Girls Basketball: Summers-Luaulu leads Sacred Heart to another CCS championship

Sacred Heart Cathedral sophomore guard GeAnna Summers-Luaulu pushes the ball up the court against Terra Nova on Saturday at Santa Clara University. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Jeremy Balan

SANTA CLARA – There’s something about Santa Clara University’s Leavey Center that brings out the best in Sacred Heart Cathedral guard GeAnna Summers-Luaulu.

A year after scoring 20 points against rival St. Ignatius in last season’s championship game as a freshman, Summers-Luaulu again had her best game of the season at the Leavey Center to lead the Irish girls basketball team to a 61-56 win over Terra Nova in the Central Coast Section Division III championship game on Saturday.

Sacred Heart Cathedral junior guard Briannah Smith goes up for a running jump shot against Terra Nova on Saturday at Santa Clara University. (Photo by Doug Ko)

The 5-foot-7 sophomore had a career-high 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead the second-seeded Irish (15-14) to their second-consecutive CCS title.

“If I’m [Santa Clara] head coach Jennifer Mountain, I’d start recruiting her right now, because she loves playing here,” said Sacred Heart head coach Mike Carey. “She was hurt for five weeks and this is really just her second month playing, and it’s really showing. After practice yesterday I told her, “You can take over the game. That’s OK with me'”

With the green light from Carey, Summers-Luaulu imposed her will early, scoring nine points in the first quarter to help the Irish build a 16-11 lead they never surrendered.

After a scoring drought in the middle quarters, Summers-Luaulu again began to fire in the fourth. She scored eight points in the final frame, including two cold-blooded, step-back 3-pointers.

“I don’t know what was going on, but we just wanted this game really badly,” Summers-Luaulu said. “Last year we were underdogs and we were again this year, so we were just trying to prove everyone wrong.”

Summers-Luaulu hit two of five Irish 3s in the final quarter, but even though they didn’t miss a shot from beyond the arc, they missed seven free throws in the final frame to keep the Tigers in the game.

“We were hitting 3s because we were getting our feet set and following the game plan,” Carey said. “It was frustrating [missing the free throws], but we just have to take our time, take deep breaths and put the free throws down.”

The Tigers (23-6) feature three Division I college recruits, including Texas Tech-bound senior guard Ivonne Cook-Taylor, who went shot-for-shot with Summers-Luaulu, scoring 22 points. Nevada-bound senior guard Terilyn Moe scored 15 points, but did so on 5-of-20 shooting, and San Jose State-bound guard Jayzyl Tauala added eight points.

The difference was Sacred Heart’s depth and steady rotation that tired out the three future college players.

“They only go six or seven [deep] and we go nine or 10,” Carey said. “Are we used to playing 32 minutes hard? Yes. Are they used to playing 32 minutes hard? No. The difference between the [Peninsula Athletic League] and the [West Catholic Athletic League] is that we played tough games the last two months and they ran through their league.”

Sacred Heart Cathedral junior forward Ashley Gainer (right) battles for position with Terra Nova senior guard Ivonne Cook-Taylor on Saturday at Santa Clara University. (Photo by Doug Ko)

The Tigers only played six players, with Cook-Taylor, Moe and Tauala all logging over 30 minutes of time on the floor.

“My thing is, I’m going to ride my horses,” said Terra Nova head coach Kareem Summerville. “These two teams know each other very well, because they play outside of high school and the girls knew whoever fights is going to win the ballgame.”

The outsized Irish also out-rebounded the Tigers 43-40, led by 5-foot-7 forward Ashley Gainer, who had a team-high 12 rebounds to go along with five points.

“She’s 5-7, but plays like she’s 6-3,” Carey said. “She’s been our heart and soul on the boards all year and she showed it today.”

The Irish enter the CIF State Championship tournament with momentum and will look to advance further than their second-round exit to Campolindo last season.

“I think we’re playing our best basketball,” Carey said. “We’re executing well and being patient. It’s the little things and at this time of the year, the little things keep you moving forward.”

Scoring Summary

Sacred Heart Cathedral
GeAnna Summers-Luaulu – 22
Briannah Smith – 11
Jerrieza Enriquez – 9
Kayla Coloyan – 6
Two players tied with 5 points

Terra Nova
Ivonne Cook-Taylor – 22
Terilyn Moe – 15
Jayzyl Tauala – 8
Mailiyah Alapati – 7
Lynette Mackey – 4

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  1. Paul B. says:

    I’m going to say that either SHC or Lowell will get the No.1 spot this coming Monday when the new girls top ten poll comes out.

    • WCAL Alum says:

      Despite the 1 pt. loss to Mitty, SI women should still maintain No. 1 ranking. Beat SH twice, still in NorCals. I would put it this way:

      1. SI
      2. Lowell (by virtue of win over SH)
      3. SHC (quality win over Terra Nova, but very few after that)
      4. Mercy
      5. Washington
      6. University
      7. International/Convent

  2. Big guy 24 says:

    Congrats to the SHC fight’in irish girls for working hard and staying together during the game. In the crowd I kept hearing T.N. should win this game cause of talent alone but they forgot that this is a team game and SHC got contributions from all that played, while T.N. girls looked tired early and often. SHC showed more heart and desire and thats why they won period. T moe looked winded often throughout the game and SHC kept subbing as many as 10 players during the game. WCAL teams show why they are better teams than PAL teams cause of the comp they play every week compare to the weak comp TN plays and that helped SHC and hurt T.N. A bog congrats to both teams for making it this far.

  3. fan says:

    Who do they play next?

  4. Basketball Fan says:

    Congratulations to the Lady Irish for a game well played and executed. What a fantastic team effort! One of my favorite plays was Briannah Smith running full court back to get a loose ball that was right next to a TN player. Awesome! It is about heart and determination and the team showed it yesterday afternoon. Good luck Coach Carey and team! Looking forward to the next game.

  5. TM76 says:

    Congrats to SHCP they played the better game and it showed. The team made more plays and better decisions during the game which helped them stay ahead. It really showed in that hustle play by Smith getting to that loose ball.

    Although Terra Nova had 3 D1 recruited players (Moe, Cook-Taylor & Tauala) SHCP girls just had more heart and hustle. It’s true that the TN players looked sluggish and tired. They definitely could not with stand the all game pressure that SHCP put on the whole game. TN should have used their bench more but since they have not done that all year long it wasn’t going to start in this game.

    I thought Carey did an excellent job in scouting TN. Given the fact that former players(Cook-Taylor Tauala and Ragler) played for SHCP, he had better knowledge on how to go at them. People made have not been happy with how SHCP does in league play but they have certainly held their own in post season play. Although it may take longer for them to return to some of the success of the pass (20 + wins, state title) they are on the way.

    Props to Carey for running the team his way no matter what AAU team the girls play for. That is the way to make a statement that it is your team regardless of how the parents feel about it.

  6. WCAL Alum says:

    High school basketball success is based on team chemistry. AAU ball is run by people paid to promote individual play in hopes of attracting college recruiters who dont have time over the course of season to scout players for nothing more than athletic ability. Though the three indivudal players from TN are good players, did they make their teammates better-no. You could tell that league didnt prepare them for a big game scenario and poor attitudes became apparent, particulaly with some. Those things dont show up on stat page.

    NorCals is a crap shoot, and SHC will be fortunate to move on without a pressense in the middle. I wish them luck.

  7. Michelle says:

    I was at this game, and I was so impressed by SHC! I was there just to watch, and have no connection to either team.

    I kept hearing so much about TN, and these stand out players that they have, but was so disappointed to see how out of shape, and unprepared they looked. There body language, and poor attitudes made them look like they really didn’t give a crap. At one point one of there “star” players literally walked (very slowly) all the way across the floor to retrieve the ball. I was hoping the referree would call delay of game, that is how blatant it looked.

    Anyway, the more energetic, controlled, driven team definitely won that game. Congrats to SHC – I see a bright future for those players!

  8. JustSayin says:

    Congratulations SH on your back to back CCS Championships. BUT Let’s see see how SH does with the big dogs like Bishop O’Dowd, their post alone are a pair of top scorers. Their point gaurd is fierce and they are quick and just nasty.

    • Ari Gold says:

      Duh!!! SH girls overachieved by winning CCS this year. They dont have the best talent like other teams but they grinded out a championship this year. Sorry your team didnt get any hardware and you feel compelled to point out the obvious that SH is going to lose in NorCals. Really going out on a limb there JustSayin.

      • M Air J says:

        They were the most talented D3 team in CCS. They didn’t grind anything out, they were the best team in the field. If they would have won WCAL then they most certainly overachieved. If they win NorCal and State then they overachieved.

  9. JustSayin says:

    You are right Ari Gold, I am pointing out the obvious SH will lose at the big dance. I don’t feel compelled to say anything negative just the facts. SH won another watered down CCS championship. The great thing about sports is it’s anyones game. IF SH continues playing their game AND has the extra coaching it obviously had on Saturday AND some luck on their side ANYTHING is possible, but I’m not convinced with their record and the games to come they’ll get far. My opinion, JustSayin.

    • Sunset Fog says:

      I agree having a good coach on the side lines has made a difference in post season play, the girls seemed to have really responded to his coaching. The other two assistant coaches are clueless. Imagine how good SHC could be if they had a really good coach. The credit should go to the SHC girls as they played hard and as a team not a coach who has a below 500 winning record and seemed lost the whole year, no improvement from the last 2 years in his coaching, adjustments etc… Summers-Luaulu and the rest of the SHC girls deserve to have a coach who can help get them to the next level, they would be a top team in the bay area no doubt.

      • Kezar for Keeps says:

        Your comment seems contradictory, but I’m tired of hearing this stuff about Mike Carey. He completely out coached the Terra Nova coaching staff, which had a much more talented group, and still gets no credit.

        Some people can never be satisfied. You all probably whined when Harrigan lost a game or two too. Sad that people need to resort to this, because they are obviously not satisfied with their own lives.

        • WCAL Alum says:

          I would suggest that the whining supporter of the indiviual girts get their checks out and pay the AAU coaches that convince them that their kids are the best (cha ching).

          Look, SHC WON a championship and desrvet their congratulations, but in all honesty it is apples and oranges with the talent Brian Harrigan had playing for him. Some of the top level kids wanted to play for Brian Harrigan. That is not a slight against Mr. Carey, just Brian Harrigan had a nice repoire with Mission Rec, and once he left some kids looked else where. The parents and kids coming into the school were disallusioned when Brian left. AND despite this, SHC still attracted enough talent to succeed sectional wise, but to say this group would have done much better with Brian Harrigan, I would be bet some of them wouldnt even be playing. Be careful what you ask for.

          It is seems to me that the people complaining are more concerned with how their kids look to potential college requiters that winning one for old SHC.

        • merkinworld says:


  10. oswald jefferson says:

    I have never been a Carey fan, but the girls responded to him on Saturday. He should be given credit for that. There is no doubt that Burke helped him on the sidelines, but he was the one in the huddle motivating his troops. Great win for the girls and the coach.

    I pray that they watch the Miramonte vs Vanden game and have a game plan that will prepare the girls, unlike last year. They had no answer for Campo last year, and it showed. I hope they take this momentum and make a statement on Sat.

    Good luck Irish

  11. Ari Gold says:

    Say what you will about Mike Carey… Hes not winning .900% like Harrigan but he has 2 CCS titles in 3 years which makes that 12 CCS titles in 13 years for the Irish… Dont give me the watered down CCS as an excuse. Games still need to be played, injuries happen, and whatever factors you can think of. SH girls, all they do is win win win and everyone else that doesnt give these girls credit, you can ride your jealousy train all the way to Envyland.

    • rickjames says:

      Not an SHC fan but AMEN that. 2 CCS titles in 3 yrs is impressive, others have been at the helm longer as a coach and have nothing to show for it except win records which cannot be displayed in a mantle!

  12. JustSayin says:

    @ Ari, I gave SH their props, I didn’t mention Harrigan, that’s done and over with at least in my books. CCS is watered down, not an excuse but a fact. Yes, SH scheduled tough preseason games and they played under WCAL only reason they were seeded high and they were out coached many times especially in the games that counted. I would jump on the Envyland train if that’s where I was headed, but for now I’m at the station waiting to get on the CheckYourFactsCozIkeepingitReal Train. Choooo choooo, I hear it comming!

  13. JJ says:

    No wonder Lowell got a #2 seed; they beat a CCS D3 champion in SHC.

    • WCAL Alum says:

      True Lowell deserves the higher ranking based on their win and steady play to date. Yes, SHC is playing better now than at beginning of season, but the fact remains they lost to Lowell and Lowell won their league.

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