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BASKETBALL: Keppel Girls Lose in State Championship Game

  • By David Barron

Mark Keppel Girls Basketball team lost, 53-31, against Archbishop Mittty High in the Aztecs first attempt to win a  Division II state championship game at a huge Hass Pavilion gym on the campus of  U.C. Berkeley.

The game was much closer than the final score showed as booth teams initially struggled to score and play defense. At one point Keppel actually led 21-20 lead, but then Mitty came back to take the lead for the rest of the game.

Keppel's senior point guard Lauren Saiki got into foul trouble within two minutes of the first quarter and didn't return to the game until the second half. She picked up her fourth foul in the third quarter, but was kept in the game by Coach Joe Kikuchi. At one point in the televised broadcast, Kikuchi was overheard telling Saiki to play with her hands "in her pockets" to avoid another foul and ejection from the game.

When the both teams came out  on the floor for the first quarter, they both seemed overwhelmed by the spectacle of a championship game in a major college gymnasium. There were lots of missed shots and turnovers and the score was 17-11 at the end of the first half. 

Top scorers for the Aztecs were Sophia Song with 10 points and center Kylie Fujioka, 9 points.

While it was Keppel's first time playing in a state title game, Archbishop Mitty has played in 11 championship games and has won six times. There was a large crowd of Aztec fans and parents who traveled north to attend the game.

To get to the Championship game, Keppel had to defeat to other teams and won the local league championship.

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