The St. John's and St. Edward Eighth Grade teams.
BILL FORD/SPECIAL TO THE CATHOLIC VOICE
Tight play in basketball playoffs
The 2016 Girls' CYO Basketball Playoffs ended with exciting final games, all to which were decided with tight play in the fourth quarter of each.
The Sixth, Seventh and Eighth grades crowned repeat champions while the Fourth and Fifth grades saw new winners emerge after close one-point and two-point finals in those grades.
In the Eighth Grade CYO championship game, last year's Seventh Grade winner, St. John, San Lorenzo, faced a surprise final-entry team from St. Edward, Newark.
St. Edward entered diocesan playoffs as the second place team from their SAC League and then, behind skilled 3-point shooting, defeated in close games, favorite teams St. Joachim, Hayward, 55-50, and St. Leo the Great, Oakland, 56-52, to earn a berth in the finals.
In the final game before a packed gym, St. John led comfortably at the end of three quarters, 33-23. But the St. Edward's team starting shooting from the perimeter with Naomi Noguera shooting two 3-pointers and then two quick 3-pointers by Alexandra Sugatan brought her team within a point of St. John's, 37-36, with three minutes to play.
The St. John's defense and Alizzie Hargraves then took over for St. John. Alizzie scored 9 points in the 4th quarter, ensuring the St. John team's championship, 51-39, their third in the last three years. Alizzie led St. John's with 19 points and Naomi led St. Edward with 18.
In the Seventh Grade final, two teams played from the Metro CYO League with All Saints, Hayward, winning their repeat championship over Assumption, San Leandro, in another close game, 45-40. Kennedy Johnson scored 19 points for the "Saints," and Mykala Pakeman from Assumption scored 14.
In a fast-paced game with play spread around the court, St. Martin de Porres, Oakland, won over St. Clement, Hayward, 40-30, to also win back-to-back championships. The game was tied 22-22 at the end of the third quarter when Jala Williams scored 10 points in the 4th quarter to lead St Martin to the win. Jala was the high scorer with 15 points and Desire Gonzalez led St. Clement with 14.
Holy Spirit won the Fifth Grade championship 27-25 over St. John, San Lorenzo. Pavneet Dhillon scored 16 points, 12 in the 4th quarter, to lead Holy Spirit. Perseas Gionkaris and Dyanna Goldenberg each scored 7 points for St. John. In a one-point game for the Fourth grade championship, St Clement won over All Saints 21-20. Monique Villanueva scored 8 points for St. Clement while Melissa Maravilla was high point for All Saints with 10.
A recap of the results of all the championship games at Moreau Catholic High School were:
Eighth Grade: St. John, San Lorenzo, over St Edward, Newark, 51-39
Seventh Grade: All Saints, Hayward, over Assumption, San Leandro, 45-40
Sixth Grade: St. Martin de Porres, Oakland, over St. Clement, Hayward, 40-30
Fifth Grade: Holy Spirit, Fremont, over St John, San Lorenzo, 27-25
Fourth Grade: St. Clement, Hayward, over All Saints, Hayward, 21-20
Other parishes and Catholic schools in the playoffs included: St. Theresa (Oakland), Our Lady of Grace (Castro Valley), St. John (El Cerrito), St. Lawrence O'Toole (Oakland), St. Joseph (Pinole), St. Joseph (Fremont), St. Felicitas (San Leandro), St. David (Richmond), St. Leo the Great (Oakland), St. Patrick (Rodeo), School of the Madeleine (Berkeley), St. Anne (Union City), Corpus Christi (Piedmont), St. Joseph (Alameda), St. Jerome (El Cerrito), and St. Joachim (Hayward).
The annual May weekend event, sponsored by the Oakland Diocese CYO Office, concluded the basketball season for girls, with games played in gyms at Moreau Catholic High School (Hayward), St. Joachim, (Hayward), St. Leo the Great (Oakland), and All Saints (Hayward).
Forty teams participated in the playoffs representing their individual leagues. CYO girls' basketball teams who played in the eastern half of the diocese finished their season in March. More than 300 teams competed in girls' CYO basketball for the season that began in February.
For complete playoff results and for more information on CYO basketball, visit the CYO website, www.oaklandcyo.org.
(Bill Ford is the director of the Catholic Youth Organization in the Diocese of Oakland.)
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