Jordan Lee of St. Mary's-Stockton goes up against Salesian's Naveah Asiasi in Saturday's non-league matchup between two of Northern California's top teams. Salesian won 69-60.
Scott Giorgianni/Prep2Prep

First half key as Salesian tops St. Mary's-Stockton

January 30, 2022

RICHMOND, Calif. – Makiah Asidanya scored 25 points and Salesian showed early dominance against one of the state’s best teams in a 69-60 victory over visiting St. Mary’s-Stockton in a Saturday matinee. Nevaeh Asiasi added 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals, and Sofia Fidelus chipped in 13 points with four assists for the Pride.

“When we play together like we did today, anyone can step up,” Salesian coach Steve Pezzola said, noting Nyana Asiasi’s play as key in addition to the headliners. “We played 11 today. We need all 11.”

“We let Salesian be the aggressor from the tip,” St. Mary’s coach Alle Moreno stated. “In these kinds of games you have to show up. When you’re on the road and you’re playing a very good team like Salesian you have to do that for 32 minutes.”

Salesian (12-4) had an 8-1 lead three minutes into the game, led 20-7 after one, and 35-16 at halftime as St. Mary’s-Stockton was unable to find a rhythm offensively, had trouble stopping the Pride’s balanced attack, and was outshot from the three-point line 4-0. Sophomore Jordan Lee provided the majority of the first half scoring for St. Mary’s (12-6) and finished with a team-high 23 points.

In the third quarter, however, the Rams looked sharp and the scoreboard showed it as they went on a 14-5 run to close the deficit to 10. Though Salesian responded with a quick 6-0 burst, St. Mary’s stayed within reach.

“We just started pressuring like we normally pressure,” Moreno added. “Once they realized, ‘Hey, I gotta go now,’ they just started playing like they normally do.”

With 28 seconds left, a steal and court-long pass resulted in a layup, shaving the advantage to five. Lee came up with another theft and drove coast-to-coast, only to narrowly miss on the other end. Free throws then put the game away.

“We had too many turnovers in the fourth quarter, but we finally made the free throws when it really, really mattered,” Pezzola remarked. “The Folsom game [at the Sabrina Ionescu Showcase last weekend] hurt us. We didn’t play together. Tonight we came out and played together. St. Mary’s-Stockton’s a great team.”

Asidanya had 11 of her total, and Fidelus six of her total, in the fourth quarter in a game in which center Silivia Fonongaloa did not play due to illness. For St. Mary’s, Brooklyn Perry added 17 points, with 16 in the second half off the strength of four three-pointers. Nia Anderson tallied 11 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

Last season, St. Mary’s defeated Salesian 69-50 in Stockton. Lee, Perry, and Anderson had combined for 53 in that contest, just two more than in Saturday’s game. In the 2021 match, current SF State Gator Ally Alvarado and Fonongaloa went for a combined total of 31.

“They’ll bounce back from this game,” Moreno concluded. “They’re one of the most competitive groups I’ve been around from college to high school.”

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