After earning its first bid into the Northern California bracket of the CIF State Basketball Championships last weekend, the Terra Nova High School girls’ basketball team isn’t resting despite a first-round bye. Instead, the club is focusing on its defense for Saturday’s second-round matchup.
“[We’re] working on help defense, taking charges,” Terra Nova coach Kareem Summerville said. “At this point in the season, it’s all about defense.”
Terra Nova has grown with a trio of NCAA Division I-bound seniors.
“They lead by example,” Summerville said.
Terilyn Moe, who will be attending Nevada next year, was named the Peninsula Athletic League Player of the Year after averaging 21 points, 4.7 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game.
Ivonne Cook-Taylor, who is averaging a double-double with 14.4 points and 13.4 rebounds, is on her way to Texas Tech in the fall.
Jayzyl Tauala, who averages 13 points and shot 38 percent from 3-point range, will be staying close to home while attending San Jose State.
“They work very well together. I’m very happy with the way they’ve matured over the years,” Summerville said. “They count on each other. They motivate each other. That’s what got us to the point we’re at this year.”
The Tigers were the top seed and lost in the final of the Central Coast Section Division III playoffs to Sacred Heart Cathedral 61-56 this past weekend. It would have been their first CCS title since 1997.
“The girls worked very hard against Sacred Heart Cathedral,” Summerville said. “We played a lot of good teams. They’re having fun, enjoying it.”
Summerville said his team got away from playing at its normal fast pace, but is working on fixing that this week.
He said the players want to get back to an up-tempo offense, but knows they have to be balanced to be successful.
“If you lose, you take something from it,” Summerville said. “They worked hard for the past three years to get to this point.”
The Tigers are the fourth seed in the NorCal playoffs and will host the winner of Modesto Christian and Acalanes this weekend. The Tigers played Modesto Christian back on Dec. 22 and won a tight game 71-68.
Three wins would put Terra Nova in the NorCal final on March 17 at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento.
“We got to a point where we were winning championships,” Summerville said. “This is it for them.”