High School Basketball

Central Section basketball finals: D-III girls champ Mission Oak scores a Tulare first

The Mission Oak High girls basketball team continues to make history.

And not just school history this time, but for all of Tulare, the city its players call home.

With a 44-24 rout of Madera in the Division III final Saturday at Selland Arena, Mission Oak became the first Tulare team – in boys or girls basketball – to win back-to-back Central Section titles.

“And you’re talking about 100 years of history from some of those schools,” Mission Oak coach Dave Caetano said. “It’s impressive.”

Last season, Mission Oak won the school’s first section title in any sport behind a core group of freshmen. The Hawks have competed at the varsity level since the 2009-10 academic year.

With that nucleus still together, Mission Oak swept through East Yosemite League play, survived a couple of close playoff games, then mauled Madera from start to finish in the final.

Top-seeded Mission Oak (26-6) held No. 3 Madera (21-12) to two points in the first quarter and to 16 percent shooting for the game. In three of the four quarters, the Coyotes mustered no more than six points.

On the other end, the Hawks incorporated occasionally swift ball movement with repeated penetration into the lane.

Last year’s key freshmen – guards Rhegan Fernandes and Kambrayia Elzy – both had off games Saturday as the sophomore duo combined to shoot 3 of 25 while scoring nine points.

But Tristen Myers, Mission Oak’s 6-foot senior, led all scorers with 15 on 7-of-14 shooting.

“From the very beginning, we knew this was a team that we wanted to come out strong in the first quarter, get the lead, establish it, and keep building on it through the day,” Myers said. “We’ve grown and matured a lot since last year.

“We know playing team basketball, moving the ball around, helps keep our offense going.”

In addition, Mission Oak controlled the glass and outrebounded Madera 57-39, with 26 offensive boards. Myers, 5-foot-8 junior Aubrey Cardoza and 5-foot-9 senior Nashedah Mu’min each grabbed 10, and 6-foot-4 sophomore Sam Arellano snagged a game-high 11 boards.

“This team is very committed, a very intelligent group,” Caetano said. “They work well together. It’s really a pleasure to work with them.”

Madera forward Creona Harshaw finished with a team-high eight points, along with three blocks and two steals.

Both teams will advance to the Southern California Regional, with seedings to be announced Sunday.

Mission Oak is hoping it’s in the middle of an even longer run.

“We have a lot of expectations the next few years,” Fernandez said. “Hopefully, me and the other core of young girls will achieve the things we set out (to achieve).”

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

No. 1 MISSION OAK 44, No. 3 MADERA 24

Madera

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Harshaw

27

3-12

2-2

1-4

0

1

8

Smith

14

0-0

1-2

1-2

0

2

1

Burton

20

3-7

0-0

2-3

0

3

6

Fernandez

14

0-2

0-0

1-1

0

0

0

Hansen

19

0-9

2-4

1-4

2

4

2

Hernandez

12

0-5

0-0

0-2

1

3

0

Carmona

8

0-0

0-0

1-2

0

2

0

Rubalcaba

20

1-9

3-7

2-5

1

1

5

Berry

5

0-0

0-0

0-1

0

0

0

Guirola

2

0-0

0-0

0-1

0

1

0

Powell

14

1-6

0-0

5-9

1

1

2

Escobar

5

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

160

8-50

8-15

14-34

5

18

24

Percentages: FG .160, FT .533. Three-point goals: 0-11, .000 (Harshaw 0-2, Fernandez 0-2, Hansen 0-3, Hernandez 0-2, Rubalcaba 0-2). Blocked shots: 4 (Harshaw 3, Powell). Turnovers: 19 (Harshaw 4, Smith 3, Burton, Hansen 3, Hernandez, Carmona 2, Rubalcaba, Berry, Guriola, Powell, Escobar). Steals: 8 (Harshaw, Smith, Hansen 2, Hernandez, Rubalcaba 2, Escobar).

Mission Oak

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Mu’min

25

4-8

1-8

6-10

1

2

9

Myers

22

7-14

1-2

6-10

2

3

15

Arellano

21

2-6

2-2

7-11

3

2

6

Elzy

24

3-18

3-5

2-6

1

2

9

Fernandes

26

0-7

0-0

2-9

1

3

0

Ruvalcaba

7

0-6

0-0

0-0

0

2

0

Huerta

6

1-1

0-0

0-0

0

1

3

Muller

5

0-0

1-1

0-0

0

0

1

Ngo

4

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

Avila

5

0-1

0-0

0-1

0

0

0

Cardoza

15

0-2

1-2

3-10

0

1

1

Totals

160

17-63

9-20

26-57

8

17

44

Percentages: FG .270, FT .450. Three-point goals: 1-9 .111 (Elzy 0-2, Fernandes 0-3, Ruvalcaba 0-3, Huerta 1-1). Blocked shots: 6 (Arellano 4, Fernandes, Avila). Turnovers: 15 (Mu’min 2, Arellano 3, Elzy 2, Fernandes 4, Huerta, Ngo, Avila, Team). Steals: 8 (Mu’min, Elzy 5, Fernandes, Ngo).

Madera

2

10

6

6

24

Mission Oak

11

18

11

4

44

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