PaliHi Girls Beat Santa Monica, Advance to State Basketball Finals in Sacramento
In a packed gym at Palisades High on Tuesday night, the Pali girls basketball team defeated Santa Monica, 51-36, to reach the state championship game.
The Dolphins will travel to Sacramento to face Oakland Tech this Saturday, March 14, seeking the school’s first state title in basketball.
“It was a close game [in the third quarter], until we hit a couple of baskets and pulled away,” said Pali Head Coach Adam Levine, who acknowledged the fierce rivalry with Santa Monica. “We know everything about each other. Some of our girls play on the same clubs.
“We adjusted for it,” he said, praising his girls.
Whether it was nerves or just getting into a routine, the Dolphins fell behind 8-4, but managed to go ahead 10-8 at the end of the first quarter and 22-18 at halftime.
Pali came out after the break and took control, leading by as much as 10 points in the third, until Santa Monica cut the lead to 31-27 at the end of the quarter. The Dolphins then pulled away and won easily, leaving no doubt that they were the best team in the CIF Southern California Division II Regionals.
Sammy Arnold led Pali with 12 points, Ivy Scott and Alexis Pettis scored 10 each and Demoni Lagway added 9. The Dolphins are a young team with only one senior on the team, Captain Jane Nwaba, who had six points and numerous rebounds.
Pali Hi Boys Basketball Fall in Regional Finals
In a game where everything seemed to go wrong, the Palisades High boys basketball team was defeated by Bakersfield Christian, 57-43, in the CIF Division IV Regional Finals at the PaliHi gym on Tuesday.
Bakersfield will play Brookside Christian (Stockton) in the state championship game on Saturday, which is supposed to be held in Sacramento (barring changes brought about by the coronavirus).
“It was an off night. We missed too many shots,” Pali Head Coach Donzell Hayes said. “We had an ‘off night’ in our last game [beating St. Pius 49-45] but were able to pull it off.” He estimated that his team’s shooting percentage on Tuesday was only about 20 percent.
“Anytime you play in the regional finals, everything is going to be tough,” said Hayes, who praised Bakersfield. “They did a good job.”
Pali trailed 11-8 after the first quarter as its shots bounced off the rim, spun in and out, and hit weird angles. The Eagles widened their lead to 25-18 by halftime.
The Dolphins pulled within four, 32-28, with three minutes left in the third quarter, but that was as close as they could come and they fell steadily behind.
Senior Graham Alphson led the Dolphins with 12, Sheldon Zanders had 10 and Caden Arnold and Dylan Griffin each had 7. Alphson was also the leading rebounder with 12.
In addition, to reaching the Regional finals, Pali won the school’s first City Section championship since 1969.