For the first half of Thursday’s NorCal Division I quarterfinal, the Lowell boys’ basketball team put together a performance flawless enough to give reason they might be able pull off an upset of defending state champion De La Salle.
In the second half, the Cardinals came back down to earth.
Lowell led the heavily favored Spartans 23-19 after two quarters of play, but they couldn’t match the Spartans’ depth and size in the second half, eventually losing 56-42 at Kezar Pavilion.
Undaunted by the De La Salle’s tradition as a powerhouse, Lowell nearly matched the Spartans bucket for bucket to open the contest, trailing just 10-8 after one quarter.
In the second quarter, led by the play of athletic senior forward Arthur Jones and shooting guard Jordan Wong, the Cardinals outscored the Spartans 15-9 to take a 23-19 lead into the break.
Jones was everywhere during the Cardinals’ run, picking up eight points, three rebounds and an impressive seven blocks in the first half of play.
After intermission, the Cardinals opened up their biggest lead of the night at 27-21, but De La Salle, which shot just 9-of-33 in the first half, finally heated up, getting a combined 13 points from junior guard Dominic Martellaro (14 points) and heady senior point guard Ryan Silva (15 points, seven assists) in a game-breaking 21-6 run to end the third quarter. The final dagger in the run was Martellaro’s fallaway 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer.
The Spartans shot 9-of-12 in the third quarter and hit six 3-pointers in the second half, but Lowell was still within 45-39 two minutes into the fourth before De La Salle used its superior size to issue a game-ending 11-3 spurt.
"They were just a little better and a little bigger than us in a few positions," said Lowell coach Robert Ray. "This loss doesn’t take away anything from the team or from the seniors who have played their hearts out for the last four years."
The loss was the final gamefor seniors Jones, Jordan Wong and Pat Shock, who were the centerpiece behind a team that captured back-to-back San Francisco Section championships and won a combined 59 games over past two seasons.
"Over the last couple of seconds, I was reminiscing a lot about the past four years with these guys," said Jones who finished the game with 10 points. "I’m going to miss playing with these guys, they’re like my brothers."
De La Salle 56, Lowell 42
» No. 6 De La Salle 56, No. 4 Lowell 42
» No. 1 St. Ignatius 59, No. 8 West Valley 43
» No. 3 Sacramento 58, No. 6 Riordan 52
» No. 5 Hamilton 61, No. 4 Bridgemont 56
» No. 6 De La Salle (28-2) at No. 1 McClymonds (26-3)
» No. 5 Bishop O’Dowd (24-6) at No. 1 St. Ignatius (24-7), 7 p.m.
» No. 3 Sacramento (26-5) at No. 2 Acalanes (26-4), 7 p.m.
» No. 4 Bridgemont (18-2) vs. No. 1 Branson (30-2) at College of Marin, 7 p.m.