The Score: Notre Dame Tigers 33, Scotts Valley Falcons 29.
The Star: Notre Dame High’s imposing defense was the biggest factor in the Central Coast Section Division IV title game at Santa Clara University on Friday afternoon. Sparked by the ball-hawking play of Janet Brazil and Gianna Bertana on the perimeter, the second-seeded Tigers forced 22 turnovers in the first half alone (and 35 overall) and held No. 1 seed Scotts Valley to 26.7 percent shooting en route to the program’s first section title since 1999.
The Turning Point: The final minute. Scotts Valley (22-6) went ahead 29-28 – its first lead since the opening quarter – when Liz Munger hit a layup with exactly a minute left. But then Notre Dame (14-14) answered right back when Amanda Dames found Katie Flaherty for a 3-pointer from the left wing with 39 seconds remaining. Scotts Valley missed two layups in the final nine seconds. Notre Dame's Emily Morris was fouled after grabbing the defensive rebound on the second miss and went to the line for a 1-and-1 situation with 2.7 seconds left. The star post hit two free throws to secure the championship.
The Quote: “After all we’ve been through, we just really deserved to be here and win it. It’s sweeter because of everything. Everything we’ve put into this moment, it’s all worth it.” – Tigers senior forward Katie Flaherty, on the satisfaction her veteran-laden team takes in its section title after absorbing its lumps in the brutal West Catholic Athletic League in recent years.
The Quote #2: “We just don’t have that many of them, in any sport. It’s really special.” – Notre Dame senior guard Janet Brazil, on the significance of claiming a CCS championship.
What’s Next? The Tigers await their placement in the California Interscholastic Federation Northern California playoffs.
The Bottom Line: Notre Dame won a CCS championship for the third time in program history. The Tigers hadn’t advanced to a section final since their 1999 title run, and they made the most of their opportunity once they got there. … The stars aligned this season – Notre Dame boasts an experienced unit and also avoided its traditional placement in the WCAL powerhouse-heavy Division III bracket. … The Tigers (23.4 percent) shot even worse than Scotts Valley. But Notre Dame’s ball-pressure defense held the Falcons to an especially meager offensive night. Scotts Valley finished tied for the fewest points in a CCS final in any division since 2005. … Morris (15 points, eight rebounds) was the biggest difference-maker, as usual. The U.C. San Diego-bound senior was the only player on either team to score in double figures. She led Notre Dame in scoring all three of its CCS games. … Scotts Valley started three freshmen – including impressive post Nadene Hart (eight points, 12 rebounds). … Notre Dame, No. 7 in , kept Falcon leading scorers Natalia Ebrahimian and Munger scoreless in the first half. Scotts Valley didn’t manage a single double-digit scoring quarter. … Tigers coach Josh Davenport on his team’s defense: “We made them work probably harder than they’ve worked all season.” … Notre Dame’s defensive gem came on the heels of similar performances and . … Neither finalist looked ready for the big stage in a sloppy start. Notre Dame committed 12 turnovers in the first half and totaled 23. … Flaherty (six points on 2-of-14 shooting) shook off a sub-par offensive showing by delivering in the clutch. She drained a 3-pointer from the right baseline with 3:10 left for her first basket and followed with the eventual game-winner.
Notre Dame 33, Scotts Valley 29
ND – 7 11 2 13 – 33
SV – 6 6 8 9 – 29
ND: Brazil 2 1-2 6, Dames 1 1-2 3, Flaherty 2 0-0 6, Morris 5 5-6 15, White 1 0-0 3. Totals: 11 7-10 33.
SV: Silver 0 0-2 0, McBride 1 2-2 5, Munger 3 1-2 8, Ebrahimian 3 0-2 6, Hart 4 0-0 8, Guidice-Murphy 1 0-0 2, Whitney 0 0-1 0. Totals: 12 3-9 29.
3-point goals: ND: Flaherty 2, Brazil, White. SV: McBride, Munger.
Records: Notre Dame 14-14. Scotts Valley 22-6.