The Scotts Valley High School girls varsity basketball team advanced to the semifinals with a hard-fought second round game in the NorCal Division IV basketball tournament on Saturday night.
The 58-48 win over visiting Cardinal Newman allowed the No. 2 seeded Falcons to play at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 18 at Scotts Valley High School. The Falcons will host Justin-Siena High School from Napa which defeated West Campus High School 51-35 on Saturday.
Against Cardinal Newman, the Falcons employed their vaunted full court press for nearly the entire night, forcing 36 turnovers, including grabbing 30 steals. However, the fouls piled up against the Falcons, which allowed Cardinal Newman to stay close.
“We didn’t play our best game,” said Scotts Valley Head Coach Jim Hart. “But our girls really played their tails off. Their effort alone won that game.”
The score was 21-18 at half — the Falcons jumped out to a 15-8 first quarter lead, but Cardinal Newman’s defense clamped down, not allowing the Falcons to get shots off close to the basket in the second quarter as they narrowed the score.
The Falcons continually had their shots blocked in the first half by a Cardinal Newman front line that boasted three players 6-feet or taller. On defense, the Falcons forced turnovers, but were also called for fouls.
“The intensity was there, almost too much at times,” said senior Nadene Hart.
Hart, one of the Falcons leading scorers during the regular season, scored 7 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and 7 steals. However, it was the Silver sisters who carried the load offensively for the Falcons.
Junior Mandy Silver scored 15 points on a combination of tough layups and free throws, while senior Angela Silver, who also scored 15, picked up her scoring in the third quarter and early fourth quarter – including several short jumpers in the third and a three pointer and three-point play in the fourth. She fouled out with 5:59 remaining and the Falcons up 46-33.
“She is a senior and she didn’t this to be her last game,” Hart said. She came out (after halftime) and was making better decisions. She really carried us in that third quarter.”
Angela Silver was proud of her team for pulling away in a close game.
“In the first half we were letting them play with us,” she said. “During the third and fourth quarters we were able to play our game.”
The Falcons took the lead midway through the first quarter and never trailed, although Cardinal Newman went 21-for-31 from the free throw stripe to keep them in the game, including multiple trips to the line down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
Cardinal Newman head coach Monica Mertle was proud of her team, which had two seniors.
“We had to make free throws and layups because we knew there were going to be a lot of fouls,” she said. “It was just a matter of Scotts Valley played hard, and we had opportunities to convert, and we weren’t able to consistently.”
Mertle said the school has only had girls basketball for three seasons, so winning their league tournament, and then a section championship and a NorCal game were all firsts for the program.