Richmond Salesian makes it a NorCal girls’ basketball sweep with win over Windward

Skye Belker of Windward dribbles in the CIF state Division I girls' final on Friday night at Golden 1 Center.
(Nick Koza)

Bragging rights and a trophy haul go to the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from Northern California, which proceeded to win the first five games of Friday night’s CIF state championships at Golden 1 Center.

Richmond Salesian gave Northern California a sweep of the three girls’ games with a surprisingly dominant 62-51 victory over Los Angeles Windward in the Division I championship game.

Windward (23-11) had given some of Southern California’s best Open Division teams competitive games in recent weeks, but the Wildcats were no match for Salesian (21-5) and particularly 6-foot-1 center Silivia Fonongaloa, who bulldozed her way to 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Junior guard Skye Belker led Windward with 21 points and senior guard Maya Stokes had 15 points.

Venice and Ontario Chaffey lose in CIF boys’ basketball state championship games Friday in Sacramento before LaVerne Damien takes Division I title.


There’s talk that several Northern California teams were good enough to play in higher divisions. The Pride were able to pull away to win their first state title after Windward had closed to 26-25 early in the third quarter.

It was a challenging season for Windward, which lost its best player, Juju Watkins, in the offseason. She transferred to Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, which plays for the Open Division state title Saturday. And the Wildcats lost their coach, Vanessa Nygaard, who resigned during the season to become head coach of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

Windward is expected to announce its next coach this coming week. Ronald Cass filled in on an interim basis and was able to get the Wildcats a runner-up state finish.

Division III

With the clock winding down and Oakland Tech clinging to a one-point lead, Mari Somvichian made a clutch three-pointer from the baseline with 21 seconds left to seal a 39-33 victory over Pasadena La Salle in the Division III championship game.

A scoring drought by La Salle between the third and fourth quarters coupled with an 11-0 Oakland Tech run put the Lancers (31-3) down by six, but a backdoor layup by Audrey Chen made it 34-33 with 1:14 left. Chen finished with 13 points and Ryann Riddle had 10 for La Salle.

“I’m proud of the way they competed,” said La Salle coach Scott Wiard, who didn’t have two-time All-CIF player Ellie Chen after her knee gave out before the game.

Division V

Yalee Schwartz sat behind the Shalhevet bench in the second half, her injured right ankle heavily taped and resting on a chair, her toenails covered with white nail polish. It was an injury five minutes into the game that Shalhevet could not recover from in a 38-27 loss to San Domenico in the Division V final.

“Losing our most dynamic player in the first quarter kind of took the wind out of our sails,” coach Ryan Coleman said. “We were in a little bit of shock.”

Schwartz scored the first two baskets for Shalhevet (23-7) until suffering her injury. Even though Shalhevet held a 14-11 halftime lead, the Firehawks lacked rebounding and an inside game without the 5-foot-9 Schwartz.

“Hats off to San Domenico,” Coleman said. “That’s the best-coached team we’ve faced.” Coach Mike Fulton won two state titles previously coaching at Branson.

Shalhevet made just six of 19 free throws and was three for 20 from three-point range. Lily Reese led San Domenico with 12 points. Summer Jenkins had the game-changing basket with 2:11 left, making a steal, scoring and finishing up a three-point play to turn a four-point lead into a seven-point cushion.