They’re nice girls on campus, polite and cordial.
But on the basketball court? Courtesy Clark and Sara Shimizu are defensive pests. Jumping into the lane to steal passes or swiping the ball with up-close defense, Clark and Shimizu keyed the defensive charge that helped McClatchy High School beat Oak Ridge 62-54 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal Tuesday night at Pacific.
Clark and Shimizu combined for 13 points and 13 steals, and the Lions withstood a fourth-quarter charge to advance to Saturday night’s final at Pacific against the winner of the late game between Stockton rivals St. Mary’s and Lincoln.
“That’s a big strength we have – defense,” Clark said. “We try to get after it.”
Said coach Jeff Ota of his pesky guards: “They both came up big. Sara usually starts but came off the bench (for a spark), and she understood, never complained.”
Kamryn Hall led McClatchy with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Jordan Cruz had 10 points.
Oak Ridge was led by Marie Olson’s 15 points. Her two 3-pointers pulled the Trojans within 57-54 with 1:07 to play before the Lions sealed the win with free throws.
The taller Trojans outrebounded McClatchy 52-30, with Kassidy DeLapp grabbing 15.
All section semifinalists advance to the NorCal tournament that starts next week.
Sacramento 59, Modesto Christian 43 at Pacific – Andriana Avent keyed second-half runs of 22-0 and 32-4 for the Dragons, who shut out the Crusaders over a 5:30 stretch to reach a section final for the 11th time in 12 seasons.
Sacramento will face defending champion Vanden on Friday at Pacific for the championship.
Avent, one of three Dragons sophomores who reached double figures, hit three 3-pointers in the 22-0 run and finished with 26 points. RyAnneWalters had 12 points and Anna Blount 10.
Serina McMillan, nicknamed “Speedy,” led the defensive charge for Sacramento, which seeks its fifth title under coach Michele Massari.
With the Dragons trailing 26-25 at halftime, Massari scolded her team, urging better focus. Sacramento responded with its best half of the season.
“I told them to just relax and play our game and not rush,” Massari said. “We can be so amazing when we put it all together. And Andriana doesn’t know how good she can be.”
Vanden 53, Elk Grove 45 at Pacific – Julia Blackshell-Fair scored 21 points, and the Vikings outrebounded the Thundering Herd 45-29 to avenge a playoff loss from last season.
Vanden beat Elk Grove in the section semifinals last season but fell to the Herd in the NorCal semis.
Mira Shulman scored 19 for Elk Grove, which shot 34 percent.
Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD