Friday’s rematch of girls basketball teams that met in the Northern California Division V semifinals – Pinewood School and Valley Christian-Dublin – featured virtually the same players as last year, but the score was vastly different.
Pinewood won again, only this time it wasn’t close. The host Panthers prevailed 80-41 over the Vikings, who never led in the non-league contest. Eleven players scored for Pinewood, paced by sophomore Chloe Eackles’ 13 points.
“We shot well tonight,” said coach Doc Scheppler, whose team made only 10 of 47 shots from the field in the 37-30 win at Valley Christian last March. “That’s how we can play. It’s not like we played a terrible team. To beat them by that much shows we’re pretty good.”
Each team entered Friday’s game with just one loss and surely could meet again in the NorCal playoffs. The Panthers, off to an 11-1 start, have set their sights on returning to Sacramento for another shot at the state crown.
“We’ve improved so much from last year,” Pinewood senior Leeana Bade said. “I think we can make it to state this year and hopefully we win this time.”
If the Panthers continue to play like they did Friday, that’s a distinct possibility.
“We’ve been playing a lot like this lately,” said Bade, whose stat line included four points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals. “This is how we should always be playing.”
Pinewood jumped to a 9-0 lead just 2 1/2 minutes into the game. Monique McDevitt started it off by burying a baseline 3 and Eackles dropped in a pair of treys from the top of the key.
By quarter’s end, McDevitt drilled another 3 and Gabi Bade (Leeana’s younger sister) knocked one down as well. Coupled with layins from Kendahl Wallis-Lang and Leeana Bade, the Panthers led 19-12.
Pinewood, which nailed five of its eight shots from 3-point range in the opening quarter, made three more in the second to pull away from Valley Christian (9-2). Eackles, Gabi Bade and freshman Priya Sundaresan connected from 3 on consecutive possessions, part of a 16-0 run featuring points from six players.
Point guard Marissa Hing capped the spurt by scoring three points the hard way – making a layin after getting knocked to the floor, then hitting the free throw. This put Pinewood ahead 36-14 with 3:07 remaining in the half.
“By and large, we got shots, got to the rim and finished plays,” Scheppler said. “That’s a classic Pinewood game.”
The Panthers closed the half with a layin by freshman Akayla Hackson just before the buzzer. Hing set it up by driving the lane, attracting the defense’s attention, before dishing the ball to Hackson under the hoop.
Hing totaled six assists, 12 points and four rebounds.
“Marissa was awesome,” Scheppler said.
Ahead 42-21 at intermission, Pinewood pushed its advantage to 27 points by the end of the third quarter on Hing’s right-side trey with two ticks left.
The Panthers turned to their bench for much of the fourth, playing four freshmen at times. All of them scored in the quarter and Sundaresan finished the game with 11 points.
“I think I was most pleased by our group in the fourth quarter,” Scheppler said. “They didn’t let down – they got shots and defensively did a great job against their starters that were still in the game. Our freshmen came in and did a great job.”
Pinewood is scheduled to host International 6:30 p.m. today – its final tune-up before starting West Bay Athletic League play.
2013 girls basketball: Pinewood School vs. Valley Christian - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier