coach Jim Fagundes. “We didn’t start well in either half, and that’s where the game was won.”
While the Mustangs fell too far behind to have a realistic chance of a comeback in the fourth quarter, they outscored the Cubs 15-5 in the final eight minutes behind an impressive 13-point burst from guard Nicole Hupke.
The loss ends St. Vincent’s season, although the team does have eight returning players set to come back next year.
As for Convent, which fell in the quarterfinal round last season, its semifinal game against second-seeded Rincon Valley Christian (28-2) looks less intimidating following its showcase on Saturday.
“I’m just glad that we afforded ourselves another two weeks together,” Galvin said. “The emergence of Shannon as a threat is crucial and although our play today was a little surprising, even to me, I am relieved to see us put together an effort like this.”
India Pearce – 17
Shannon McInerney – 16
Bianka Quintanilla-Whye – 10
Julianna Wetmore – 7
Jaime Hum-Nishikado – 6
Nicole Hupke – 16
Shannon Carrol – 11
Ashley Torres – 11
Maddy Perry – 3
Jacalyn Murphy – 2