High School Basketball

Central Section basketball finals: Gonsalves’ bucket helps deliver Immanuel girls four-peat

Four years ago, Immanuel coach James Stevens and then-freshman point guard Zoe March made a pact.

If March worked hard and embraced a leadership role that encouraged teammates to have the same dedication, Stevens would supply the game plan to help guide the Eagles to a Central Section title each year.

On Saturday, that pact remained perfectly preserved with Stevens and March completing one last championship run.

Though her shooting was off, March led top-seeded Immanuel to its fourth consecutive section title with a 38-35 victory over No. 2 Orosi in the Division IV final Saturday at Selland Arena.

March didn’t score – missing all 10 of her shots. But she had eight assists, including a clutch pass down low for a basket that kept Orosi at a distance down the stretch.

“(We) made a deal that we were going to get to Valley four times – and we just did it,” March said. “The crazy thing is, I thought when I was a freshman, I felt like it was me getting my team there.

“What I didn’t know was after four years, it’s not me. It’s the team working around each other and pushing together.”

This time it was sophomore Brooke Gonsalves who scored a game-high 17 points, including a big bucket with 20 seconds left that gave Immanuel a three-point cushion. It was set up by March driving and finding Gonsalves unguarded under the basket.

“That last basket I made, I felt so overwhelmed because I was so happy that Zoe trusted me that I was going to get it in,” Gonsalves said. “In the past, I was never really a strong player. Her throwing that to me gave me all the confidence that I’d ever need.

“I look up to her so much. She’s the person I work for. I wanted this for her.”

Orosi (27-5) had March frazzled for most of the game with a trap on top of the key that forced Immanuel’s four-year starter into tough shots or to give up the ball.

The defensive game plan worked, as Orosi erased a 13-0 deficit to start the game and got within one in the final two minutes.

The Cardinals twice had a chance to take the lead, but committed a turnover and missed a wild shot.

After Gonsalves’ basket extended Immanuel’s lead, Orosi guard Maria Ramirez misfired on a three-pointer from the left corner.

Immanuel pulled the rebound but turned it over to give Orosi possession with six seconds remaining.

Cardinals guard Isabella Jimenez missed a three-pointer just before time expired.

And like last season, Orosi had to watch as Immanuel celebrated, though both teams will advance to Southern California Regional play. Seedings will be announced Sunday.

“It’s tough,” said Orosi coach Mark Cerda, whose Cardinals had a 19-game winning streak snapped and lost to a team from the Central Section for the first time this season. “You get this far, but fall short. It doesn’t get easier.”

Immanuel is 85-30 in the past four seasons with Stevens and March, though she almost wasn’t part of the latest playoff push.

She missed 10 games during the regular season because of a dislocated wrist on her non-shooting hand. Doctors told her it’d take six weeks to heal.

Her teammates used the stretch to learn how to play and win without her. March returned for the regular-season finale and was ecstatic to be back for the playoffs.

“She’ll never take credit, but she helped lead this team since she was a freshman,” Stevens said. “The girls just love her. She pushes players to make them better.

“She’s so unselfish. She’s meant a great deal.”

Bryant-Jon Anteola: 559-441-6362, @Banteola_TheBee

No. 1 IMMANUEL 38, NO. 2 OROSI 35

Orosi

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Gonzalez

32

2-8

1-6

6-9

1

3

5

Quicio

30

1-11

3-6

2-6

3

3

5

Jimenez

32

2-10

0-0

0-2

2

2

5

Ramirez

32

3-8

2-2

5-7

2

1

11

Rodriguez

32

4-14

0-0

0-8

2

1

9

Martinez

2

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

160

12-51

6-14

13-32

10

10

35

Percentages: FG .235 .429. Three-point goals: 5-20, .250 (Quicio 0-4, Jimenez 1-6, Ramirez 3-4, Rodriguez 1-6). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 2 (Gonzalez, Jimenez). Turnovers: 17 (Gonzalez 7, Quicio 4, Jimenez, Ramirez 2, Rodriguez 3). Steals: 12 (Quicio 2, Jimenez 3, Ramirez 3, Rodriguez 4).

Immanuel

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Scheidt

15

0-0

1-2

1-2

0

3

1

Galpin

23

3-8

2-4

6-16

0

3

8

Gonsalves

32

8-12

1-2

2-2

0

1

17

Z. March

26

0-10

0-0

2-6

8

3

0

Guiterrez

32

4-13

0-0

3-10

1

2

10

Goertzen

1

0-0

0-0

0-1

0

0

0

S. March

25

1-8

0-0

2-6

2

0

2

Jefferies

3

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Baptista

3

0-2

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

160

16-53

4-8

16-41

8

16

38

Percentages: FG .302, FT .500. Three-point goals: 2-10 .200 (Gutierrez 2-8, S. March 0-2). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 4 (Galpin 2, Guiterrez). Turnovers: 23 (Scheidt, Galpin 6, Gonsalves 3, Z. March 6, Guiterrez 2, Goertzen, S. March 3). Steals: 6 (Scheidt, Guiterrez 3, S. March 2).

Orosi

2

14

7

12

35

Immanuel

13

10

10

5

38

  Comments