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Lady ’Jackets run over Warriors to start North Coast Section playoffs

By Jared Green Daily Planet Staff
Thursday March 01, 2001

It wasn’t supposed to be the same old story, but it was. 

The Berkeley Lady ’Jackets took their first step towards yet another North Coast Section Division 1 title Tuesday night, beating the Mission San Jose Warriors 88-36. The win continued a streak of lopsided victories for Gene Nakamura’s top-seeded team, and he wasn’t happy about it.  

“I thought (Mission San Jose) were going to be more competitive than they were,” Nakamura said. “Hopefully we’ll get more of a challenge on Friday.” 

Friday’s game will be against No. 5 seed Pittsburg (22-5), which beat No. 4 Castro Valley 76-63 on Tuesday. The game will be at Berkeley High at a time to be announced. 

The ’Jackets (23-5) jumped out to a quick 14-2 lead against the Warriors and never looked back. They led by 16 after the first quarter, and held the Warriors (16-15) to just two field goals in the second to claim a 53-17 lead. Nakamura called the dogs off in the second half, pulling his team back into a half-court defense while Mission San Jose slowed the tempo of the game. 

Berkeley senior forward Robin Roberson led had game-high 21 points, and also led the ’Jackets with eight rebounds and five steals. She said after the game that she is setting high goals for the team in her final year. 

“It’s become a tradition for us to win NorCal, so it’s one of our main goals to get past that,” she said. “It’ll get tougher as we narrow down the teams.” 

Nakamura expressed concern that his team could go into the next playoff phase, the Northern California Sectionals, lacking big-game experience. 

“We won’t go very far if the competition doesn’t get any better,” he said. “When you go to NorCals, basically everyone is a section champ or runner-up, and we’ve got to be ready to face them. I’ve been trying to stress to the girls that we can’t play stupid basketball, but we did tonight.” 

Nakamura was disappointed with his players handling of the ball, as they committed numerous unforced turnovers. But the lopsided score allowed the coach to use all of his players, including three junior varsity players who were called up for the playoffs. All three were in the game together for the end of the third quarter, and they outscored the Warriors 4-0. 

“They’re just so quick. They’re excellent at all phases of the game. We just aren’t at their level in size, quickness, anticipation on defense,” Warrior coach Jack Boterenbrood said. 

Just three Berkeley players failed to score on Tuesday, including two of the JV players and Berkeley’s lone freshman, Joy White. Junior guard Rebekah Payne took advantage of a rare start to score 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and center Sabrina Keys pitched in with 10 points and seven rebounds. In all, nine Lady ’Jackets scored at least five points in the win. 

MIssion San Jose got 10 points each from forward Kelly Gallacher and guard Sabrina Mejia.