Branson High School-Ross beat Piedmont in the North Coast Section Division 4 semifinals, racing to a 57-32 win on February 20 at College of Marin.
“It was one of those nights when we needed to play very well,” Piedmont coach Mike Hudson said. “You have to play your A game. You’ve got to play a perfect game. We had to be good in all phases. You have to shoot well, rebound well, play sound defense. Branson played its A game. That team was as good as advertised.”
“Our team was very disappointed with our performance (against Branson),” Hudson said. “We have to keep it in perspective,” adding that the team was looking forward to playing in the state tournament.
Luke Barrett led Piedmont in scoring with 10 points against the Bulls. DaRon Benson added eight points, and Luke Harris had four.
Branson (28-2) jumped out from the beginning, taking a 14-6 lead after the first quarter and extending it to 28-11 at halftime. The Bulls had three players in double-figures: Peyton Mullarkey and Kwentyn Wiggins led the way with 12 points apiece and Viktor Rajkovic scored 10. Branson advanced to the NCS championship game on February 22 against Fortuna.
Piedmont qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation championships by making the NCS semifinals – the top four teams in each division qualify. The Highlanders (19-9) will await their seeding, which will be announced on February 24. First round games are scheduled for February 26-27. The CIF tournament changed formats last year and now ignores enrollment divisions. Instead, the top 16 teams in Northern and Southern California are seeded into Division 1 of the Northern and Southern regionals, the next 16 teams in each region into Division 2, etc. Last year, the Highlanders came up one game short of the state tournament, losing in the NCS quarterfinals.