by Khristan Antoine (with stats by East Bay Preps)
The McClymonds Lady Warriors made history last week.
On Wednesday, seeded No. 4, they face Armijo in the first round of Division 1 CIF state basketball tournament at Oakland Tech at 6pm. The boys’ team, seeded No. 5 plays against Santa Teresa-San Jose at 7:30 pm, also at Tech.
The Lady Warriors won the Oakland Section Championship for the first time in 37 years, beating rival Oakland Tech 47-40 at Merritt College.
“It’s a moment we’ll never forget for the rest of our lives,” said coach Dennis Flannery, holding the trophy with his team. “The whole team worked hard on conditioning and focus. We are 12.”
Its 26 wins made it the Lady Warriors team with the most wins in the school’s history.
McClymonds had eight 3-pointers in the game, including three by Gabby Gaines and three by Ahjahna Coleman. It was always ahead, with the smallest lead 44-40 with 16 seconds left.
Breannie Robinson had a game-high 12 rebounds and Romanalyn Inocencio passed for 8 assists.
The celebration was loud and fun, as Gaines declared, “We f***ing GO!” and everyone posed with the huge trophy.
“It’s nice to bring it [the title] back to Mack House,” said Flannery.
After the girls’ game, Merritt College filled up quickly for the Warriors’ standing-room-only game against Oakland High.
That game was closer — with McClymonds winning 52-49. It was far more dramatic, as the Warriors (20-7 and undefeated in OAL play) trailed 24-27 at halftime. They were trailing 44-49 once again with over 2 minutes to play, when senior Tahjee Williams picked up a steal, shot a layup, was fouled and made the free throw. He later picked off another pass that led to a 3-pointer by Mike Walker to give Mack the lead.
Williams (the league’s most valuable player) scored a game-high 21 points, drawing chants of M-V-P from the crowd at the end of the game.
“The pressure on defense turned the game around,” said coach Brandon Brooks. “I didn’t know that we would win until 3 seconds were left on the clock.”
The boys’ team, seeded No. 5, faces Santa Teresa-San Jose (17-11) on Wednesday night at Oakland Tech in Division 1 of the CIF Northern Regional Playoffs.