CIF Saturday Boys BB Championships
March, 24, 2012
By Mark Tennis & Ronnie Flores | ESPN.com
Willie Eashman/ESPNHSAlemany's Malik Anderson battles Sacred Heart Cathedral's Taylor Johns for position.Behind 30 points from Katin Reinhardt, Mater Dei beats Sheldon in D1 final and gets state record ninth championship for coach Gary McKnight. Alemany also completes quest with D3 victory while Village Christian upends defending champ for first D5 crown.
The CIF Division I, Division III and Division V state title games in boys basketball were played at Power Balance Arena in Sacramento. The Division II and Division IV titles were decided on Friday (click here for writeups).
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 66, Sheldon (Sacramento) 48
Two hours after Mater Dei girls’ coach Kevin Kiernan became the winningest in CIF history, boys’ coach Gary McKnight topped even that by earning his ninth and the program’s second in a row.
McKnight, who began coaching the team in 1983, broke the state record of eight set in 1997 by retired Crenshaw of Los Angeles coach Willie West.
"It's special, but again, I've had a lot of people help me along the way,” McKnight said. “I hope to get another opportunity, but you never now."
"My teammates and I are honored to play on a team that gave Coach his ninth state title,” said forward Stanley Johnson. “It's special to play on this team because it’s the second time in Mater Dei history to win back-to-back state titles.”
Mater Dei’s sweep of boys and girls titles for the second year in a row also tied the state record. The only other school to accomplish the boys-girls sweep for two consecutive seasons was Branson of Ross, which did it in Division V in 2007 and 2008. The school’s 67 combo wins (boys & girls) did set a state record, topping the previous mark of 66 it piled up last season.
Not all of the record-setting was done in the school and team categories, either.
Monarch senior Katin Reinhardt completed a remarkable post-season – one that for a few days was thought to perhaps be over due to a thumb injury that was taped up Saturday – by pouring in 30 points. He accounted for 18 of those points by making a CIF Division I state title game record six 3-pointers. That broke the previous record of five set in 1996 by Alastair Faux of Crenshaw and tied in 2004 by Joe Shipp from Fairfax of Los Angeles.
“Thank God, if I wouldn't have taken time to get a second opinion (on his thumb), I wouldn't have played,” Reinhardt said. “The doctor told me I can play with a soft cast and it's legal. I just said I'm going to put it on and give it a shot. It feels great to end the season like this.”
“He can do that anytime,” McKnight said of his UNLV-bound senior. “I feel he has a legitimate chance to make the league one day. I mean he's playing with a broken thumb. Two weeks ago, I thought our season might be coming to a quick end.”
Reinhardt began his assault on the Huskies after badly missing on his first 3-point attempt. The next one was on the money and so was the one after that. He also scored twice on floaters in the lane, which helped the Monarchs edge out to a lead in the first half.
Sheldon stayed close behind the shooting of senior forward Kyiron Thomas. He nailed three deep bombs for three points, the third one in the second quarter that cut the lead to 26-25.
The Huskies tied the score at 27-27 on two free throws by junior guard D’Erryl Williams. Mater Dei answered by scoring the final six points of the half, started on a short jumper by junior forward Elijah Brown and ended on the fourth 3-pointer of the half by Reinhardt.
Sheldon hung around in the third quarter and was within 46-40 early in the fourth period after a basket by Chris Haney. Mater Dei then put the win on ice by going on a 11-0 run. Reinhardt made his sixth 3-pointer in that spurt along with two free throws and another basket.
"We got into foul trouble and we missed some easy shots too, but fouls were the difference,” said Sheldon coach Joey Rollings. “We couldn't get a call but every time they drove they shot free throws."
Johnson, Mater Dei’s State Sophomore of the Year contender, had two free throws and a basket in the 11-0 run as well. He finished with 21 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
Xavier Johnson, the Monarchs’ other major honors candidate and heading to Colorado, only scored seven points. He missed a major portion of the second half, however, on a bizarre situation in which he was called for his fourth foul and then an immediate fifth foul on a technical.
Thomas ended with 12 points for Sheldon, but was topped for team honors by Williams, who had 13.
The Huskies could be back as a highly-ranked team next year with Williams back along with junior guard Dakarai Allen and injured guard Armani Hampton.
"I'm real proud of these kids,” Rollings added. “I thought we had a good showing. No Sacramento team's been here is such a long time."
Alemany (Mission Hills) 71,
Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 67
In a game pitting two teams from the state's two best boys' basketball leagues, it came as no surprise that the battle-tested clubs went back-and-forth.
In the end, the league champions from SoCal's Mission League of the CIF Southern Section bested the third-place finisher from NorCal's West Catholic Athletic League of the CIF Central Coast Section.
The game wasn't clinched until Alemany's Marqueze Coleman canned two free throws with 9.5 seconds remaining to account for the game's final two points.
On Sacred Heart Cathedral's previous possession, the Fightin' Irish looked to tie the game. Sophomore Deondre Otis attempted a runner that bounced off the rim straight up and teammate Taylor Johns was able to get a hand on it. His tip-in rolled around the rim for what seemed like an eternity and because of it a teammate mistimed his jump and Coleman was able to secure the rebound before he was fouled.
"There was no way we were going to lose this game on an offensive rebound," said Coleman, who scored a game-high 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting, came up with two steals and grabbed nine rebounds. "When I went to the line, all I thought was make these two and the game is over."
In the first half, Sacred Heart Cathedral (28-6) controlled the game as Alemany was in foul trouble. The Warriors' Jerico Richardson, a Grid-Hoop All-Stater bound for UCLA on a football scholarship, picked up his third foul with 5:08 remaining in the second quarter. He never got into the flow of the game and didn't score.
Coleman made up for Richardson's normal output, but he was in foul trouble himself. He picked up his third foul with 4:17 remaining in the second period and The Fightin' Irish leading 27-23. Sacred Heart Cathedral took advantage and had a eight-point halftime lead (40-32).
The tide was completely reversed after intermission.
"We got out a bit of character in the third quarter," said Sacred Heart Cathedral coach Darrell Barbour, whose program made its third championship game appearance, wining in 2009 in Division III and losing in Division IV in 2006. "We rushed our offense, took too many jumpers and as a result we got in foul trouble. That was the key to the game."
Alemany, which came in ranked No. 5 in the state, outscored No. 11 Sacred Heart Cathedral 23-11 in the pivotal third quarter.
Coleman's two-handed dunk with 2:36 remaining gave Alemany (33-4) a 50-49 lead and moments later senior guard Max Guercy (19 points, 3 steals) nailed a jumper to give the Warriors a three-point lead. The game went back-and-fourth the rest of the way until Coleman's heroics at the end.
"We got some stops, but they kept coming back; I wasn't surprised by that," Barbour said. "I think No. 1 (Coleman) is their best player, but No. 10 (Guercy) is a stud. He can play for me right now."
Sacred Heart Cathedral had four players in double figures, led by senior forward Joshua Fox, who netted 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Senior wing Tyler Petroni made three timely 3-point baskets and finished with 15 points. Johns contributed 13 points, two blocks, two steals and 19 rebounds, but he was SHC's main player in foul trouble in the second half. He had 14 rebounds at halftime and 16 when he picked up his third foul with 4:54 remaining in the third period. He grabbed three the rest of the way.
"We kept Johns off the offensive glass in the second half," said Alemany coach Tray Meeks, who directed a team that won the school's first state title since the school opened in 1957. "What a tale of two halves. Our goal was to get stops coming out of the half and we got six. We went from being down eight points to being up one or two.
"This game was a great atmosphere. It was great for our kids and our fans."
With its victory, Alemany became the second straight boys' program from the San Fernando Valley to capture a state crown, following Village Christian of Sun Valley in Division V. They were also the third consecutive team from the CIF Southern Section to win in this division following La Verne Lutheran and Gardena Serra.
Village Christian (Sun Valley) 62, St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) 51
This contest between the defending champions from the San Francisco Bay Area and an upstart from the San Fernando Valley was a hard-fought affair. In the end, the taller, more athletic team came away with the victory.
Those long bodies played a big role in St. Joseph shooting 29 percent (16-for-56) from the field. Coach Don Lippi's club from Alameda played its typical hard-nosed game even though the shots weren't falling, as Village Christian's Jon Shaw can't remember the last time his team was out-rebounded (43-32), but every time St. Joseph made a push Village Christian made a big basket to keep the Pilots at bay.
The player who stepped up and put the dagger in the hearts of the St. Joe faithful was senior Joe Shashaty. He took only took four field goal attempts, all 3-pointers, but made all four to help Village Christian become the first San Fernando Valley team to win in this division since Montclair Prep of Van Nuys in 1995.
The two biggest Shashaty triples came midway through the fourth quarter with Village Christian (33-3) clinging to a 47-43 lead. His back-to-back bombs from the same spot near the right wing, the second coming with 3:35 remaining, gave the Crusaders a 53-45 lead.
"He (Shashaty) has an unbelievable steel mindset that every shot is going in," Shaw said.
"I never could've dreamed of something like this happening," Shashaty said.
Village Christian was able to stay in control in the second half despite the major foul trouble of leading scorer Bryan Alberts. The 6-foot-5 sophomore, who finished with a game-high of 17 points, picked up his third foul with 7:05 remaining in the second quarter.
St. Joseph trailed by only two points (37-35) entering the fourth quarter, as sophomore Temidayo Yussef put in a follow up shot with a few ticks left in the third quarter after a major scrum for the ball. It gave the Pilots momentum going into the fourth quarter but Village Christian was resilient on the offensive end and its 25-16 advantage over the final eight minutes was the difference.
Six-foot-7 Marquis Salmon of Village Christian (12 points) did foul out with 4:26 remaining in the fourth quarter and St. Joseph trailing only 47-41, but the Pilots simply couldn't convert down the stretch.
"They really contest shots and get high," said Lippi, won his first title in 2004 in Division IV and beat St. Bernard of Playa Del Rey in last year's Division V title game. "We don't see that much in the Bay Area. I mean Salesian has a few guys, but that's only one team and two guys. We can usually get a shot off."
Yussef finished with a team-high 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, but his shooting was a microcosm of St. Joe's offensive performance. He made only 3-of-12 shots from the field. Senior guard Gemeny Givens, the Pilots' only other double-digit scorer with 14 points, made 4-of-12 field goal attempts.
"We go 6-7, 6-6, 6-6 across the front line, so that (St. Joseph's shooting) went as expected," Shaw said. "But with a hall of fame coach (Lippi) who has experience in this game, we knew it was going to be a street fight.
"My kids an unbelievable job on buying into the team concept. I can't say enough about these young men."