The Piedmont High School girls basketball team recorded an 81-29 win over visiting Lick-Wilmerding-San Francisco on February 18 in their opening game of the North Coast Section Division 4 playoffs.
The top-seeded Highlanders had received a first round bye. They advance to the semifinals on February 22 at home against McKinleyville.
Natalia Martinez scored 25 points for Piedmont, which had five players in double-figures. Eva Levingston and Perseas Gioukaris each scored 12 points, while Trinity Zamora and Madison Hill each had 10.
“I thought the girls did a good job,” Piedmont coach Bryan Gardere said. “I feel you’ve got to come in ready to go, respect everybody and don’t get too ahead of ourselves.”
Gardere said he called a very early timeout because even though the score was 4-4 because the two Tiger baskets came on drives to the right. He had written on the board in the locker room to force Lick-Wilmerding’s players to go left.
“Next thing I knew, it was 20-4,” Gardere said.
It was 23-10 at the end of the first quarter and 46-14 at halftime.
Gardere said Martinez had a standout play in the game.
“Nat made a spin move, finished left and made the crowd go bananas,” he said. “Everybody was going crazy. That was kind of fun to get the reaction.”
Kailee Mahlstedt-Kamekona led the Tigers with 18 points. No one else scored more than five.
The Tigers are a familiar opponent for the Highlanders in the NCS playoffs. Piedmont defeated Lick-Wilmerding in last year’s NCS Division 4 playoffs and fell on the road to the Tigers in 2020.
Gardere said facing teams that have eliminated his teams in the past is a motivating factor.
“We want Marin Catholic,” he said. “We want Lincoln(-Stockton). We were excited about this game too. We respect all of our opponents. We know what a solid program they have.”
Marin Catholic beat Piedmont in the NCS championship last year and Lincoln-Stockton eliminated the Highlanders from the California Interscholastic Federation Division 2 playoffs in 2022.
McKinleyville is a familiar opponent as well for Piedmont, but not as recently. The teams last played at a tournament in December, 2015.