SACRAMENTO — With 12 buses having delivered 650 students after leaving at midnight from Mission Hills, the Alemany High girls' basketball team wasn't about to let down its loyal fans during Friday's CIF state championship Division III final.
Senior Leslie Lopez-Wood stepped forward to make four three-pointers in a tough arena setting and finished with 16 points to spark Alemany (32-5) to a 46-40 victory over San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral at Sleep Train Arena. It was the first state title for the girls' program after the boys' team won last season.
"Leslie, at any given time, can get on a roll like that," Coach Bryan Camacho said. Known as the "Warzone," the student section had plenty to celebrate.
"We came in and just owned Sleep Train Arena," Principal Frank Ferry said.
Hannah Johnson had 14 points and 11 rebounds to support Lopez-Wood, who hung tough despite shooters struggling all day in the arena setting.
Jada Matthews scored 14 points and Arica Carter had 11 points as Long Beach Poly (30-5) won the program's fifth Division I title with a 46-28 victory over Berkeley.
The 28 points for Berkeley set a record for fewest points scored in a Division I girls' final.
"I guess we did a pretty good job," Poly Coach Carl Buggs joked. "But that's our style."
The teams have combined for 18 state title-game appearances and seven titles, but neither team was expected to play in the game this season. Long Beach Poly was the No. 9 seed in the Southern Regionals and Berkeley was the No. 12 seed in Northern California.
"I feel great," Poly's Kansas-bound Keyla Morgan said. "I'm glad me and my team did it. I'm happy. I'm speechless."
Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (24-9) put together an 18-5 surge in the third quarter to expand a one-point halftime lead into a 14-point margin en route to its first state championship with a 47-33 victory over Los Altos Hills Pinewood.
Sophomore Kennedy Burke scored 14 points, had 16 rebounds and four assists. Gabi Nevill made three three-pointers and finished with nine points. Sophomore Cheyanne Wallace contributed 11 rebounds.
"It feels fantastic," said first-year Coach Alicia Komaki, a former Mater Dei assistant.
Komaki was able to get a team with four non-senior starters to get rid of its nervousness in the second half.
"We get nervous in the big games, so I kind of had to keep preaching, 'Hey, let's get through it,'" she said.
As for Burke, Komaki said, "I think everybody saw how good a player she is. I don't even think she's one of the best sophomores in the country. I think she's one of the best players in the country."