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Saint Mary’s High hires Chris Toler as girls basketball coach

Saint Mary’s High has hired Chris Toler as its varsity girls basketball coach, athletic director Greg Kelly confirmed Friday.

Toler was an assistant for Panthers boys basketball this past two seasons, a boys head coach at Rodriguez-Fairfield in 2012 and an assistant with the Napa Valley College women’s team in between.

“I got presented with this opportunity, thought about it for a brief moment and kind of jumped at it,” Toler said of taking the Saint Mary’s girls gig. “They have a great program, have a great tradition — hopefully we can continue that and keep it going. I know they’re a talented bunch.”

Saint Mary’s went 18-14 and reached the North Coast Section Division 4 semifinals under interim coach Samuel Sims, whose time as an assistant under previous coach Nate Fripp included all five of the programs’ NCS titles.

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Sabrina Ionescu named MaxPreps’ national girls hoops player of the year

Miramonte High guard Sabrina Ionescu (20) makes a three point basket in the fourth period of their California Interscholastic Federation NorCal Open Division girls basketball championship game against Pinewood High at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., on Saturday, March 19, 2016. Miramonte High went on to win the game 73-40. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

Miramonte High senior Sabrina Ionescu makes a basket in the CIF Open Division NorCal title game at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento on March 19, 2016.  (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

Miramonte senior Sabrina Ionescu was named national girls basketball player of the year by MaxPreps on Monday, the first such honoree from the Bay Area.

The Mats star just keeps racking up awards for her senior season, including MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game for her record 25 points and East Bay Player of the Year for leading Miramonte to the CIF Open Division title game. She was also MVP of the Diablo Foothill Athletic League for the third straight season as the Matadors went 32-1, only falling in the state final.

Ionescu is set to play in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Like in the McDonald’s game, she’ll be the only participant who hasn’t decided on a college destination. Her top three possibilities remain Cal, Oregon and Oregon State, she confirmed to MaxPreps.

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Reaction to NCS Open Division, competitive equity changes

Today the North Coast Section Board of Managers voted in a four-team Open Division football playoff plan, and a competitive equity plan that moves some successful teams up a division in football, basketball, girls volleyball, water polo, baseball, softball and lacrosse. Read about it here.

Coaches are still absorbing what the changes will mean when they go into effect this fall. Here’s an early sampling of reaction from East Bay coaches:

Compiled by Phil Jensen and Daniel Mano

Campolindo football coach Kevin Macy:
(on competitive equity) “The variables that are thrown into this mix … I just want to stick to school size. … Who is the arbiter of competitive equity? I’m not a big believer in this. …. We are just fighting to keep football alive in our town. Our name has become much bigger than our kids.”

Clayton Valley Charter football coach Tim Murphy:
(On the Open Division) “Fired up about it. … I think everything that went down in the meeting is what I agree with. … The only negative thing is that a team that wins a section could be eliminated. … Now you are not allowing people to control their own destiny. That would be my only complaint. Everything else I agree with. Continue Reading

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UPDATED AGAIN: Bill Powers takes over Monte Vista girls basketball after Ron Hirschman retires

The résumés of Monte Vista girls basketball’s recently-retired coach and newly-named coach are remarkably similar. The two men are also well-acquainted.

Both Ron Hirschman and Bill Powers have twice helmed hoops teams to North Coast Section titles, including when both did so in 2009 — the latter with the Mustangs’ boys basketball team.

Hirschman resigned from the girls post after the season and former boys coach Powers was hired Friday to assume the role, Monte Vista athletic director Andy Popper confirmed Monday.

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Miramonte’s Sabrina Ionescu, Kelly Sopak react to St. Mary’s-Stockton upset loss

Sabrina Ionescu held her head in her hands moments after the Miramonte High girls basketball team’s CIF Open Division NorCal semifinal Tuesday night.

That wasn’t because of the Matadors’ (triumphant) result but rather the news that St. Mary’s-Stockton, No. 1 seed in the bracket and ranked No. 1 nationally by MaxPreps, had fallen to No. 4 Pinewood-Los Altos Hills in the other semifinal. (Biggest upset in state history?)

The latter part was announced over the gym’s PA system within a minute of No. 2 seed Miramonte’s 71-64 defeat of No. 6 Salesian. More cheers broke out than when the final buzzer sounded in the Mats seniors’ last contest at their home gym. (Video of that celebration)

“I was very happy, but after I heard that Pinewood beat Stockton, I was five times happier,” Ionescu said. “It’s a miracle.”

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Tuesday’s NorCal basketball semifinal scores

CIF NorCal semifinals are tonight in Open Division through Division V. Check back here for final-score updates:
BOYS
Tuesday’s semifinals
Open Division
No. 1 De La Salle 63, No. 4 Sacramento 56
No. 2 Modesto Christian 61, No. 6 Sheldon-Sacramento 49, OT
DIVISION I
No. 5 Menlo-Atherton 50, No. 1 Bellarmine 46
No. 7 Berkeley 63, No. 3 Monte Vista 52
DIVISION II
No. 1 Serra 78, No. 4 Antelope 70
No. 2 El Cerrito 65, No. 3 Archbishop Mitty 38
DIVISION III
No. 8 Bishop O’Dowd 67, No. 4 Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F. 64, OT
No. 2 Manteca 60, No. 3 Archbishop Riordan-S.F. 54
DIVISION IV
No. 4 West Campus-Sacramento 47, No. 1 Half Moon Bay 39
No. 3 Palma-Salinas 66, No. 2 Central Catholic-Modesto 59
DIVISION V
No. 1 St. Joseph Notre Dame 58, No. 5 Urban-S.F. 41
No. 7 Stuart Hall-S.F. vs. No. 3 University-S.F., at Kezar Stadium, 7 p.m.
DIVISION VI
Championship
No. 7 St. Bernard’s-Eureka 60, No. 4 Stockton Christian 56
Saturday’s championships
Open Division
No. 1 De La Salle vs. No. 2 Modesto Christian, at Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, 8 p.m.
Division I
No. 5 Menlo-Atherton vs. No. 7 Berkeley, at Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, 4 p.m.
Division II
No. 1 Serra vs. No. 2 El Cerrito, at Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, noon
Division III
No. 8 Bishop O’Dowd vs. No. 2 Manteca, at American Canyon HS, 8 p.m.
Division IV
No. 4 West Campus-Sacramento vs. No. 3 Palma-Salinas, at American Canyon HS, 4 p.m.
Division V
No. 1 St. Joseph Notre Dame vs. No. 7 Stuart Hall-S.F., at American Canyon HS, noon
GIRLS
Tuesday’s semifinals
Open Division
No. 4 Pinewood 72, No. 1 St. Mary’s-Stockton 69
No. 2 Miramonte 74, No. 6 Salesian 61
DIVISION I
No. 1 St. Francis-Sacramento 74, No. 4 Menlo-Atherton 51
No. 2 Castro Valley 63, No. 3 Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills 59
DIVISION II
No. 12 Elk Grove 69, No. 1 Vanden 63
No. 7 Sacramento 66, No. 6 Los Gatos 37
DIVISION III
No. 1 Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F. 66, No. 5 Shasta-Redding 41
No. 10 Inderkum-Sacramento 57, No. 3 Campolindo 49
DIVISION IV
No. 1 Cardinal Newman 69, No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton 32
No. 2 Menlo School 48, No. 3 Saint Mary’s-Berkeley 47
DIVISION V
No. 1 Eastside Prep-East Palo Alto 62, No. 4 Urban-S.F. 44
No. 2 St. Joseph Notre Dame 54, No. 3 Woodside Priory 48
DIVISION VI
Championship
No. 1 St. Bernard’s-Eureka 68, No. 2 Loyalton 51
Saturday’s championships
Open Division
No. 4 Pinewood vs. No. 2 Miramonte, at Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, 6 p.m.
Division I
No. 1 St. Francis-Sacramento vs. No. 2 Castro Valley, at Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, 2 p.m.
Division II
No. 12 Elk Grove vs. No. 7 Sacramento, at Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, 10 a.m.
Division III
No. 1 Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F. vs. No. 10 Inderkum-Sacramento, at American Canyon HS, 6 p.m.
Division IV
No. 1 Cardinal Newman vs. No. 2 Menlo School, at American Canyon HS, 2 p.m.
Division V
No. 1 Eastside Prep-East Palo Alto vs. No. 2 St. Joseph Notre Dame, at American Canyon HS, 10 a.m.

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Saturday’s NorCal basketball scores

Quarterfinals tonight for Divisions I through VI. Check back here for final-score updates:
BOYS
DIVISION I
No. 1 Bellarmine-San Jose 72, No. 9 Castro Valley 63
No. 5 Menlo-Atherton 57, No. 4 McClymonds 53
No. 3 Monte Vista 53, No. 6 Oakland Tech 43
No. 7 Berkeley 62, No. 2 Jesuit-Carmichael 59
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 5 Menlo-Atherton at No. 1 Bellarmine, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Berkeley at No. 3 Monte Vista, 7 p.m.
DIVISION II
No. 1 Serra 83, No. 8 Leland 49
No. 4 Antelope, 54, No. 5 Newark Memorial 49
No. 3 Archbishop Mitty 63, No. 6 Whitney-Rocklin 56, OT
No. 2 El Cerrito 51, No. 10 Vanden 48
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 4 Antelope at No. 1 Serra, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Archbishop Mitty at No. 1 El Cerrito, 7 p.m.
DIVISION III
No. 8 Bishop O’Dowd 72, No. 1 Weston Ranch-Stockton 64
No. 4 Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F. 70, No. 5 Miramonte 64
No. 3 Archbishop Riordan-S.F. 62, No. 6 Placer 55
No. 2 Manteca 59, No. 7 Albany 52
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 8 Bishop O’Dowd at No. 4 Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F., 7:30 p.m.
No. 3 Archbishop Riordan-S.F. at No. 2 Manteca, 7 p.m.
DIVISION IV
No. 1 Half Moon Bay 76, No. 9 Liberty Ranch-Galt 52
No. 4 West Campus-Sacramento 52, No. 5 St. Patrick-St. Vincent 51
No. 3 Palma-Salinas 73, No. 6 Mission-S.F. 68
No. 2 Central Catholic-Modesto 84, No. 7 Santa Cruz 63
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 4 West Campus-Sacramento at No. 1 Half Moon Bay, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Palma-Salinas at No. 2 Central Catholic-Modesto, 7 p.m.
DIVISION V
No. 1 St. Joseph Notre Dame 61, No. 8 Woodside Priory 50
No. 5 Urban-S.F. 69, No. 4 Brookside Christian-Stockton 50
No. 3 University-S.F. 59, No. 6 Bradshaw Christian-Sacramento 40
No. 7 Stuart Hall-S.F. 70, No. 2 Mariposa County 65
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 5 Urban-S.F. at No. 1 St. Joseph Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m.
No. 7 Stuart Hall-S.F. vs. No. 3 University-S.F., TBA
DIVISION VI semifinals
No. 4 Stockton Christian 71, No. 1 Emery 62
No. 7 St. Bernard’s-Eureka 55, No. 6 Chester 45
Tuesday’s championship
No. 7 St. Bernard’s-Eureka at No. 4 Stockton Christian, 7 p.m.

GIRLS
DIVISION I
No. 1 St. Francis-Sacramento 81, No. 8 Lincoln-S.F. 36
No. 4 Menlo-Atherton 71, No. 5 Heritage 46
No. 3 Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills 51, No. 11 Dublin 46
No. 2 Castro Valley 65, No. 7 Berkeley 58
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 4 Menlo-Atherton at No. 1 St. Francis-Sacramento, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills at No. 2 Castro Valley, 7 p.m.
DIVISION II
No. 1 Vanden 66, No. 9 St. Ignatius-S.F. 35
No. 12 Elk Grove 56, No. 4 Pleasant Valley-Chico 45
No. 6 Los Gatos 57, No. 3 Antelope 51
No. 7 Sacramento 69, No. 2 St. Francis-Mountain View 46
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 12 Elk Grove at No. 1 Vanden, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Sacramento at No. 6 Los Gatos, 7 p.m.
DIVISION III
No. 1 Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F. 78, No. 8 Christian Brothers 31
No. 5 Shasta-Redding 44, No. 13 Pinole Valley 37
No. 3 Campolindo 75, No. 6 Tamalpais-Mill Valley 51
No. 10 Inderkum-Sacramento 41, No. 2 Valley Christian-San Jose 36
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 5 Shasta-Redding at No. 1 Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F., 6 p.m.
No. 10 Inderkum-Sacramento at No. 3 Campolindo, 7 p.m.
DIVISION IV
No. 1 Cardinal Newman 61, No. 8 Scotts Valley 45
No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton 72, No. 12 Central Valley-Shasta Lake 54
No. 3 Saint Mary’s-Berkeley 61, No. 6 West Campus-Sacramento 54
No. 2 Menlo School 55, No. 7 University Prep-Redding 43
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton at No. 1 Cardinal Newman, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Saint Mary’s-Berkeley at No. 2 Menlo School, 7 p.m.
DIVISION V
No. 1 Eastside Prep-East Palo Alto 65, No. 8 Argonaut-Jackson 31
No. 4 Urban-S.F. 56, No. 5 Capital Christian-Sacramento 45
No. 3 Woodside Priory 58, No. 6 Cloverdale 42
No. 2 St. Joseph Notre Dame 59, No. 7 Mt. Shasta 51
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 4 Urban-S.F. at No. 1 Eastside Prep-East Palo Alto, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Woodside Priory at No. 2 St. Joseph Notre Dame, 6 p.m.
DIVISION VI semifinals
No. 1 St. Bernard’s-Eureka 66, No. 4 Sacramento Waldorf 41
No. 2 Loyalton 74, No. 7 Turlock Christian 30
Tuesday’s championship
No. 2 Loyalton at No. 1 St. Bernard’s-Eureka, 7 p.m.

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NorCal playoff upsets accomplished by Dublin and Pinole Valley girls basketball

“Wonderful” and “amazing” were the words used by the Dublin and Pinole Valley girls basketball coaches, respectively, to describe their teams’ first-round upsets in the CIF NorCal playoffs Wednesday.

NorCals continue Saturday at 6 p.m. for many East Bay girls basketball teams, including the Gaels and the Spartans after becoming what Pinole Valley senior Jessica Rogers called a “Cinderella.”

No. 11-seeded Dublin topped No. 6 Palo Alto 55-49 in Division I and No. 13 Pinole Valley vaulted past No. 4 Rio Linda 52-38 in Division III.

“It was the best game we played all year,” Pinole Valley coach BJ Gaither said. “It was amazing.”

The wins set up second-round games for the Gaels, who visit No. 3 Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills, and the Spartans, who travel to No. 5 Shasta-Redding.

“It was just a wonderful experience,” Dublin coach Hans De Lannoy said. “We made some adjustments that helped us and got us back in the ballgame.”

The Gaels trailed 31-18 at halftime but outscored Palo Alto 27-8 in the third quarter at Gunn High.

“We were doing a lot better defensively (and) we started shooting the ball really well,” De Lannoy said. “It was a team effort — everybody scored in that stretch.”

Senior Alanna Yee hit two of her four 3-pointers in the period en route to a game-high 22 points. Sophomore Lesila Finau and junior Tiaja Andrews added 12 points apiece as the Gaels (19-10) stayed alive a year after reaching the NorCal Finals in Division II.

Senior Arriel Cobb had 15 points and 11 rebounds in Pinole Valley’s victory, which hinged on the Spartans defending the dribble-drive offense used by Rio Linda.

“When it first came out, I ran it,” said Gaither, a longtime area coach, “and I saw how stagnant and how hard it is to run it when you take certain things away. So we took the shooters away, face-guarded them and forced the point guard to beat us.”

It helped that the Spartans committed just four turnovers, he added.

“We just told the girls, ‘Don’t be afraid,'” Gaither said. “‘You’ve played great teams and you’ve had success against them. You’ve just got to string it together.'”

Elsewhere, No. 11 Newark Memorial’s upset attempt fell just short in a 57-56 loss at No. 6 Los Gatos in Division II and No. 11 Piedmont was edged 57-55 in overtime by No. 6 West Campus-Sacramento in Division IV.

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Friday’s CIF NorCal Open Division basketball scores

Here are tonight’s CIF Open Division first-round games. Check back here for scoring updates:

BOYS OPEN DIVISION
No. 1 De La Salle 51, No. 8 Salesian 45, OT, final
No. 4 Sacramento 86, No. 5 Folsom 77, OT, final
No. 6 Sheldon-Sacramento 88, No. 3 Moreau Catholic 85, final
No. 2 Modesto Christian 54, No. 7 St. Francis-Mountain View 51, final
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 4 Sacramento at No. 1 De La Salle, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Sheldon-Sacramento vs. No. 2 Modesto Christian, at Modesto Junior College, 7 p.m.

GIRLS OPEN DIVISION
No. 1 St. Mary’s-Stockton 90, No. 8 Carondelet 65, final
No. 4 Pinewood 50, No. 5 Bishop O’Dowd 45, final
No. 6 Salesian 70, No. 3 Archbishop Mitty 66, final
No. 2 Miramonte 109, No. 7 Brookside Christian-Stockton 41, final
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 4 Pinewood at No. 1 St. Mary’s-Stockton, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Salesian at. No. 2 Miramonte, 7 p.m.