The Sports Informant

Your inside source for West Coast sports. Yeah, it rhymes.

No. 1 St. Francis upset in Division II girls championship

By Scott Levin
Sports Informant Contributing Writer

The Vallejo Apaches spent four days in Coloma just after tryouts in November. The four days dedicated to team-building were grueling for the girls. No cell phones. Mountain runs. The two logs the team trained with became so familiar they were given names.

On Saturday, all the hard work paid off.

In a seesaw battle between two quick teams, No. 3 Vallejo upset the No. 1 St. Francis Troubadors, 67-64, in the Division II girls championship.

Vallejo’s Ashley Moore led the way for the Apaches with 32 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter. The 32 points gave her 116 for the postseason, good for 3rd all-time. Her free throw with 40 seconds left gave Vallejo a lead of 65-64, an advantange they would not relinquish.

The game got off to a frenetic pace, with both teams looking to take advantage of their speed. Vallejo took a three-point lead after one quarter and closed the half on an 11-4 run to lead by seven.

But St. Francis came out of the break with a renewed energy. Junior guard Jolise Limcaco led the charge on a 12-0 Troubador run to start the second half. The run included back-to-back triples by Limcaco and gave St. Francis a 39-34 lead with 5:30 to play in the third quarter.

“We started too big in the second half,” Vallejo coach Jim Capoot said. “We should have stuck with what was working.”

Capoot quickly corrected the mistake, and Vallejo stormed back to tie the game at 43. In the process, however, Moore picked up her fourth foul and was forced to play conservatively on defense.

Despite some incredulous looks on the court, Moore had no problem being in foul trouble.

“I’ve played with four fouls a lot,” she said.

The game remained tight, and St. Francis pulled ahead late thanks to the hot shooting of Limpcaco. The junior knocked down four three-pointers in the second half alone and finished with a team-high 23 points.

Unfortunately for St. Francis, Limpcaco’s attempt at a fifth long-ball missed with her team down one and just 15 seconds to go. The miss forced the Troubadors to send Vallejo’s Rechel Carter to the line. Carter, who has struggled in recent weeks with her free throws, confidently took the line.

“I got to the line thinking, ‘more follow-through,’” she said. “I’m a rhythm player.”

Carter calmly knocked down both free throws to give her team the three point advantage. St. Francis’ Elizabeth Earley’s three-pointer from the left baseline hit the side of the backboard as time expired, sending the Apaches into celebration mode.

The win earned Vallejo their first championship since 2006. But perhaps more importantly, the win boosted the morale of a city plagued by some recent bad publicity, Capoot said.

“This is a fantastic, positive story for the city of Vallejo,” he said. “I could not be a prouder man than I am today.”

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