Riordan wins section title with furious comeback

SAN JOSE — It looked unlikely until the final moments, but the Riordan Crusaders secured their 15th Central Coast Section title with a 61-56 win over defending champion Monterey on Saturday.

A power outage at Independence High moved the game to nearby Piedmont Hills and set the start time back by an hour. The Toreadores opened the game on an 8-0 run and led 50-40 through three quarters before a remarkable Crusader rally.

Five straight points by Anthony Oropeza trimmed the lead to 52-50, and Riordan (16-11) tied the game on Travis Benham’s lay-in off a feed from James Chun. Chun scored nine points on the night, but hit the go-ahead three with just over three minutes remaining.

Sophomore point guard Je’Lani Clark scored a game-high 23. His putback at the end of a zany sequence made it 59-54, and his pair of free throws with 17 seconds left iced the game. He shot 9-of-10 at the line.

“That was a dogfight,” said first-year head coach Joey Curtin. “At the start of the fourth quarter, we said there was no time for a break in our defense in those eight minutes.”

Sure enough, the defense didn’t break, allowing just six points and only one field goal.

Monterey (19-8) got 18 points and 10 rebounds for Mohammed Adam, 16 points from Evans Charles and 13 from Mohanid Adam. The Toreadores eliminated Riordan in the 2017 quarterfinals.

The 15 section titles give the Crusader basketball program more than any other team in the section. Bellarmine had tied Riordan at 14 last night.

Jacob C. Palmer

Jacob C. Palmer is the sports editor of the San Francisco Examiner. Reach him at (415) 359-2729 and Follow him on Twitter: @jacobc_palmer.

Recent Posts

Lyft pilots program to curb Valencia Street double parking

The good news for Valencia Street cyclists keeps on rolling in. On the heels of The City installing barriers on…

4 hours ago

Aldon Smith back in custody after alleged restraining order violation

Former Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested again Friday morning after he allegedly violated a restraining order filed in…

4 hours ago

Films opening Friday, March 23, 2018

Back to Burgundy: The film by Cédric Klapisch is about three siblings who reunite at their home in picturesque Burgundy…

14 hours ago

‘Keep the Change’ an engaging, realistic rom-com

An image-conscious budding filmmaker and an uninhibited aspiring songstress struggle to form a satisfying relationship in “Keep the Change,” a…

14 hours ago

What you need to know after the Dons advanced to the CBI championship

WAR MEMORIAL GYM — For the second time in as many games, the University of San Francisco avoided a late…

15 hours ago

Samardzija injury puts pressure on Cueto to step up for Giants

The San Francisco Giants’ focus this offseason centered around revamping their offense, which was — to put it kindly —…

15 hours ago