Three years after winning the 2019 Division IV state title, the Oakland Tech Women’s Basketball Team finally secured another chance to vie for a spot as State Champions at the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division III level. In the final minutes of a painfully close game on the eleventh of March, Mari Somvichian drilled a three-pointer from the baseline to stretch the point margin to four. Building on that momentum, Taliyah Logwood made a steal and sent the ball to Erin Sellers for an uncontested layup that sealed the game as a decisive Bulldog victory. The championship ended with the Tech Women’s Basketball team prevailing over La Salle-Pasadena with a 39-33 win.
It was the Bulldogs’ second consecutive title and fourth overall. The only remaining players from the last state championship in 2019 are seniors Julia Basch and Marina Tanaka-Wong. In an interview with The Scribe, Mari Somvichian, co-captain of the Women’s Basketball team along with fellow Oakland Tech junior Erin Sellers, emphasizes that both players “really stepped up as leaders this year.” Somvichian also remarks that “what they do might not be on the stats sheet” but that the two athletes “helped [the team] in countless ways this year.”
Until this month, the eleven other players on the team roster had never seen the inside of a state championship stadium. The two-year-long pause induced by the Covid-19 pandemic stalled all league championships. In March of 2020, the Bulldogs stood ready to defend their state title, but the game was canceled when California imposed a stay-at-home order. One year after that, escalating pandemic regulations derailed the full postseason schedule. This month’s win comes multiple seasons later than anticipated, but just in time for the remaining two players from the last official league triumph to pass on the mantle to their teammates.
However, despite back-to-back victories at the state level, the Bulldogs remain a Division III team. Coach Leroy Hurt asserts that his players “should be with the D1 teams,” adding that they “haven’t lost a CIF game since 2018.” Co-captain Somvichian agrees. She maintains that, not only do her teammates go unrecognized at a state level, but also within Oakland Tech: “We all feel like we deserve more recognition. Put some respect on girl’s basketball.”
As the Women’s Basketball team heads into their next season as the only Oakland Tech sports team to ever bring home a state championship title – let alone four – they do so with a multitude of impressive players and a strong sense of community.