NorCal: Girls’ basketball bound for championship!
3.4.2023 – The Menlo girls’ basketball team is headed to the CIF Div. IV NorCal Championship after holding off Hillsdale 51-48 on the road Saturday night.
The No. 7 seeded Menlo Knights (18-10) will travel to San Anselmo to take on top seed San Domenico in Tuesday’s regional final at Dominican University. The Knights last went to the regional final in 2019 when the team won the Div. II state title. Menlo advanced to the second round of the Div. ! NorCals in 2020 before the regional was canceled, and in 2022 advanced to the Div. II NorCal semifinal.
Menlo now will hit the road to the North Bay for Tuesday’s final after the Knights defeated West Valley of Cottonwood and Summit Shasta at home.
On Saturday, with 29 seconds left in the game, Menlo senior Hannah Satuito, playing with four fouls, grabbed another defensive rebound, and Menlo held a 49-48 lead. Menlo sophomore Ruiqi Liu was fouled and went to the line, sinking her first free throw. After a Hillsdale timemount, Liu returned to the line, and calmly knocked down the second. Menlo applied defensive pressure and Hillsdale ran out of time to try to force overtime.
“I knew I couldn’t give up any free throws. I guess the adrenaline was running through me and I was really present in the moment and focused on where I was and what we needed to get done to keep the ball safe,” Satuito said. “We finished the game strong.”
Just as in the quarterfinal, Menlo’s shooting came alive in the second quarter with sophomores Karen Xin and Liu each scoring seven points and three others contributing baskets. After leading 6-4 in a first quarter in which Xin had all of Menlo’s points, Menlo led 27-19 at the half. Hillsdale stayed within just under 10 points until taking a 46-45 lead with 4 minutes left. Xin sank a clutch three-pointer, one of her five for the night and Menlo led 49-45 with 3:03 left. Satuito and fellow senior Riley Jensen forced a Hillsdale travel out of a trap, then Jensen made a steal with just under 2 minutes to go. Hillsdale’s Makena Nitao, who finished with a game-high 24 points, hit a three-pointer to draw within 1 with just under a minute left.
Xin finished with 19 points and four assists while Liu had 17 points and five rebounds. Jensen added seven points and four rebounds. Satuito had a three-pointer, two assists and four rebounds.
Satuito came to the team late because she was playing in a NorCal Regional for a different sport. She and the Menlo tennis team advanced to the NorCal Championship which took them deep into November. She and seniors Jordan Brooks, Riley Jensen, and Paige Miller have worked to help lead a team which lost six seniors to graduation last year.
“Definitely being a senior, it’s been quite an exciting season so far,” Satuito said about the road to the NorCal final. “We definitely had a few rough games in the beginning when we had to find our rhythm as a team and learn how we were going to play together. After the first few league games, we got into a rhythm and were able to gel as a team and I think that’s contributed to our success so far.”
M: Xin 7 0-2 19, Liu 5 5-5 17, Jensen 3 0-0 7, Brooks 1 0-0 3, Satuito 1 0-0 3, Housser 1 0-0 2. Three point goals – Xin 5, Liu 2, Jensen, Brooks, Satuito. Total: 18 5-9 51. H: Nitao 11 0-0 24,. Wilmurt 4 3-4 14, Takeuchi 2 0-1 5, Sierra 1 0-0 2, Carson 1 0-0 3. Three-point goals: Nitao 2, Wilmurt 3, Takeuchi, Carson. Total: 19 3-5 48.
Quarterfinals: Menlo 48, Summit Shasta 38
3.2.2023 –Torrid defense and shooting in the second quarter lifted the Menlo School girls’ basketball team to a 48-38 victory over Summit Shasta in the CIF Div. IV NorCal Quarterfinals at home Thursday.
No. 7 seed Menlo improves to 17-10 and plays nearby at No. 6 Hillsdale, a 57-44 win over Kimball of Tracy. The teams meet Saturday at 7:00 pm at Hillsdale in San Mateo.
Menlo School girls’ basketball advances to the CIF-NorCal Div. IV semifinal after a 48-38 win over Summit Shasta. The sophomore duo of Ruiqi Liu, who finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, and Karen Xin, who had 15 points, five assists and four rebounds, led the charge. Senior Riley Jensen tallied eight points and eight rebounds and junior Summer Young added four points, five rebounds. Seniors Jordan Brooks pitched in with five rebounds, three assists and two steals and Hannah Satuito had three assists and five rebounds.At the end of the first, the Knights took note of the Bears’ pace, closed the quarter with baskets by Karen Xin and Summer Young, but were down by three at the end of the first.
By the second, the Knights leaned on their characteristic swarming defense and forced Summit Shasta off their rhythm en route to a 20-7 run.
“We were concerned about how fast Summit Shasta was going to come out - they jumped on us early, but we weathered the storm and then we started playing really good, extended zone defense that made them shoot further and further outside,” Menlo Coach John Paye said.
Menlo stretched its lead to 20 in the third quarter. The Bears narrowed the gap to 10 with minutes left.
“We talked a lot about strong play during the state tournament - these teams will come back, so we were prepared for them to come back, they just couldn’t get over the hump,” Paye added. “It was a little unnerving when they got within 10 but the clock was on our side.”
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Pam Tso McKenney
Pam Tso McKenney