Crusaders prepare for NorCal Championship showdown


Photos by Ray Hamill/ – The St. Bernard’s girls will host Caruthers High on Tuesday night in the NorCal Division-V championship.

By Ray Hamill — The St. Bernard’s girls are one win away from playing for a state championship.

On Tuesday night, the high-flying Crusaders will host Caruthers High in the Division-V NorCal championship, with the winner advancing to Friday morning’s state decider in Sacramento.

And unlike on Saturday night, when the high flying Crusaders hosted Cloverdale for the second straight weekend, this time they’ll be playing against a team they know little about.

One thing they can be certain of, however, is that as one of the final four teams remaining in Division-V play, the Blue Raiders will be good.

The Central Section Division-V champions come into the game with a record of 30-4 and riding the momentum of a 19-game winning streak.

On Saturday, the No. 3 seeds defeated No. 10 Gridley by a score of 57-50 to advance to the NorCal championship.


St. Bernard’s Mackenzie Finck

The St. Bernard’s girls have plenty of momentum themselves, with a record of 26-6.

The No. 1 seed Crusaders hosted No. 4 Cloverdale for the second straight weekend on Saturday, and beat the Eagles for the second straight week.

And while it wasn’t as commanding a win as the first time, the Crusaders never trailed and never really appeared in danger of losing.

They were challenged before eventually pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 46-34 win.

Defensively, the Crusaders have been outstanding in the postseason, allowing just 32.1 points a game in their six games.

But they can expect a high-scoring Caruthers offense to challenge that.

The Blue Raiders come in averaging 60.6 points a game this season, while allowing roughly just half of that, 31.6 a game.

The winner of Tuesday night’s big showdown will play against either Ramona or Anaheim, who play for the SoCal Division-V championship, also on Tuesday night.

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