OAKLAND — Funny how a key injury can sometimes bring a team together.
Red Bluff High School lost star forward Angie Weir only six days before the State Division II girls basketball championship, but the Spartans called upon their guards to win the title.
Cathy Wise scored 21 points and Tammy Bracken added 15 points as the Spartans downed Valley Christian of Cerritos, 69-57, Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum Arena.
Leading by five at halftime, the Spartans opened a 14-point lead in the third quarter as Wise made four straight jump shots. Red Bluff (29-2) cruised from there to its 23rd consecutive victory. Valley Christian finished at 27-3.
Weir, one of the top players in Northern California, injured her knee in practice Monday and did not suit up. She averaged 21 points per game.
Valley Christian Coach Eleanor Dykstra said her team knew of Weir's injury but didn't consider it an advantage as she feared Weir's teammates would pick up the slack.
"I knew going into the game that our guards would have a difficult time matching up with their guards," Dykstra said. "The game was going to be won at the guard position.
"When a player of Weir's caliber gets hurt, everyone else works harder. Red Bluff outhustled us, outplayed us and deserved to win."
Valley Christian's top two scorers, Donna Pollema and Kari Parriott, didn't figure in the outcome even though Pollema scored 20 points and Parriott added 19. The key statistic was the Valley Christian turnover total: 30, including 21 in the first half.
The Crusaders did make a run at Red Bluff in the fourth quarter, closing to within 10 points after a three-point play by Pollema. But Red Bluff answered with two straight baskets by forward Darcy Bauer to rebuild its lead.
San Diego Point Loma 60, Sacramento Grant 44--The Pointers, led by All-American center Terri Mann, won their fourth consecutive Division I championship.
Mann had 30 points and 25 rebounds, the latter setting a single-game record for a state final, and forward Liza Carrillo added 15 points for Point Loma (33-0), which won despite shooting just 38.1% from the field. Tesia Green and center Christine Ellis scored 12 each to lead Grant (32-2), the Northern California champion.
No other team has won four state championships in the tournament's current format, which began in 1981. Stockton won boys' titles in 1922, '23, '25 and '28.
Willows 49, Woodlake 33--Carol Holzapfel came off the bench to score 14 points and lead Willows, the Northern California representative, to the Division III title.
Woodlake (22-6) was making its third straight appearance in the title game, losing last season and winning in 1985. Willows finished 26-4.