Defense key again as Crusaders qualify for NCS decider

The Crusaders secured a place in this weekend’s North Coast Section Division-V girls basketball championship game with a hard-fought 38-35 win over University at home on Wednesday night.

“Tonight was a tremendous game,” St. Bernard’s head coach Mark Gardner said. “Terrific defense from both teams.”

There was little to separate either throughout, with the home team holding a slender one-point lead after the opening quarter and stretching it to just six at halftime.

The visitors, however, got stronger as the game wore on, outscoring the Crusaders in each of the final two quarters, but were unable to sneak a win.

It was the Crusaders’ second win over University this season, and neither of them were easy.

“University is a really good team and they are really well coached,” Gardner said. “However, I couldn’t be prouder of my girls. They kept their composure all night long and made the key plays in the fourth quarter that were necessary to win the game.”

With the win, the Crusaders improved to 22-6, while University drops to 13-14.

St. Bernard’s three senior co-captains again played a major role in the outcome.

Jasa Sisemore scored a game-high 15 points, while Emily Gardner finished with 11 points and Maddie Costa four.

Junior Josie Peterson also had an impact with six points.

As the No. 1 seed in the Division-V bracket, the St. Bernard’s girls will host either Cloverdale or Rincon Valley Christian in Saturday’s NCS championship game.

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