By Josh Levine
Much of International High School’s recent success can be attributed to senior captain Denia Ebersole, but it was the play of two underclassmen that stole the show on Wednesday night.
Sophomore guard Natalie Kelly scored 24 points and freshman guard Shayna Mehta added 19 to lead the sixth-seeded Jaguars to a dominant 62-39 win over visiting San Domenico of San Anselmo in the North Coast Section Division V semifinals.
The two teams have faced each other four times this season – twice during the regular season, once in the Bay Counties League West playoffs and in the NCS semifinals on Wednesday. San Domenico (22-7) won the first meeting 50-40, but International (21-9) has won the last three games.
“My kids are legit,” said International head coach Charlene Murphy. “I would take my three girls over any three guards in the City. They play so hard for me and they always compete. As a team, we are peaking at the right time and continually pushing to get better.”
The Jaguars opened on a 12-0 run and the Panthers would not get the deficit to single digits for the remainder of the game.
“They had a great start on the court, but their speed continually bothers us,” said San Domenico head coach Mike Fulton. “It was the same thing two weeks ago when we played them. I’m more disappointed that we didn’t execute the things we had worked on. They put their foot on our throats and the game was over at halftime.”
With the win, the Jaguars advance to face top-seeded St. Joseph Notre Dame in the section championship game on Friday at Albany High School.
“I’m excited to face them and they’re who we want to play,” Murphy said. “We want to play the best, but win or lose we have accomplished our goal of reaching [the CIF State Championship tournament]. Anything besides that is simply icing on the cake.”
Natalie Kelly – 24
Shayna Mehta – 19
Denia Ebersole – 16
Shelly Lima – 2
Emilia Omerberg – 1
Sasha Nagler – 14
Tina Meyers – 13
LuLu Bernstein – 5
Rachele Nagler – 4
Bailey Ferguson – 2