Diablo Valley earns berth in first CCCAA State Championship game after semifinal win over San Joaquin Delta

(1N) Diablo Valley 67, (3N) San Joaquin Delta 59
CCCAA Women's Basketball Championship (semifinals)
Ventura College • March 16
Photo by Pat Dickinson
(1N) Diablo Valley 67, (3N) San Joaquin Delta 59 CCCAA Women's Basketball Championship (semifinals) Ventura College • March 16 Photo by Pat Dickinson

CCCAA Basketball Championship Tournament Central
(live video, live stats, recaps, photos)

VENTURA – The Diablo Valley Vikings advanced to their first-ever CCCAA Women's Basketball Championship game after beating San Joaquin Delta, 67-59, in the semifinals on Saturday evening at Ventura College.

The Vikings will face the winner of the Moorpark/Merced semifinal tomorrow.  Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Every Viking who came into the game scored points, led by double-double performances from Zahria Hendrix (17 pts, 13 reb, 4 stl) and Leilani Moncrease (11 pts, 11 reb, 5 blk).   

Diablo Valley missed their first two shots of the game and Sankia Braxton put Delta on the board with a jump shot.  The Mustangs responded by racking up an 18-point lead by way of a 24-4 run that spanned the next seven minutes, Zahria Hendrix sinking a pair of three pointers in her 10-point first quarter.  

But Delta weren't about to give up, despite trailing by 15 after the first quarter.  After both teams had a slow offensive showing early in the second frame, the Mustangs chipped away at the Vikings' lead with a three pointer by Alexa Brand and Paiton Demps, who also stole the ball from Diablo Valley twice.  By halftime, the Vikings lead had shrunk to just 33-32, picking up just four points, all from free throws; Diablo Valley shooters were 0 for 12 from the field in the quarter.

Daisha Abdelkader ended the Vikings' shooting drought just shy of 14 minutes with a three-pointer early in the third quarter, untying the game at 37-34 (Delta never regained the lead during the cold streak). After trading a couple baskets with the Mustangs, the Vikings returned to their first quarter form and stretched their lead out to 9, capped by a three point buzzer beater by Abdelkader to carry a 56-47 lead into the break.

Paiton Demps briefly pulled San Joaquin Delta back to within four points early in the fourth quarter with a trey, but her Mustangs couldn't pull any closer despite Diablo Valley shooting just 4 for 12 from the field in the period.  By the end of the game, they had lost 24 possessions to turnovers, which Diablo Valley turned into 22 points.  

Sankia Braxton led the Mustangs on the scoresheet with her 10-point, 14-rebound double-double in just 22 minutes on the floor.  Starters Lauren Rabena and Paiton Demps, and reserves Alexa Brand and Trena Rathjen all scored nine points in a balanced offensive showing.

(Brad Mellblom, CCCSIA)