STOCKTON Lynette Johnson has suffered three concussions in her sporting career.
Basketball is her life, the Kennedy High School junior says, and her game is of a rough-and-tumble nature but with skill and polish. She scored 19 points and had eight rebounds as No. 4 Kennedy stunned top-seeded Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove 52-48 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal at Pacific on Tuesday night.
"I suffered my first concussion last year against Pleasant Grove hit my head on the floor and then a second one and had my third earlier this year, but I'm OK, and I can't change how I play," Johnson said. "This is who I am."
Johnson praised her teammates for their efforts against a talented Pleasant Grove (21-9) team, saying the Cougars (22-8) collectively are "100 percent better" than they were earlier this season. Kennedy used a 16-0 run in the second half to take charge, and then held off the Eagles, who still advance to the NorCal tournament for the first time.
"We went cold," Pleasant Grove coach James McKeever said of his team's seven-minute dry spell. "Lynette took care of business and we couldn't get any rhythm."
Jessica Lauderdale scored 10 for Kennedy, which made 20 of 22 free throws and withstood Pleasant Grove's Dejza James (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Marissa Wimbley (13 and seven).
In Saturday's 6:30 p.m. final at Power Balance Pavilion, Kennedy will take on a familiar foe in Oak Ridge.
Kennedy coach Dave Parsh said the Cougars were battle tested in the Metro Conference by Bee No. 1 Sacramento High and by Bee-ranked Florin.
"We thought D-I was wide open," Parsh said.
No. 6 Oak Ridge 63, No. 2 Armijo 52 Lauren Sende overcame a nasty cold and a tall team to produce the game of her life and send her team to the D-I section final.
The senior post scored 18 points and had 22 rebounds, and the Trojans (23-7) used a 9-0 closing run to halt a 12-game winning streak by the Indians of Fairfield (23-7).
Sende had eight rebounds in the fourth quarter and she had three free throws down the stretch.
The steady play of Oak Ridge guard Jenna Klein produced 14 points, and Haley Anderson scored nine.
"What can you say about Lauren?" Oak Ridge coach Steve White said. "That's the most complete game she's had, and now we're challenging her to repeat it."
No. 3 McNair 58, No. 7 River City 43 The Raiders (27-3) succumbed to the size and inside power of McNair (27-3) of Stockton, which won the rebounding battle 51-37, and blocked six shots in a D-II semifinal.
Carmen Garcia scored 11 points and Jordan Ligons and Katie King had nine each for River City, which won a share of its first league title this season and won its first playoff games in the program's 35-year history.
The Raiders' season will continue in the NorCal tournament.