Here we are, the final week of a basketball season many people feared would never take place.
“This is the dessert,’’ Pinewood girls coach Doc Scheppler said. “This is why we had the zoom workouts, the practice on outdoor courts. Now we get to play meaningful games. In June. With school out. How cool is that?
Four teams remain in the Central Coast Section girls Open Division. Semifinals take place Wednesday, the final on Friday.
Priory plays at No. 1 seed Mitty on Wednesday at 4 p.m. No. 2 seed Pinewood hosts St. Ignatius at 7 p.m.
Priory (10-3), the No. 5 seed, already came up with one upset, winning at No. 4 Valley Christian.
But playing Mitty is something altogether different. Most teams are lucky to have one 6-footer. Mitty can play 6-footers at all five positions if longtime head coach Sue Phillips cares to.
“You have to understand what you’re good at,’’ Priory coach Buck Matthews said. “We will play our game and do what we do best, not get caught up on Mitty and how good they are. We will go in confident and be prepared to play our butts off.’’
Yeah, but that Mitty team …
“Number one, you’ve got to prepare for their speed and tempo and length,’’ Matthews said. “We played Pinewood twice and they’re super fast. Now with Mitty we’ll have to deal with their speed and their length.’’
Matthews had five players go the entire way against Valley Christian.
“It’s all about being in shape,’’ Matthews said. “”We’re in shape and we’re athletic with Aniyah Augmon and Bineta Diatta and with our two shooters (Valentina Saric and Sydney Donovan). But Mitty is able to rotate players in every two minutes.’’
Mitty (12-1) has won the last five CCS Open championships, beating Pinewood on four of those occasions. Pinewood did come away with a memorable triple-overtime win over the Monarchs in the 2018 NorCal Open final
With the semifinals Wednesday and the final Friday, the Panthers would have only one day to prepare for Mitty should they beat St. Ignatius.
But first things first.
”St. Ignatius (13-4) is a solid, aggressive team,’’ Scheppler said. “They play hard. We have to be concerned about their offensive rebounding. They look to get the ball inside and not a lot of teams do that now.’’
Pinewood is coming off a tremendous offensive showing in a 97-61 win over Palo Alto.
“That was our best shooting game in years,’’ Scheppler said. “I expect this one to be a grinder, a physical game with the pace a little slower. We’ll have to match their physicality and keep them off the boards.
“It should be fun.’’
Palo Alto (11-8) plays at Santa Clara (11-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in CCS Division I play.
The Bruins are the SCVAL De Anza Division champion, though their only two league losses were to Paly.
The sixth-seeded Vikings beat Carlmont on Saturday while No. 3 Santa Clara dew a bye into the quarterfinals.
Menlo-Atherton (5-6) will also see a familiar opponent in No. 2 Piedmont Hills. The seventh-seeded Bears beat Los Gatos to advance while Piedmont Hills (15-5) had a bye into the quarterfinals.
Piedmont Hills beat M-A by two points in a late season non-league contest.
Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep open play in Division IV on Tuesday, with the third-seeded Knights (6-9) hosting No. 6 Pacific Grove at 7 p.m. and Sacred Heart Prep (12-7) hosting Harker at 7 p.m.