Girls Basketball: International’s Cinderella run ends at the hands of SJND

International freshman guard Shayna Mehta goes up for a contested layup against St. Joseph Notre Dame on Friday at Albany High School. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Josh Levine

International High School represented Cinderella in the North Coast Section Division V championship game against top-seeded St. Joseph Notre Dame on Friday at Albany High School.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a storybook ending for the Jaguars.

Sixth-seeded International led 32-28 at the half and 48-44 after the third quarter, but the Pilots pulled out 70-68 win over the Jaguars to win their second-consecutive NCS championship.

International sophomore guard Natalie Kelly goes up for a running jump shot in the lane against St. Joseph Notre Dame on Friday at Albany High School. (Photo by Doug Ko)

The Jaguars (21-10) still had a chance to either win or tie with 7.8 seconds left, trailing by two with the ball.

On the inbound pass, International senior guard Denia Ebersole passed the ball to freshman guard Shayna Mehta, who passed the ball back to Ebersole after they crossed half court. The referees originally ruled a back-court violation, but after conferring with each other, overturned the call and the Jaguars got the ball back with 5.6 seconds left.

“We drew up the play and it was going to get us the shot that we wanted,” said International head coach Charlene Murphy. “They did waive that violation, but we had no timeouts to draw up another play and it was a scramble at the end of the game. It’s unfortunate that’s how it ended.”

St. Joseph (22-10) got 60 combined points from three guards, including 25 from Desiree Harris.

Harris was guarded for most of the game by International’s Melanie Fun, but late in the game Fun was accidentally struck in the mouth by a referee. Fun, who has braces, had to be removed from the game with 4 minutes left and the Jaguars up five points. By the time she returned with less than a minute remaining, the Pilots had taken a 68-65 lead.

“We couldn’t run the defense that had been working so well without her in,” Murphy said. “We knew what we had to do, but that really impacted our scheme. The most frustrating thing is that we didn’t get our ‘A’ game from all of our players.”

Despite the loss, the Jaguars have advanced further than any other team in the program’s history and will continue to play in the CIF State Championship tournament next week.

“I’m disappointed from today, but this just makes us more motivated,” Ebersole said. “The last minute was a classic choke and we didn’t make our free throws. Part of that falls on me and the leadership out there. We thought we would win, but we knew it would be tough. On to the next one. We have a chance to do something big.”

Scoring Summary

St. Joseph Notre Dame
Desiree Harris – 25
Samantha Maritzen – 18
Jessica de Mesa – 17
Melanie Shojinaga – 6
Two players 2 points each

International
Shayna Mehta – 24
Natalie Kelly – 19
Denia Ebersole – 17
Kassie Encinas – 4
Emilia Omerberg – 4

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25 Comments

  1. Kezar for Keeps says:

    Josh, in all due respect, you told us nothing about what happened in the game other than providing lame excuses why International lost.

    • GCJ 01 says:

      Kezar For Keeps,

      You’re normally on point with your comments, but regarding this one, you’re off. You might want to read the article again because Josh did tell what happend in the game. It might have not been as in depth as you may have wanted it, but he did cover the game.

      • Kezar for Keeps says:

        How about what happened after the referees overturned the call? The way he describes it, it’s as if the game ended right there. How about how SJ came back or how International built and lost the lead. Instead he talks about the excuses why international lost.

        • GCJ 01 says:

          Again, it may not have been as in depth as you may have wanted it, but he did cover the game. To be clear, no excuses were made. The coach (not Josh) was the one that stated why his team didn’t perform at their best in the final moments of the game. So, if you’re going to blame someone for making “excuses” as to why International lost, blame the coach. Josh just put what he was told when he asked the questions.

          • Kezar for Keeps says:

            Yes, he asked the question. The coach didn’t say that out of nowhere. By picking what goes into the article (this applies to Jbalan too, if he edited stuff out) he chose what to focus on and again, he focused on excuses.

            • GCJ 01 says:

              I understand your point. However, there could’ve been other factors that led to why some stuff was edited out. Remember, there were many games going on and JB, JL, Bonta, probably covered more than one game last night. Remember, they have to write articles for every game they cover and that’s a lot of work. Will somethings be left out….possibly. However, they do their best to cover the game.

              Think about it, what is there for Josh to gain if he made excuses as to why International lost? He didn’t attend the school. From what I know, he doesn’t even have ties to the school. Your point would be valid if he actually had something to gain out of it.

              Look at a lot of SI fans that comment on here (there might be some heat for me saying this). But when their team loses, all they do is come on here and complain or make excuses as to why they lost (and this goes for both basketball and football). Those are examples of excuses.

              Maybe you’d be more satisfied if this story went into the “Wrap-up” section. I do agree that the article is a bit short, but he could be working on writing an article for one of the bigger games that occured last night.

              Just a guess….

              • SF says:

                The International Boys Basketball teams coached by Carl Jacobs made it to the NCS Finals two years in a row and lost to Branson, so other International teams have made the CIF State Playoffs.

  2. Winners says:

    jags could’ve won if the refs didn’t make that stupid call and gave us back the 2 seconds. this was not a fair game. but overall, i think the jags played really well and went hard against a team like SJ. I know as a Jags fan, they are going to even play harder in the Nor Cals because they stept it up in every game. Gooo Jags!

  3. rickjames says:

    Still a good run for the International Congratulations! Make noise at the State championshisps. And by the way where is the team that was called “SCARY” about 2 weeks ago, Jaguars are scarier ! Sorry, i had to put it in there!
    .

  4. WCAl Alum says:

    Winners. If you can say honestly that Internatinal did not make any stupid passes, stupid unforced errors, or any mental lapses during the 32 minute game, you can blame the refs; otherwise youre not being honest with yourself.

    A wise WCAL veteran coach once told me, I tell my kids to play at a level that no referee decision has a negative affect to the result of the game

  5. George says:

    Jags were leading all 3 quarters by 4+ points and gave it up by bad calls by the refs..

  6. winner says:

    WCAI Alum. so you are telling me that SJ didn’t make any stupid decisions either? and SJ played perfectly fine? If i remember correctly i believe IHS was winning most of the time, until the refs started to make dumb calls. im not saying all were them, but im saying there were many unfair calls.

    but if the players are playing hard….and the refs are calling fouls that were not all fouls then umm…you cant control the refs call. the ref ruined the last 7 seconds for us and that was not our fault.

    • WCAL Alum says:

      Again take them out of the equasion the first 31 minutes and 53 seconds and the argument is mute. Look, honestly I was not at the game, so I dont know what transpired. It is just tiring to hear fans blame the refs when so many other things affect the outcome of a game.

      Congratulation to the ladies on making it to finals (quite an accomplishment) and advancing to NorCal tournament. One of very few teams still playing. Best of luck.

  7. jags says:

    @SF this is the first time that an IHS women’s basketball team has made it to the finals and state championships.

  8. and 1 says:

    Good jpb International! I have seen them play a few times this year and there guards are not nowhere near being top 5 in the city.. Check SI and SHC for that… Ebersole is a good plaayer and works hard props to her. That’s about it.

    • good basketball says:

      @ and 1: I’ve watched International a few times this year too and they have more than just one good player. Their three guards Ebersole, Kelly and Mehta are all very good.
      Also, “nowhere near being top 5 in the city…check SI and SHC for that”? Well International beat SI and Gunn in scrimmages early this year. They also beat Castlemont (in D1 Norcals) in a game in December so their guards must be pretty good. I’ve seen all the guards play each other in AAU and the three from International are just as good as the ones from SI and SHC. I don’ think that the D5 players get enough credit – everyone’s always talking about SI and SHC, but in reality their guards are no better.

  9. SF23 says:

    They beat S.I and Gunn in scrimmages? What does that mean? If IHS played S.I. tomorrow S.I. wins by 20, IHS is having a great season but don’t get carried away.

    • good basketball says:

      All I’m saying is that the guards are just as good as the SI/SHC guards. (Actually better if you see them in AAU where they get the chance to play with and against each other).

  10. SF23 says:

    Good Basketball: I’ve watched many AAU tournaments, these girls don’t play in competitive AAU tourneys. These girls are not in the same class as the other great guards in the city. I know you like ur team but there are 5 guards off the top of my head that I would take before the IHS guards. When someone is talking about wins in scrimmages I can’t respect that persons opinion.

    • ballerss says:

      You can not say that they haven’t played in good AAU tournaments because they have played with and against many of the SI and SHC guards, and have done very well!

    • De'Y's 1 says:

      @SF23 – I doubt anyone is looking for your respect. You either consider the Oregon Trail tournament, Reno, Las Vegas, etc. not to be competitive AAU tournaments or you don’t know what you are talking about. You should get your facts right; otherwise you just display your ignorance. As to scrimmages, since the teams don’t play each other in the regular season, scrimmages and AAU ball are some of the only times to see some players face off against each other — imperfect, but better than just speculation.

  11. Ruckjames says:

    @Good basketball I just don’t think IHS guards are better than Geanna from SHC , Courtney of SI ?
    or even Kaitlin of SI , IHS guards are good but can’t be compared
    To SHC and SI guards , agree with SF23 mentioning wins in scrimmages
    Is laughable . IHS almost won NCS div 5 you should dwell on that not comparing
    Your team’s players. IHS is good they deserve their ranking because they
    earned it , but they are not as good as the top 4. Good to IHS in the state
    championships!

  12. De'Y's 1 says:

    @ Ruckjames – You are entitled to your opinion, but whether SI can beat IHS is a different question than whether some individual players are as good as others. I’ve watched all the players in question. I have a different opinion than you have. How many times have you watched IHS this year? By the way, there are some pretty good guards at some other non-WCAL schools as well! (Also, IHS fans are not “dwelling on comparing players” — merely responding to the gratuitous slap from “@and 1” above.) Good luck to your team in the playoffs.

  13. SF23 says:

    I hope IHS brings back a title. Good luck to the girls

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