It will be a tough test for the team that swept through the Santa Cruz Athletic League with a 12-0 record, including a 69-30 win over St. Francis to win the league tournament on Saturday, Feb. 22.
The Falcons will take part in the 8-team CCS Open Division tournament after being voted into the Open Division by the nine league representatives, rather than seeded in the Division IV tournament. This signifies them as one of the top 8 teams in CCS.
“I think it’s great,” said Head Coach Jim Hart. “For a small Division IV public school to be (in the open division) is a real feat. I think it’s a representation of how good we are.”
The Falcons, who are seeded 6th will face Archbishop Mitty, a traditional powerhouse, in the first round.
The game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28 at Christopher High School. Mitty has a 16-10 record, but is seeded third based on strength of schedule and their roster, which features Kelli Hayes a 6-foot guard who has committed to play for University of California, Los Angeles next season.
Hayes averaged 19.9 points and 7.9 rebounds for Mitty this season.
“She’s one of the top-rated players in the nation,” Hart said.
She will not be a surprise for the Falcons, however, as many of the players have faced her in recent years, Hart said.
Scotts Valley will rely on their full-court pressure defense, which they have utilized to score many easy buckets this season.
The Falcons are led by seniors Nadene Hart and Angela Silver. Hart averaged 16.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists and Silver 15 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists.
The most telling stat may be steals. Scotts Valley averaged 26.6 per contest with Hart and Silver each nabbing 5 per game.
Also coming on late in the season were sophomore point guard Nikiya Bechtel and freshman forward Sam Boyle, Hart said. Bechtel has run the team well from the guard position and Boyle has put up consistent scoring and rebounding numbers each night.
If the Falcons get past Mitty, they would likely face No. 2 seed St. Ignatius on Tuesday which finished 22-4 including a 72-55 win over Scotts Valley on December 21. An opening round loss would also have them play on Tuesday — likely at home in Scotts Valley against Eastside College Prep.
The Open Division tournament is a double-elimination affair, and all eight team automatically qualify for the state tournament. Scotts Valley will play in Division IV and begin play on March 12.
“It extends our season into the state tournament and I think we really have an excellent shot at doing well,” he said.