Pressure defense and clutch free throw shooting propel Stuart Hall past University 65-48 in the North Coast Section Championships.
Stuart Hall (22-7) held BCL-West rival University (26-4) to a season-low 48 points at Kezar Pavilion on February 25, advancing to the NCS semifinals for the fourth year in a row.
Miles Amos, who did most of his damage at the line, paced fifth-seeded Stuart Hall with 27 points, including 15 made free throws in the final period to seal the win. Senior Darna Stewart added 17 points for Stuart Hall.
"Free throws have been a real problem for us," says Charley Johnson, Stuart Hall High School athletics director and varsity basketball coach. "I am glad the extra effort at practice is paying off."
In addition to advancing to the NCS semifinals, Stuart Hall guaranteed itself a spot in the Northern California playoffs.
The Knights go on the road next to face St. Joseph Notre Dame (28-1) on March 1 in a rematch of last year's NCS semifinals. Both teams have moved up one division since then to compete in the Division IV bracket. Top-seeded St. Joseph Notre Dame has rattled off 26 straight wins, including a non-league defeat of Stuart Hall on January 14.
As the No. 4 seed in last year's NCS tournament, the Knights won two games before making a run to the CIF State Northern California finals for the first time in school history. Stuart Hall claimed its first NCS basketball title two years ago.
"Four straight years in the state tourney is quite an accomplishment," Charley says. "I am so happy for my guys and our school."
Photo credit: Michael Hong