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GIRLS' BASKETBALL STATE FINALS

Dry Spell Costly for Bishop Amat

March 21, 2004|Dan Arritt | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Keeping up with Stockton St. Mary's was a challenge for the La Puente Bishop Amat girls' basketball team Saturday afternoon in the Division III state final.

Once the Lancers fell behind late in second quarter, catching up proved to be impossible.

St. Mary's defeated the Lancers, 54-45, in Arco Arena for its 25th consecutive victory and first state title in Division III. The Rams won Division IV titles in 2000 and 2003.

St. Mary's (31-4) took the steam out of the Lancers with a 17-0 run that stretched from early in the second quarter to the first possession of the third. Bishop Amat went 7 minutes 20 seconds without scoring to fall behind, 26-17.

The Lancers (31-4) missed nine of 11 shots in the second quarter and three of four free throws.

"Getting behind was an uphill proposition for us," Coach Richard Wiard said. "If we would have made a few of our shots and a few of our foul shots, we would have been in better shape at the half."

St. Mary's Coach Tom Gonzalves didn't see it that way.

"I thought they were already tired [at halftime] and would have trouble running with us," he said. "I was pretty confident at the half."

The Rams twice stretched their lead to 14 points in the second half. Bishop Amat cut the lead to 44-35 on Erin Myrick's rebound basket with 3:20 remaining, but Jacki Gemelos followed with a three-point basket that barely beat the shot clock, putting St. Mary's ahead by double digits.

St. Mary's made eight of 24 three-pointers compared to one of nine for Bishop Amat.

Myrick, a 6-foot-2 forward who has signed with Texas Tech, made her presence known inside, making 10 of 13 shots and scoring 21 points, but foul trouble kept her on the bench for seven minutes.

Gemelos, a 5-11 sophomore guard, finished with 18 points, nearly four below her average. Teammate Renee Roberts scored 21 points and made five of seven three-pointers to tie a 14-year-old Division III state final record.

Auburn Forest Lake Christian 65, San Luis Obispo Mission Prep 47 -- The Royals became the first team, boys or girls, to lose five state title games, falling in the Division V final for the second consecutive season.

Forest Lake Christian (31-4), which made eight of 24 three-pointers, outscored Mission Prep, 25-11, in the second quarter to take a 14-point halftime lead.

Katherine Suderman, a 6-5 senior center, had 25 points and 13 rebounds to lead Mission Prep (18-9), which is still seeking its first state title.

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