The No. 1 team in the nation wants Amat, and they want them bad .. But don’t expect the miracle on wood, even with our Woodenish coach

During the playoffs, this same St. Mary’s person leaves a comment at the end of Amat game stories. Why the No. 1 team in the nation wants Amat so bad is curious. But here’s a hint, this is the third time they will meet in the state finals, St. Mary’s won in 2004, Amat avenged it a year later in 2005. Now I get it, but like I told coach Wiard, Hickory had a better shot than they do…

Very nice article, this is going to be one heck of a game. Even before you guys lost to Inglewood in the sectionals I knew you would be playing us for the state title. Your game has changed, and you deserve to be where you are today. Now get ready for a game unlike any you have ever seen. In a recent game we kept the opponent from crossing midcourt for nearly three minutes. But enough of that, weve seen each other before. See you Saturday, we’ll be the team cutting down the nets. Were waiting for you….
— St. Mary’s of Stockton #1 in the USA

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
The celebration is over for the Bishop Amat High School girls basketball team, and justifiably so.
The Lancers won the CIF Southern California Division III championship last Saturday with an upset of Inglewood. That’s the good news. The bad news is St. Mary’s of Stockton (33-1) comes calling in the state title game and that’s reason enough to end any party early. “I’d say we’re a decided underdog,” Bishop Amat coach Richard Wiard said after beginning his research on St. Mary’s, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation by several publications. “They’re averaging 82 points per game. I don’t think we’ve scored 82 points in a game all year.”

Amat’s been on a tear since the state playoffs started. After being booted from the CIF-Southern Section semis by Inglewood, the Lancers (27-7) have been an upset machine.

Amat avenged the Inglewood loss by stunning the Sentinels in Saturday’s regional final at Galen Center.

Before that, Amat posted upsets on the road over Santa Margarita and Agoura.

“I think we’re playing better and with more confidence,” Wiard said. “Every victory we get adds to that.

“We’re going to need all the confidence we can get going into Saturday. But at least we’re playing our best basketball at the right time of year.”

Amat’s victory over Inglewood has been the biggest stunner in the Lancers’ run. Inglewood had little trouble with Amat in the first meeting, beating the Lancers by 15 points
in a game that wasn’t close after halftime. But last Saturday the Sentinels saw a different group of Lancers.

“I did feel like we could beat them,” Wiard said. “I felt that way for two reasons. Number one is that we’re playing better now than we did when we played before. And No. 2 is that we were playing with more confidence than we had back then because we were able to beat Santa Margarita and Agoura.”

Arielle Wideman and Leticia Galarza led Amat with 17 points apiece. Andrea Villanueva pitched in with her usual strong defense.

The Lancers got late free throws from Villanueva and Galarza to take a two-point lead before Inglewood tried to tie or take the lead on its final possession. Villanueva and Michelle Yamamoto forced Inglewood’s star point guard Hazel Ramirez to pass the ball rather than taking the final shot. Inglewood missed and Vianai Austin got the rebound to secure the victory.

As good as Amat’s defense was Saturday, Wiard knows his team will be tested more than ever by a St. Mary’s team that boasts two McDonald’s All-Americans in Chelsea Gray and Afure Jemerigbe.

Gray will play at Duke next season and is the Parade National Player of the Year. Jemerigbe will play at Cal.

Saturday’s state final will be the third time in seven years that Amat’s played St. Mary’s for the state title. The Lancers lost to St. Mary’s in 2004 but beat them in 2005 to complete a 35-0 season. Those games were at Arco Arena in Sacramento. Amat won’t have to travel nearly as far on Saturday when the teams meet at Cal-State Bakersfield.

“I hope that helps us,” Wiard said of playing closer to home. “I know that when we played them in the past they had just played their regional at Arco and their CIF final there a week before that.

“So they were playing their third straight game at Arco when we were playing our first.”

626-962-8811, ext. 2242

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  • Upsets happen

    Be careful of what you wish for Stockton St. Mary’s anything can happen. You still must play the game first. Amat will be charged and have no pressure on them, the pressure is on you St. Mary’s 33-1. The unthinkable may happen, it happens all the time in sports. Lets Go Lancers!

  • Trojan Man

    Bishop Amat has a chance , a SLIM one BUT A CHANCE! Go KICK SOME A$$ !!!


  • Joe Amat

    Trojan Man,

    So you’re tellin’ me there’s a chance!?!”

    Go get ’em Lancers

  • Joe Amat

    Trojan Man,

    So you’re tellin’ me there’s a chance!?!”

    Go get ’em Lancers

  • jcaz

    Hum…..The last time a guy named Hickory went into battle, the odds were pretty much stacked against him as well.

    But if memory serves me well, Old Hickory (Andrew Jackson), did pretty well against those Brits in the battle of New Orleans a while back.

    Dont count out my Lady Lancers. There one tough bunch !


    Hey Fred

    I guess the Lady Lancers should just stay home because St. Mary’s has two McDonald’s All Americans and bla bla bla. The Lady Lancers will be showing up and Wiard will have those girls ready to play regardless. They have nothing to lose. This is the best time to be an Amat Lancer because these young ladies have worked their butts off to get to Bakersfield and they have displayed what it takes to be a Lancer. Their the pride of the sg valley right now. With no post player and very little talent, they defeated the odds. Win or lose lady Lancers, you will still be the pride & joy of the area, and the banner will fit real nice next to the other banners. Mighty our the women who wear the blue & Gold.

  • What an incredible group !

    Fred that video sucks. The video that’s more appropriate is Herb Brooks speech to the “Miracle on Ice” USA team before they played the “unebeatable” Soviet Hockey team in the Lake Placid Olympics.

    “They might beat us 9 out of ten times…but not today!”

    That’s the attitude you need when you play teams that are bigger, faster and stronger than you…. “not today!”

    That’s why “we play the game”….that’s why we get up every morning and “go to work”…that’s why we “practice, practice, practice” …for that moment when all things come together.

    The scoreboard has nothing to do with winning and losing…nothing at all. BIshop Amat’s Basketball team has already won…now all they have to do is “outscore” the other team. Understand that…and you’ll understand what separates the winners from the whiners.

    State Championship…!!!!

  • Lancer 2002

    Even if The Lady Lancers should come up empty vs St. Mary’s they have upset some pretty good higher seeded teams along the way and deserve to be where they are at in Bakersfield. Coach Wiard is a great tactician and wins with adjustments and smarts but sometimes that is not good enough to get it done when the talent on the other side is superior. He will keep it close and possibly win but make no mistake if our Lancers lose a Runner up state finalist Banner is nothing to sneeze at, it is quite an accomplishment. Good Luck Ladies.

  • Parent

    To: What an incredible group ! said:

    I really like what you wrote from Herb Brooks or if it was you. I will have my daughter relay this speech to the rest of team. Also you are right “WOW” State Championship” Nobody thought they could do it. Thanks

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