By Jared Green
Daily Planet Staff
Ten minutes into Saturday night’s North Coast Section Division I championship game, Berkeley senior forward Robin Roberson was scoreless, having missed her first five shots, and her team was down 14-11 to Monte Vista.
Roberson, Berkeley’s leading scorer and leader, proceeded to score the Lady ’Jackets’ next 14 points, putting her team ahead to stay at 25-20 early in the third quarter. The Arizona-bound Roberson put on a dazzling display of outside shooting and tough inside play that showed why she is one of the most feared players in California, scoring 28 points to boost her team a 67-31 victory and Berkeley’s sixth straight NCS title.
Until Roberson caught fire, the Mustangs outplayed the favored ’Jackets, getting steals and offensive rebounds. Berkeley head coach Gene Nakamura said he wasn’t very happy in the halftime locker room.
“I gave them a good old tongue lashing,” Nakamura said. “People weren’t hustling, and I told them so.”
Monte Vista dressed just nine players and played only seven, and fatigue was one of the main factors in the ’Jackets’ win. Head coach Ron Hirschman’s team was clearly worn out by the fourth quarter, and Berkeley finished the game with a 20-0 run.
“It’s tough to play them. They play 15 people all night long,” said Hirschman, whose teams have been the victims four times in Berkeley’s NCS championship streak. “They just wear you down.”
Nakamura agreed that his team’s unrivaled depth was a key to the win.
“They were playing seven people, and it’s hard to beat us doing that,” he said. “I’m playing 14 people, and they all can play. I’m not bringing any bad players off the bench.”
Roberson said she never doubted that the ’Jackets would win. She said her goal is to win a state championship in her final season.
“We’ve been working hard to get this far and further,” she said. “This is just one more stepping stone.”