In a thrilling contest that went down to the final few seconds, the unseeded Hawks stunned the No. 10 seed Wolves 29-25 in the opening round of the Division V playoffs. To some, the performance wasn’t that much of a surprise though, given Oakwood’s impressive 10-4 record in the Mission Trail Athletic League Coastal Division. That strong performance catapulted them into this CCS championship tournament.
And while its first test could have been a heartbreaker, thanks to Oakwood’s fortitude, it ended in a heart stopper. Oakwood junior and team captain Jade Bautista ran her squad all night long, but ultimately, decision-time came down to her. As the game’s top scorer with 11 points, it certainly made sense that with time ticking away, the ball came her way. With less than a minute to go, Bautista glanced at the clock, stood just inside the 3-point arc and drained the shot, putting the game back into Oakwood’s hands. A three-year member of the varsity team, Bautista knew that it was all on her to keep the team’s CCS dreams alive.
“I saw the time, we were kind of down and short,” she said. “I knew we needed at least one shot or at least a free throw to get it and my first instinct was just to shoot. I got the open look so I just went for it.”
When the shot went in, no one looked more relieved than Oakwood coach Isaac Berniker, who had been animated on the sideline for the duration of the game, rallying his team to one of the most impressive wins in school history, despite a shaky start.
“I think that at the beginning of the game, everyone was a little amped up, a little bit jittery,” Berniker said. “There was a lot of energy in the gym from the crowd, they were playing at a very fast tempo. Both teams were just amped up and it took a while to get into the flow of the game. But then we just kind of settled in and played our style of basketball and luckily it was enough.”
Freshman Lydia Sattler was perhaps the most dominant player from either team, putting in another double-digit performance in rebounds and points. Still, Sattler did acknowledge the differences between high school varsity basketball and what she had been used to playing.
“It’s a faster paced game,” she said. “It made me learn a new, different game style than I was used to in middle school. I’ve just improved my game, escalated and grown.”
That may be the understatement of the year from Sattler as she’s gone from an aspiring starter to star player over the course of just one season, and yet she still says she has plenty to learn.
“I need to work on my conditioning, I know that,” she said. “But also just my ball handling and talking more. It’s an amazing game for high school and I always keep on learning.”
That attitude, along with her athletic prowess, definitely impressed Berniker, who said, “Lydia is such an athlete, she has a competitive spirit which is something you can’t necessarily teach. Towards the end of the game we kind of called one play and she kind of changed it and wanted to take a clutch shot and I’m just glad she’s on our team.”