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placeholder June 26, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA

Eighth Grade team photo: Champions All Saints and Runner up Assumption.

Seventh Grade team photo: Champions St. Martin de Porres and Runner up Assumption.

39 teams join in Girls' CYO Basketball Playoffs

The 2017 Girls' CYO Basketball Playoffs ended in May with final games at Moreau Catholic High School, Hayward. Ten points or fewer decided four of the five final games!

The exciting final round crowned "three-peat" champions in the Seventh and Eighth grades, a second-time Sixth Grade champion, and two new champions in the Fourth and Fifth grades.

In the Eighth Grade championship game, All Saints, Hayward, faced-off against their Metro League rival, Assumption, San Leandro. This game saw multiple lead changes with balanced scoring among the players on both teams.

Assumption led by 2 at the half-time break, but in the second half, All Saints began to pull away, leading 36-33 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Diamond Carter and Kennedy Johnson each scored 4 points in the 4th quarter to lead All Saints to the championship, 48-40. Kennedy Johnson scored 19 points to lead All Saints while the high scorer for Assumption was Mykala Pakeman with 11.

With the victory, the "Saints" team won back-to-back-to-back diocesan championships. Both teams played a fast-paced championship game with skilled ball handling and great shooting.

In the Seventh Grade final, the "Bulldogs" from St. Martin de Porres, Oakland, also captured a third consecutive championship. The "Bulldogs" beat Assumption, winning in another fast-paced, high scoring final, 57-50. Assumption led at the end of the third quarter but St. Martin, with a balanced, fast break attack, outscored Assumption in the 4th quarter, 16-7, to win the game. Jala Williams was the high-scorer for St. Martin with 10 points, while Nicolette Mailangi from Assumption was the game's high scorer with 18 points.

In the Sixth Grade championship, a dominant St. Leo the Great "Lions," Oakland, team won the championship over the St. Felicitas "Falcons," San Leandro, 47-17. Two years ago, the "Lions" were the champions in the Fourth Grade and, in the Fifth Grade playoffs last year, just missed advancing to the finals, losing by 2 points in the semi-finals. High scorer for the "Lions" was Jada Johnson with 14 points while Natalia Martinez scored 8 for the "Falcons."

For the first time in many years, a girls' basketball team from St. Bede CYO, Hayward, advanced to a championship, playing in the Fifth grade championship game against All Saints. Both teams were greeted by cheering supporters, packing the gym for a spirited Hayward rivalry. All Saints won the contest and the championship in a close and well played game, 27-17. Alicia Marques from All Saints scored 9 points with Marianne Phillips from St. Bede scoring 5.

In the Fourth Grade championship, St. Felicitas won over St. Leo the Great, 20-10. Ariana Hallstrom and Chisimdi Chukwu scored 7 each for St. Felicitas while Makaila Jackson and Aaryn Alston from St. Leo each scored 4 points.

Results of the championship games:

8th grade, All Saints, Hayward, over Assumption, San Leandro, 48-40.

7th grade, St. Martin de Porres, Oakland, over Assumption, San Leandro, 57-50.

6th grade, St. Leo the Great, Oakland, over St. Felicitas, San Leandro, 47-17.

5th grade, All Saints, Hayward, over St. Bede, Hayward 27-17.

4th grade, St. Felicitas, San Leandro, over St. Leo the Great, Oakland 20-10.

Other parishes and Catholic schools in the playoffs included: St. Cornelius, Richmond; Holy Spirit, Fremont; Corpus Christi, Piedmont; St. Joseph, Fremont; St. Joseph, Alameda; St. Patrick, Rodeo; St. John the Baptist, San Lorenzo; St. John the Baptist, El Cerrito; St. Clement, Hayward; St. David, Richmond; St. Joseph, Pinole; St. Theresa, Oakland; St. Lawrence O'Toole, Oakland; St. Anne, Union City.

The playoffs featured skilled and excited girls' basketball teams playing in front of cheering families. There were a few bittersweet moments, however, as two teams participated from among the five schools scheduled to close at the end of the school year. Both teams, St. Martin de Porres and St. Lawrence O'Toole, were successful in playoffs with St. Martin winning the Seventh Grade championship and the St. Lawrence O'Toole "Tigers" Fifth Grade team advancing to the semi-finals and then losing in a close game.

More importantly, both teams well-represented their CYO sports programs that hosted many young players over many years, learning to play sports with guidance from dedicated mentor-coaches and with support from their families, enabling a positive youth sports experience, win or lose.

These two schools with the other three closing schools, St. Jarlath, St. Jerome and Our Lady of the Rosary, each represented a rich Catholic school tradition in CYO. They will all be missed, but the memories will remain.

The annual May weekend event, sponsored by the Diocese of Oakland 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.

Thirty-nine 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 250 teams competed in girls' CYO basketball in 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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