In an MLK Classic tradition the two teams take a group photo after their game with their commemorative T-Shirts. In this photo the Bishop O'Dowd and Sacramento girls pose
Harold Abend/Prep2Prep

MLK Classic: Host O’Dowd wins battle of Dragons

January 19, 2020

OAKLAND, CA – Host Bishop O’Dowd bolted out to a 14-2 lead and never looked back as the Dragons defeated the Sacramento Dragons 69-55 in the Third Annual MLK Classic at the school in the Oakland Hills.

As a team O’Dowd (10-4) looked solid but the play of the standout duo of sophomore Amaya Bonner and junior Kennedy Johnson is what makes things tick for O’Dowd on both ends of the court.

Bonner, a long and smooth 6-0 wing that already has Pac-12 offers plus others as well, had 24 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. Johnson, a 6-0 forward that is comfortable inside or out, had a double-double 21 points and 11 rebounds with two blocks. Both Bonner and Kennedy connected once from outside the arc.

No other O’Dowd player was in double-figure scoring but senior Skylar McGlockton was a glass cleaner as usual and finished with 15 rebounds to go with six points, three assists and two blocks.

Sacramento (9-9) was held in the game by the game-high 26 points (two three-pointers) and team-high nine rebounds of junior guard Heaven Samayoa-Mathis.

Two other Sacramento players hit double-figure scoring. Senior Uriah Derlantiss had 11 points and senior Bella Rainwater added 10 points and three steals.

After trailing early by 12 Sacramento cut if to 17-12 after one quarter but O’Dowd got it to 31-23 at the half and stretched it to 56-39 in the early third quarter. From there Sacramento never got closer than 12 points.

Several college coaches, including some from high D1 programs, liked what they saw from Bonner.

“It’s definitely a lot of pressure but my teammates help me with that,” said Bonner when asked if all the attention from colleges was a distraction so early in her high school career.

Asked where she feels she has improved the most and what she thinks she needs to improve on Bonner had this to say.

“My defense, last year I wasn’t very good on defense,” Bonner replied and continued. “I’m working on my shooting because people know me as a slasher and I want to have multiple facets to my game, but my best asset is still my slashing.”

The show for Prep2Prep North Coast Section No. 2 O’Dowd and Bonner continues on Monday when the Dragons face Heritage on MLK Day in the Classic.

Miramonte escapes upset by Fighting Irish at the buzzer

Idaho-bound senior Jordan Allred hauled in a long pass over the top of the defense by fellow senior Rebecca Welsh and scored a layup at the buzzer as Prep2Prep NCS No. 5 Miramonte-Orinda escaped with a 57-56 victory over P2P CCS No. 12 Sacred Heart-Cathedral.

The score was tied 54-54 with 1:40 left but after Welsh made one of two free-throws the Fighting Irish worked the clock all the way down until junior Dylan Benitez got loose under the basket for a lay-up with around six seconds left. As Welsh inbounded the ball Allred sprinted back and Welsh delivered a perfect pass. The only question with the clock running in high after a made basket was would she get there in time, and she did, barely.

“Never a doubt,” Miramonte Coach Kelly Sopak said with a wry smile.

The finish wasn’t the only thing strange in the game.

Miramonte (15-3) led 24-12 near the end of the first quarter but Sacred Heart Cathedral went on a remarkable 32-8 run that had them up 44-32 late in the third quarter, and they took a 47-43 lead into the final period. From there the Fighting Irish led 54-48 with around three minutes left before Allred took over with eight of the Mats last nine points. A basket made it 54-50, and a basket off a steal got it to 54-52. Her basket was the one that tied it at 54-54 before all the last second heroics.

Prior to the late scoring burst Allred only had a first quarter basket so she finished with 10 points, plus seven rebounds and three steals.

A player that doesn’t get a lot of limelight other than the fact that she’s the coach’s daughter is senior sharpshooter Leah Sopak, but she was a key to the game. During the big run by Sacred Heart Cathedral she had all eight of the Mats points. Sopak finished with a team-high 18 points (four three-pointers) plus four steals.

“Leah deserves a lot of credit. She held us in there,” Coach Sopak remarked.

Welsh added 10 points but another girl that was a big factor was junior sensation Mia Mastrov. She didn’t have a good game in a loss on Friday to Colorado Regis Jesuit at the St. Mary’s MLK Showcase in Stockton, and in her second game back from a viral infection she looked sluggish in the first half, but down the stretch Mastrov looked like her old self. She hit two key three-pointers after the Mats fell behind by 12 points, and got busy on the glass as well to finish with nine points, all in the second half, plus a team-high eight rebounds.

Sacred Heart Cathedral (4-11) got a monster performance from Da’Myia Lewis. The senior wing went for 29 points but the Mats held her to only two points in the fourth quarter. Despite being only 5-8 Lewis was relentless on the boards and double-double after grabbing 15 rebounds, plus she had three steal and two assists. Nya Epps added 11 points.

Miramonte is done with MLK action and is idle until a trip next Friday and Saturday to the Portland, Oregon area for games with Washington Vancouver-Prairie and Oregon Oregon City as they continue a season as an independent.

Sacred Heart Cathedral is back at O’Dowd on Monday for an MLK Classic match-up with Edison-Stockton.

State’s top inside-outside combination at La Jolla Country Day too much for Salesian

La Jolla Country Day showed why some rankings have them as the No. 1 team in both the state and nation in a dominating 71-51 victory over Prep2Prep NCS No. 4 Salesian.

Despite playing the whole game with foul trouble, and fouling out with Country Day leading 62-43 midway through the fourth quarter, Oregon-bound Te-hina Paopao showed why many consider her the top player in the state and one of the best in the nation. The 5-10 senior finished with very solid double-double 22 points (two three-pointers) and 11 rebounds with five assists and five steals.

With Paopao the outside force that can also go inside, the paint was controlled by a girl many consider the best freshman in the state, Breya Cunningham. The 6-3 post had 21 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, and she played the game in foul trouble as well, including the entire fourth quarter with four fouls.

With only having eight players after Alana Fesili going out for concussion protocol, Torreys Coach Terri Bamford had no choice but to play both Paopao and Cunningham despite the fouls, but it really didn’t matter because junior point guard Jazzy Anousinh took over when needed. She finished with 11 points (7-of-7 on free-throws) and four assists.

La Jolla Country (20-1) went out to a 9-0 lead and led 21-11 after one quarter and 26-12 in the early second quarter but from there Salesian could get no closer than 12 points, and the biggest lead was 24 points.

Salesian (13-3) got 11 points from Fresno State-bound senior Daylee Dunn and 10 points from junior Amira Brown.

“We didn’t play that well but they’re good,” Salesian Coach Stephen Pezzola remarked.

For Paopao this is another chapter in her road to proving she is the best since she was not rated as high as some other players partly because this is the first year she has started the season at full strength. She missed all but four games her freshman season with a knee injury. She missed her entire sophomore season and last year she was not at full strength and missed eight games, but still averaged 17.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.4 steals a game.

When asked what it feels like to finally start a season with no questions about her health Paopao had this response.

“It feels great and it’s a blessing to be back on the court at full strength with this special team and we’ll try to keep it rolling.”

Things will roll again for Country Day on Monday at O’Dowd in an MLK Classic match-up with P2P NCS No. 1 St. Joseph Notre Dame.

Salesian is also in action on Monday at the MLK Classic when the Pride faces Bear Creek-Stockton.

Carondelet wins on buzzer beater

Jayme Blackard scored at the buzzer to give Carondelet-Concord (8-8) a 44-42 victory over Mark Keppel-Alhambra in overtime.

Blackard scored 20 points and hauled down 14 rebounds for the Cougars. She was matched by Keppel’s Patricia Chung, also a senior point guard, who also had 20 points along with 11 rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Keppel (14-6) led by two after one and 25-17 at the half, then saw the lead shrink back to two after three.

Blackard and Chung each had clutch baskets down the stretches. Blackard gave the Cougars a four-point advantage on a steal and fast break layup with 1:35 left; Chung converted a layup in traffic with just a couple of seconds to go to force overtime, tied at 40.

In the extra period, Blackard scored early, and Chung had another fast break layup with 26 seconds remaining. On the final possession with six seconds showing, Blackard passed to a teammate on the wing who returned the favor. Blackard then drove the lane, split two defenders, and was bumped as she kissed it off the glass as time expired.

Both teams participated in the Bishop O’Dowd MLK Showcase for the first time.

“MLK fought for equality and freedom and I feel like that’s something today’s world is really struggling with, so I’m glad we had this tournament, to bring awareness,” Blackard commented.

Prep2Prep NCS No. 22 Carondelet faces P2P CCS No. 1 and state ranked Archbishop Mitty on MLK Day in San Jose.

Prep2Prep Adult Contributor Scott Giorgianni wrote this game story

Woodside Priory-Portola Valley 70 El Cerrito 31

Prep2Prep CCS No. 11 Woodside Priory led 24-8 after one quarter and the rout was on.

Woodside Priory (9-5) got 16 points from sophomore Sunishka Kartik, 14 points from junior Aniyah Augmon and 10 points from junior Bineta Diatte.

El Cerrito (3-15) got nine points on three three-pointers from Tenzin Yangzom.

Oakland Tech 63 Bear Creek-Stockton 28

Oakland Tech improved to 11-7 with an easy win over a Bear Creek that falls to `10-7 on the season.

Of note: part of the MLK Classic festivities at O’Dowd involve a player from each team reading a poem or something relative to Dr. Martin Luther King and in the case of Country Day and Salesian the two girls, sophomores Destiny Villareal of Country Day and Silvia Fonongaloa of Salesian, sang for their parts and both brought down the house.

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