Tomales rushed to a convincing 48-33 win over Point Arena on Saturday at Castleberry Gym to set up a Division VI semifinal rematch of the of the girls championship basketball game OF two seasons ago. The Lady Braves will now take the four-hour trip north on Wednesday to meet top seeded Ferndale.
Tomales captured its only girls division crown against the Lady Wildcats, and Lady Brave coach Chris Kenyon is sure the players on the Ferndale team haven't forgotten. "They will be waiting for us," he said with a grin. "Several of the players on that team are playing now."
Point Arena rolled into Castleberry Gym sporting a glossy 21-5 record and a career 1,000-point scorer in senior forward Taylor Dilks. With coaches from neighboring colleges on hand, Dilks didn't disappoint with a 21-point performance, but she could not offset the balanced attack of the Lady Braves, who led from the opening basket.
Tomales grabbed a 29-15 halftime lead paced by seniors Raelynne Talifili and Sara Souza, and the game never got much closer. Talifili punctured the Lady Pirate man defense for 10 points in the first half, while Souza meshed two punishing 3-point shots from the top of the key.
"Raelynne was a key tonight," said Kenyon. "We have talked all season about her getting more aggressive toward the basket, and she had that mind set."
Souza, the top scorer on the Lady Brave club for the season, got both feet set following two lead passes from hustling point guard Kayla Furlong, and drained the shots that stymied any threat of a Pirate comeback.
Dilks did most of the ball handling for the Pirates, and scored eight points in the first period, but the Point Arena senior appeared to tire in the second quarter when her teammates gradually began to pick up the scoring slack. Jeanette Stafani and Celeste Van Abrams ended the game with five points each.
Kenyon chose to alternate Brave defenders Christa Nygard in a starting role and Jessica Arndt off the bench to combat the slashing offensive moves made by Dilks. Most of the Tomales defensive efforts were successful as Dilks was limited to seven for 19 from the floor until the fourth period when the Lady Braves went to a zone to close it out.
Seven players scored at least four points for the Lady Braves, led by Talifili who finished with 14. Nobody on the team averages in double figures, and it doesn't bother Kenyon.
"That's our MO this season," he explained. "We don't have any star players, but there has been pretty good balance in our scoring."
"We are going to have to work out some details on travel early next week. I think we sill stay all night on Wednesday. If we win, there is a good chance that the team would have to travel up that way again on the weekend because St. Bernard's is still in the mix in the bottom bracket. That is a lot of travel."
Tomales improved to 19-10 for the season with the victory. The Lady Braves got hard working defensive efforts by Nygard and Arndt that allowed the continued separation between the two teams.
Senior center Janelle Kehoe was a force on the inside with a season high 14 rebounds to help jump start the Lady Brave transition game. It was her third double digit game on the glass this season.