Girls Basketball: St. Ignatius edges Lowell to claim Sand Dune championship

St. Ignatius junior guard Quinci Mann drives past a Lowell defender on Saturday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Eric Sun)

St. Ignatius junior guard Quinci Mann drives past a Lowell defender on Saturday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Eric Sun)

By John Baker

In the Sand Dune Classic girls basketball tournament championship, Lowell and St. Ignatius both held leads for long stretches, but the Wildcats rallied behind a game-high 23 points from Quinci Mann – 10 of them coming in the fourth quarter – to beat the Cardinals 52-48 on Saturday.

“We have a very strong team chemistry, but we’re also very young, so sometimes it takes us awhile to get into our motions,” Mann said. “I feel like that second half, we really turned it on.”

Mann made two three-pointers and hit some key free throws to help the Wildcats (9-1) take the lead in the third quarter and hold it in the fourth.

Lowell senior guard Katarina Lum (left) goes up for a layup contested by St. Ignatius sophomore forward Brianna Beckman on Saturday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Eric Sun)

Lowell senior guard Katarina Lum (left) goes up for a layup contested by St. Ignatius sophomore forward Brianna Beckman on Saturday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Eric Sun)

“Quinci just hit some huge, huge shots,” said St. Ignatius head coach Michael Mulkerrins. “If we needed a shot, she would hit it.”

St. Ignatius used mass substitutions in an effort to overcome a third-quarter deficit and wear down a Lowell (10-4) team with less depth. By the end of the game the Cardinals were running on fumes, even as the Wildcats slowed their offense to eat up the clock.

“They rotated a lot more than we did,” said Lowell head coach Aki Kuwada. “Our girls just ran out of gas those last five minutes. There was nothing I could do.”

Lowell was also short-handed. Starting guard Angie Ng, who played a key role in the Cardinals’ semifinal win over Pinewood, was out of town on a family trip, but made the all-tournament team regardless based on her play in previous games.

“For what we had, the kids played really well,” Kuwada said. “We really stepped up on defense.”

The Wildcats took an 18-12 lead after a quarter, but Lowell asserted itself in the second, buoyed by good ball movement and good shooting. The Cardinals tied the game at 24-24 with 45 seconds left in the first half on a Taylor Sui layup, then took the lead moments later after a jumper by Katarina Lum.

After leading most of the third quarter, Lowell finally gave up the lead for good after a bucket by Mann with 2:47 left in the third. The knockout blows then came with a three-pointer from Mann with 1:50 left that made the score 50-44 and a blocked shot by tournament MVP Sydney Raggio in the final moments.

“You have to give Lowell a lot of credit, their defense gave us some problems early on,” Mulkerrins said. “We made some adjustments at halftime. We were able to get the ball to the right people in the right areas and were able to score some baskets that way.”

As could be expected, the all-tournament team was dominated by players from the two squads. Besides Raggio and Ng, also making the all-tourney team were Lowell’s Kelly Wong and Lorna Tuufuli and St. Ignatius’ Mann, Crystal Sun and Brianna Beckman.

Scoring Summary

St. Ignatius
Qunci Mann – 23
Crystal Sun – 9
Erin Hanley – 6
Sydney Raggio – 6
Brianna Beckman – 4

Lorna Tuufuli – 15
Kelly Wong – 10
Taylor Sui – 8
Katarina Lum – 6
Hana Murphy – 5

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  1. tenor1 says:

    was josie little not playing?

    • Paul B. says:

      She still has the concussion that she sustained during the summer. If she comes back playing, then my prediction is that she will come off the bench. Also, BTW Paige Marquez also didn’t play because she injured her ankle late in the game against St. Patrick-St. Vincent (Vallejo) two nights ago & she might have to rest it for a week or two.

  2. Paul B. says:

    I’m also surprised that Katarina Lum didn’t make the all-tourney team @ SI last night.

    • bball lover says:

      I too am surprised. Also, I think Taylor Sui deserved all-tournament as opposed to Lorna because Taylor played well throughout the whole tournament, especially during the Pinewood game when Lorna sat out due to foul trouble early in the game.

      Lorna has been on vars for four years now, I would like to see her do more during games, more body control on rebounds and on her put back shots as well as watching her fouls. She will be an important role when it comes to playing in norcal.

      Good luck cardinals!

  3. Cat in the Hat says:

    Lowell looked really good against the Cats. If they were missing their point guard that means they can play even better. The AAA is about to get hit by a big talented flock of Cardinals. I can’t see Lowell losing many more games until they eventually have to play D1 Norcals and face the likes of Carondelet and Berkeley.

    • Don L. says:

      Looking at the Lowell schedule, they have a game against Eastside Prep midway through the AAA season.

      If Lowell is as good as advertised, I hope the second tier teams (Wash, Lincoln, Galileo, Balboa) cam step it up and give them a challenge. Otherwise, I see why Lowell might schedule an outside game halfway through. They want to stay sharp as they play into NorCals.

  4. Spectator says:

    Lowell post players has improved quite from last season. Also, tall/skilled post players are so rare in the AAA so the credit should go to the players and coaches. The issue for Lowell is that they won’t be challenged in league play. Number 14 on the Lowell team made a lot defensive plays as well. Number 23 made some tough shots as well. it look liked SI was just much more deeper on the bench as opposed to Lowell’s bench.

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