By Shel Segal
The Mark Keppel High girls’ basketball team saw its season come to an end on Saturday night with a 61-47 loss to visiting Alemany High in a CIF Southern Section Open Division playoff game.
With the tournament being double-elimination, Keppel lost in the first round on Feb. 22 to host Serra High, 71-37.
Kelli Kamida led the Aztecs in a losing effort with 20 points, shooting 7-for-13 from the floor, to go along with two rebounds.
Teammate Sophia Song scored 11 points, hitting five of nine shots, and picked up three assists and one rebound, while Tammi Matsukiyo finished with eight points, shooting 4-for-4 from the free throw line, while picking up seven rebounds and two assists.
Following a very physical game, Keppel coach Joe Kikuchi said his girls just weren’t able to fully compete with the size of the Alemany squad.
“Those girls were just too big and too strong for us,” Kikuchi said. “(We) bounced back. But we just couldn’t get rebounds. They out-rebounded us by over double digits. They pretty much dominated the boards.”
He added he is very proud of the way his team played this year.
“They have nothing to be down about,” he said. “They had a great season. They had a great season not having our leader, our point guard Lauren (Saiki). They still ended up going 25-3, so it was a great season.”
Alemany coach Bryan Camacho said his team played well getting the win.
“I thought we did a good job getting the ball inside,” Camacho said. “Defensively, we had to communicate and make sure we stayed balanced with those great shooters of Keppel.
He added he admired the way the Aztecs performed on the court.
“Keppel’s a great team,” Camacho said. “Great program, well coached. It was just a tough battle.”
In addition, Kikuchi said he likes CIF’s new open division, but with some reservation.
“I think open division is a great idea,” he said. “But it’s hard for anybody to select the right teams. I think it’s a good idea, but weren’t at full strength and we weren’t able to do well.”