Oakland High School Hoops Section Finals This Saturday

A group of boy basketball players in a heated game
The Oakland Tech boys defeated McClymonds in the section semifinals on Wednesday. Photo by Tony Daquipa.

Both the Oakland and North Coast Section playoff tournaments will come to a conclusion this weekend. 

In the Oakland section finals, the Oakland Tech girls look to stay undefeated within the city limits playing against AIMS College Prep, and the boys game will feature an epic third meeting between Tech and Oakland High. The Bishop O’Dowd girls face Moreau Catholic of Hayward in the North Coast Section Finals in Dublin this Saturday at 5pm. 

The Oakland community has been enjoying the final run of an incredible senior class at multiple schools, and these two games at Fremont High this Saturday at 5pm will likely be the final opportunity to see so many of them under one roof.

Oakland Technical High School teams swept the Oakland Athletic League (OAL), winning both the girls and boys titles. After sweeping the Oakland section tournament last year, both Tech teams went undefeated in league play this season, and both are in the #1 seed. 

Oakland Section Girls: Oakland Tech Lady Bulldogs Face AIMS College Prep Charter School’s Lady Eagles on Saturday

A group of basketball girls players listen to a male coach give instructions
Oakland Tech girls coach Leroy Hurt instructs freshman forward Jhai Johnson and senior guard Nia Hunter during halftime of the team’s section semifinal victory over Castlemont on Wednesday. Photo by Tony Daquipa.

After a first round bye, the Oakland Tech girls defeated Castlemont 85-14 in the section semifinals on Wednesday. With a 24-5 overall record, the Lady Bulldogs have won their last 12 games, and won all eight of their league games by an average of 61 points. The only Bay Area teams that head coach Leroy Hurt’s squad have lost to this season are Salesian and Archbishop Mitty, neither of whom stand in between Tech and another Oakland section title.

The reigning state champs feature six seniors: Jada Williams, Erin Sellers, Jala Williams, Mari Somvichian, Nia Hunter, and Sophia Askew-Goncalves. These seniors have only lost one OAL game in their high school careers, and they haven’t lost a postseason game at all. These seniors have won back-to-back NorCal titles (the 2020 state title game was canceled, and there was no post season at all in 2021), and are looking for their third. Sellers was this year’s OAL Most Valuable Player, and Hunter and Somvichian made the All-OAL first team as well.

Tech will face AIMS College Prep’s Lady Eagles, the Bay Area Charter league champions who defeated Oakland High 72-62 in the section semifinals. Head Coach Nita Simpson led the Lady Eagles to a 16-4 overall record, and an 8-0 league record. The Lady Eagles beat the Skyline Titans in the section quarterfinals. They are led by senior sharpshooter Hana Essubalew.

Oakland High Boys Team to Face Reigning Oakland Section Champs Oakland Tech this Saturday 

Like the Lady Bulldogs, the Oakland Tech boys are the reigning Oakland section champs, and the current OAL champs as well. They had a very tough non-conference schedule early in the season, so their 17-11 regular season record may not look that impressive, but it was a grind that should have them prepared for the challenges ahead. 

After a first round bye, coach Karega Hart’s squad beat McClymonds in the semifinals.

There are nine seniors on this year’s team: Ahmaree Muhamad, Cairo Hart, Mahlik Smith, Dallas Sanford, Donovan Malone, Dino Daley, Sean Hyunh, Devin Haynes, and Omar Staples, Jr. 

Muhammad was this year’s league MVP. Staples and sophomore guard Ardarius Gates made the All-OAL first team as well. Staples, a four year letterman in basketball who will play football at Stanford next year, lost only two OAL games in his entire high school hoops career. 

The Oakland High boys finished in second place in the OAL, after sharing the league title with Tech last year. The Oakland High Wildcats had a first round bye, and then beat the Fremont Tigers in the section semifinals. Orlando Watkins, in his 18th year as head coach, led the Wildcats to a 21-7 record during the regular season, and went 8-2 in league play. Their only OAL losses were both nailbiters to Tech, whom the Wildcats also lost to in last year’s section finals.

It cannot be overstated how huge this rematch between Oakland High and Oakland Tech in the section finals will be.

In addition to four-year varsity players Joshua Clark and Te’Shawn Gamble, the O-High boys feature five other senior players: Money Williams, Jimon Campbell, Pierre Stevenson, Desmond West, and Jaylon King. Senior guards Gamble and Williams made the All-OAL first team.

O’Dowd Girls Make North Coast Section Finals

Close up of championships flag
The Bishop O’Dowd Dragons beat Casa Grande 61-19 to reach the NCS Division 2 finals. Photo by Tony Daquipa.

Elsewhere in Oakland, Bishop O’Dowd, a private school, is seeing their girls team off to the North Coast Section Finals. (O’Dowd is not a part of the Oakland section).

The O’Dowd girls finished the regular season with a 15-8 overall record. They finished second in the Western Alameda County – Foothill league with an 8-2 record. Coach Malik McCord’s squad won their Division 2 first round game in the North Coast Section playoffs at Jesse Bethel of Vallejo, then defeated Ukiah in the quarterfinals. They beat Casa Grande of Petaluma 61-19 in the semifinals, and will play Moreau Catholic of Hayward in the NCS finals on Saturday. The Moreau Catholic boys defeated the O’Dowd boys last Friday in the NCS Division 1 quarterfinals.

McCord has led the Dragons to six state title games, winning four of them. 

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All three section final games featuring Oakland teams are this Saturday. The North Coast Section girls Division 2 game will feature  Bishop O’Dowd hosting Moreau Catholic of Hayward at Dublin High School at 5pm. The Oakland Section finals will be at Fremont High School: Oakland Tech girls will host AIMS College Prep at 5pm, and the Oakland Tech boys will host Oakland High at 7:30pm.   

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Tony Daquipa is a dad, essential bureaucrat, photographer, urban cyclist, union thug, wannabe stonemason, karaoke diva, grumpy old man, storyteller, and preserver of history.

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