Girls' basketball roundup: Bishop Montgomery dominates to win its seventh state title

Bishop Montgomery came onto the court at Golden 1 Center on Friday night in the state Division I championship girls’ basketball game feeling comfortable and confident. And it showed when they opened a 35-12 lead in the second quarter against Bishop O’Dowd.

Things got a little closer in the second half, but Bishop Montgomery (23-5) responded to the challenge and won 52-40 to earn its seventh state title overall, leaving only Brea Olinda (10) and St. Mary’s Stockton (eight) with more state championships in girls’ basketball.

“I mean, wow,” Bishop Montgomery second-year coach Rheina Ale said of her team’s start. “That was unbelievable. A lot of teams come out intimidated in an environment like that. We came out intense.”

No one was better in the opening minutes than junior guard Jordin Blackmon, who contributed 11 points in the first quarter. Her foul trouble in the second half helped Bishop O’Dowd close to within nine points in the fourth quarter. Blackmon finished with 15 points. Cyriah Coleman had 14 points.

“We just knew we wanted to get the job done,” Blackmon said. “We came out and showed who we are and belonged here.”

Ale took over for the legendary Noelle Quinn as coach. Quinn, as a player for Bishop Montgomery, won four state titles, the last in 2003. She returned as a coach until leaving to become head coach of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.

“She’s one of my mentors,” Ale said. “It’s so great to soak up her knowledge.”

It was Ale’s timeout in the fourth quarter that helped halt a Bishop O’Dowd comeback. She appears to have learned plenty.

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