Brei Castilleja, a graduate of William Jessup University, will spend her final year of athletic eligibility with the Modesto Junior College women’s basketball team.
So far, the Pirates say, “Thank you.”
The experienced point guard opened the 2013-14 season by pouring in 18 points to lead the Pirates to an impressive 73-41 win over Las Positas of Livermore on Tuesday night at MJC Gym.
Castilleja, a former member of the MJC basketball and softball teams, no doubt enjoyed her return to the Pirates. They jumped out to an 8-0 lead and pulled away to a 43-20 advantage at halftime.
“Our team played well together,” coach Mike Girardi said. “We had unselfish play that led to big points.”
Aaliyah Moore assisted Castilleja with 15 points and Kaitlin Dadalt added 11 in an attack that featured five Pirates scoring at least eight points.
Modesto meets De Anza on Friday at 2 p.m. in the first round of the Mission College Tournament.
MJC will advance to the State Championships after the Pirates placed second at the NorCals at Fig Garden in Fresno. The Pirates, the Big 8 Conference champions, will join NorCal champion Canada at State on Nov. 18-19 at Tracy Country Club. Modesto will be the official host.
MJC, state-bound for the second time in the last three years, was led by freshman Angela Nuccio (82-81_163), who placed sixth individually. Ariel Walsh (91-81_172), who finished 14th, turned in a clutch second round after she missed the last three weeks due to a shoulder injury. The medalist was Shannon Wong of Canada (84-71_165).
“We led (third-place) Napa by only four strokes after the first round, so it was a little nerve-racking,” MJC coach Milan Motroni said. “Angela and Ariel really came through today.”
Canada’s title team features Downey High graduate and sophomore Laura Arellano.
• OAKDALE 3, PATTERSON 0 – Kaitlin Van Ryn had 10 kills and Christina Cobarruvias 14 assists to lead the Mustangs (17-4) past the Tigers 25-8, 25-15, 25-7 in Division III. Fourth-seeded Oakdale hosts No. 5 Rio Americano, which beat Pioneer 3-0.
• LOS BANOS 3, RIPON 0 – Jade Fachin had 18 kills and Veronica Lampreda 12 digs to lead the Tigers to a 25-22, 25-21, 26-24 victory over the Indians in Division IV. Kylie Stevens led Ripon with 17 kills. Los Banos travels to Bear River on Thursday.
• HILMAR 3, SUMMERVILLE 0 – Emily Baptista had 11 kills and Haylee Pearce 32 assists to lead the Yellowjackets over the Bears in Division IV. No. 2-seeded hosts No. 7 Ripon Christian on Thursday. The Knights beat Amador 3-1.
• ESCALON 3, MARIPOSA 0 – Cassidy Caton had eight kills and Taylor Laugero added 23 assists and 13 digs to lead the Cougars to a 26-24 25-10 25-21 victory in Division IV. Fifth-seeded Escalon travels on Thursday to No. 4 seed Calaveras, which beat Union Mine 3-1.