No. 1 Carondelet 87, No. 8 Northgate 58
It did not take long for Carondelet High’s engine and point guard, Natalie Romeo, to seize control of the second round North Coast Section playoff contest against Northgate High on Friday night at De La Salle High School.
The Cougars had a modest late first quarter lead at 19-9, when Romeo with her killer speed and uncanny shooting touch, closed the quarter with five unanswered points on a three and a steal resulting in a breakaway lay-up.
The Cougars finished the period up 24-9 and the Broncos never closed the gap in the remaining three quarters as Carondelet advanced in a lopsided 87-58 affair.
“We ran the break very, very well,” said Cougar guard and forward Hannah Huffman. “That is something we have been doing well all season, pushing the ball up the court.”
Huffman, the Cougars’ senior captain and emotional leader, paced her squad with 20 points, followed by Romeo, who poured in 15.
Even if the final score did not reflect it, the Broncos guard tandem of Greer Kleber and Meghan Blough gave Carondelet fits.
Kleber scored on a number of tricky fadeways in the lane, while Blough found success from inside and out, tallying a game-high 27 points.
“I think we need to step up our defense. Northgate played really well, but allowing 57 points is never acceptable, especially when it comes to a playoff game,” added Huffman.
Northgate’s senior captain, Kleber, cleaned the glass on her way to 14 rebounds to go with 23 points.
The Broncos dynamic duo was simply not enough for the fast-paced Cougars. Carondelet had four players in double figures and continuously shredded the Bronco zone with three-point field goals.
But like most Cougar contests, the game turned into a track meet early and Romeo had the gas pedal pushed to the metal.
“Natalie has been playing fearless and she has been really consistent for us,” said Huffman. “She is pushing the ball up the court and playing well defensively. As a sophomore I am most proud of her mental game at the (point guard) position, which is so important for us. She has done an excellent job.”
Top-seeded Carondelet advanced to the NCS semifinals to face the No. 5 seeded Alameda Hornets, who come into the contest fresh off a victory over Maria Carrillo and have tallied 22 wins on the season.
Notes: Carondelet’s Melissa Russi and Makenzie Cast combined for 22 points.
Carondelet 87, Northgate 58
Records: Northgate 15-13; Carondelet 24-3.
North Coast Section Playoffs, girls basketball, 2/24/12