The cozy gym overflowed with pride after a powerhouse girls basketball team made school history.
The West Campus Warriors continued their dominance by claiming the CIF Northern California Regional Division IV championship on their home court with a 70-30 victory over St. Joseph of Alameda on Saturday.
The West Campus girls had never made it to the title game, while the boys finished as runners-up to Palma in last year’s championship with a 58-56 loss.
“They believe. They believe in everything that they do,” said coach John Langston. “They allow me to push them as hard as I could. I don’t think you could get any better kids than that.”
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Winner of 25 of its last 26 games, West Campus will meet Southern California winner Los Osos, which beat Village Christian 52-43, in the CIF State D-IV title game 10 a.m. Saturday at Golden 1 Center.
“We worked so hard to get in this position,” said senior Alexandra Dent. “All the years that we failed just really caught up to us, and we knew that, some of us, this is our last year here, so we really wanted to win for them.”
Community support was abundant, as fans mingled on the court for almost an hour after the victory. Principal David Rodriguez praised the efforts not only of Langston and his team, but of parents.
“It’s an amazing thing; it’s an amazing feeling,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a different vibe.”
West Campus’ 20-0 run during the first half proved insurmountable for the visitors, who trailed 39-15 at the break.
The crowd at West Campus’ small gym was vibrant, led by a rousing band that set energy levels high before tipoff.
Fans erupted in the third quarter when Namiko Adams nailed a midrange jumper off a crossover, and rose to their feet again the next possession, when Gabby Rones pulled off a nearly identical play.
Rones led all scorers with 18 and Adams scored 16, but the team’s defensive efforts proved just as important. St. Joseph had no answer for the smothering Warriors, who tipped passes and forced turnovers at will.
“Defense was the key to success,” Dent said. “Defense can win championships. Offense comes from that.”
The top-seeded Warriors breezed to a Sac-Joaquin Section D-IV title and through the first two rounds of the NorCal playoffs, winning six straight by 26 points or more, before beating Arcata 47-41 in Tuesday’s semifinals.
For a team that has cruised in the playoffs so far, adjustments seem unnecessary.
“We don’t plan on changing a thing,” Langston said.