Making deep runs in the postseason is getting to be a regular occurrence for the Oakland Tech girls basketball team.
The Bulldogs went on the road Tuesday and beat No. 1 seed Lincoln of Lincoln 51-46 to capture the CIF Northern California Division III championship.
They advance to play a 31-2 La Salle of Pasadena team on Friday at 2 pm for the state D-III title at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
Tech was the state Division IV champion in 2019 and NorCal Division II champion in 2020, before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic halted the state tournament.
Against Lincoln, Oakland Tech (20-11) grabbed an early lead as Erin Sellers, who scored 16 of her team-high 22 points in the first half, knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers. Tech was up 16-9 at the end of the first quarter and 30-19 at halftime.
But shots that went down in the first half started missing the mark, and Lincoln, with the home crowd providing encouragement, came back to take a 39-37 lead late in the third quarter.
“We missed a lot of shots we’ve been making,” Oakland Tech coach Leroy Hurt said. “Our defense saved us.”
Trailing 43-40 two minutes into the fourth quarter, Tech responded. A Sellers free throw, which broke a streak of six consecutive Oakland Tech missed shots from the line, started a 7-0 run that turned the game around.
A three-point play by Taliyah Logwood put the visitors back on top. Another free throw by Sellers and a putback by Sophia Askew-Goncalves, who finished with 14 rebounds, gave the Bulldogs a 47-43 lead.
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After a Lincoln basket made it 47-45, a jumper by Nia Hunter gave the Bulldogs a four-point lead and they made it stand up.
Oakland Tech’s ball-hawking defense (16 steals) was a huge factor.
“Our pressure was fantastic,” Hurt said. “I’ve got six guards who are interchangeable. We can wear teams down. “
Division V boys
Stuart Hall hit its free throws down the stretch and pulled away to beat Priory 44-37 at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco.
“We were just off,” Priory coach David Moseley said. “We had three of our five starters miss practice due to food poisoning. I don’t like to make excuses, but we just didn’t have our energy. “
After a first half that ended with Stuart Hall up 14-13, the scoring picked up a bit in the second half. Hall opened a nine-point lead in the third quarter and was never seriously threatened as it went 9 of 10 at the foul line while Priory (19-12) was going 6 of 16.
“Hit a couple of those and they wouldn’t have had that cushion,” said Moseley, the former Stanford forward. “This season was really special. We went into a hostile environment at Cloverdale, the No. 1 seed, and got a win. Then we had to play Stuart Hall at Kezar. Their rooting section behind the basket affected us at the free throw line. It takes some getting used to. “
Tayo Sobomehin led Priory (19-12) with 13 points. Rostand Olama Abanda scored seven and Steve Emeneke had six points and seven rebounds. All three return next season.
Emeneke, a 6-9 sophomore from Cameroon, was in his first year playing basketball.
“He got roughed up a little tonight, but what is this kid going to be after he puts on 20 pounds of muscle?” Moseley said. “He’s going to be a force.”
Brandon Lum scored 21 points to lead Stuart Hall (21-12), which will play Chaffey of Ontario on Friday at noon for the state Division V championship.
“Hopefully that will be us next year,” Moseley said.