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Oakland girls, Daijha Teague answers early call, beats Montgomery for state D5 championship

Teague nears triple double, Wildcats win their second state title in five years and first for first-year coach

SACRAMENTO — Oakland girls basketball coach Nita Simpson had a simple message to her team and anyone who stepped in the way of the Wildcats. 

"We're coming after you," she said. 

From the team's first practice, Simpson presented the state-title carrot and the Wildcats obliged with a sterling 56-50 Division 5 championship victory over first-time title-game participant Montgomery-San Diego Friday at Golden 1 Center. 

The Wildcats (23-10) rebounded from defeat to league rival and five-time state champion Oakland Tech in the Oakland Section finals to win four straight games while taking their second state title in five years. 

Photo: Dennis Lee

Daijha Teague (3), Oakland

They can largely thank the all-around efforts of senior guard Deijha Teague, a dynamic 5-foot-7 senior who had 15 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks. 

"We got to see her all her tools today," Simpson said. 

She had a lot of help from freshman sharpshooter Tyliana Velasquez, who drilled four 3-pointers for 12 points and 6-foot junior post Ojiugo Egeonu (15 points, 17 rebounds, seven blocks). 

It helped offset a big games down low for Montgomery (25-12) from Paula Zumstein (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Jordan Whitehead (14 points). Cary Brown added 12 rebounds and seven assists. 

But everytime the Montgomery made a run, Teague seemed to make a big steal, rebound or bucket. 

"All my points came because of the work of my teammates," Teague said. 

Paula Zumstein (32), Montgomery is guarded closely by Ojiugo Egeonu (25)

Paula Zumstein (32), Montgomery is guarded closely by Ojiugo Egeonu (25)

It was consistent to the mantra Simpson preached throughout the season and players wore on the sweatshirts: "Me versus me." 

"It wasn't about playing Montgomery today or any of the teams we played," she said. "We just worry about what we do." 

Both teams came out hot, making the game's first five shots. Montgomery eventually cooled off considerably, making just 16 of 61 from the field (26.2%) while Oakland was 25 of 65 (38.5%). 

"We played well but didn't make plays or make our free throws down the stretch," Montgomery coach Bracy Smith said. "I'm proud of our girls and have been every time we go out." 

Montgomery vs Oakland CIF D5 Final March 8, 2024 Photo-Dennis Lee13