Sacred Heart Cathedral kept it close, but Mitty too strong in the 4th to win 82-63
Story by George Pahulu, SportStars INSIDER. Photos: Matthew Aguirre
Archbishop Mitty Lady Monarchs of San Jose are led by All-American #30 Haley Jones, a junior, and are the current #1 team in the Nation for high school women’s basketball according to MaxPreps. Another standout for the Lady Monarchs is #21 Nicole Blakes, a senior and at 6’2”, she can run the floor and defend the paint.
The Sacred Heart Cathedral Lady Fighting Irish (San Francisco) have struggled as they come into this game with a 9-11 record but are 5-2 in WCAL play. The “Irish” are led by their seniors: #21 Gianna Silvestri and #30 Yaniah Flemin.
To start the game, SHC is starting fast by taking it to the hoop but fail to get back on defense as #21 Blakes for Mitty is getting easy fastbreak points in transition. In the middle of the first period, Mitty comes with a full court press. It is 15-14 SHC at the end of the 1st period and the Lady Fighting Irish are playing aggressive basketball.
In the 2nd period, SHC continues to keep the game close. The Lady Monarchs are getting too many offensive rebounds as the Fightin’ Irish are not boxing out. 6th woman for the Irish #0 Milan Tuttle, is out there playing her game by getting the offensive boards and giving her team extra possessions – and also showing no fear with her handles running the point. I definitely like her game.
At the half, Mitty is up by 1 point 32-31. I’m very impressed the way Sacred Heart Cathedral is playing against the #1 team in the country. The Fighting Irish are playing great defense against All-American #30 Haley Jones who only has 4 points so far at the half.
In the 3rd period, Blakes is eating as she is making SHC pay defensively– having her way with them. Blakes is also playing great defensively with multiple steals and protecting the paint– blocking the Fighting Irish guards shots when they are penetrating to the basket. At the end of the third period, Mitty is up 53-45.
In the 4th period, Mitty is too strong as they’re putting this game out of reach.
#33 Talo Li-Uperesa for SHC, a junior, is very aggressive and hustling on both ends of the court. #30 Jones puts on a show in the fourth getting her points and hittin’ her free throws. The Monarchs win 82-63 as Jones finishes with 24 points. The leading score for the Fighting Irish is #33 Talo Li-Uperesa who finishes with 15. Sacred Heart Cathedral should be proud of themselves, led by their Head Coach LyRyan Russell, as this game will definitely improve the team’s forthcoming in CCS playoffs and possible NorCal Regionals. I’m excited to see how far they can go.
I had the opportunity to interview All American Haley Jones after the game and asked her about last year’s state championship heartbreaking loss against Clovis West. Her response was “Last year we were focused on the end result. This year we’re more focused on the process.” I asked Haley about her pregame routine. She replied “I put on the same clothes, doe the same stretches, by doing the same routine before every game and for my team we have a pregame ritual in which we listen to five slow jam songs in that specific order before every game.” About the slow jams she listens to? “Can’t share that, she says!” Lol. Spoken like a true All American as she is definitely a team-first player.
Look forward to see how Mitty will do towards their run at State as they most definitely will be in the Open Division. I wish both teams nothing but the best for their upcoming season as the playoffs are approaching.
Til next time. Ofa Atu – George