But with the exception of an early three-point loss to Heritage, the Wolverines once again dominated the BVAL, winning the rest of their league games, some of them by margins of 30, 40 and on a couple of occasions nearly 50 points. And for the third year in a row they made it to the NCS championship game. Unfortunately, they lost against perennial nemesis Berkeley 42-62.
In the semifinal NCS playoff game against Castro Valley on March 3, the Wolverines showed how far they’ve come this season. They dominated throughout and fought off several comeback attempts by the Trojans, winning 67-56 on their home court. The “D” in “DV” stands for defense. And once again the girls poured on their patented full-court press, causing numerous turnovers that they converted into easy layups.
They combined that with stellar outside shooting, sinking seven three-point shots to none by Castro Valley, which proved to be a big difference in the outcome. The Wolverines’ Imana Samuels set the tone with the first shot of the game – you guessed it, a three-pointer. But it was Mia Roseboro who was on fire from downtown, making five three-point shots, three of which she netted in the space of three minutes in the first quarter, helping Deer Valley explode to a 16-5 lead.
“She’s funny,” said Deer Valley Coach Lindsay Wisely of Roseboro. “She stepped up big for us all year. She’s been an unsung hero. Tonight she knew what she had to do. They really played pretty good D on some of our other guards and she stepped up and hit big shots.”
The Trojans fought back, however, closing within four points at the start of the second half. But another Roseboro trey followed by a Deer Valley steal that was converted into a layup provided a nine-point cushion that they extended to 14 points at the end of the third quarter. And that was all she wrote. The Wolverines were up by 20 points in the fourth quarter and coasted to victory from there.
“I think we played really hard,” said Wisely. “We really showed just that great Deer Valley spirit, that fight. Castro Valley played a great game and they didn’t give up, which really was a test for us. We were tested tonight – just like we were tested against Livermore (a 65-58 quarterfinal victory). I thought our kids showed a lot of heart tonight.”
But they needed more than heart in the championship game against Berkeley, which had beat them by 26 points in the West Coast Jamboree. Berkeley also won the NCS championship game against Deer Valley two years ago. But the Wolverines got revenge last year by beating Berkeley in the NCS semifinal game, 62-50.
Although Deer Valley’s NCS playoff run has ended, its postseason play continues in the NorCal playoffs. After the Castro Valley game, Wisely said she likes her team’s chances in postseason play. “I think we’re one of the toughest teams in Northern California,” she said. “I think you can’t take us lightly because we have so many weapons.”
She believes her team has come a long way from those tough Jamboree games. “At that point we were still building a young team,” she said. “I think what really speaks for a team is how they do later on in the season, the second half of league and post-season. That’s really where we’re thriving. We are showing that we are growing up a little bit, the maturity’s there. And they are stepping up. This team’s young and fiery and they fear nothing. They are scary. They want it bad.”
Roseboro led Deer Valley with 22 points, followed by Raven Fox with 20.
In other NCS action, Heritage lost its semifinal game to Berkeley 21-43, but the 21-7 Lady Patriots are also participating in the NorCal playoffs.