There’s only one school in the state that has both its boys’ and girls’ basketball teams in state championships this weekend and it sits on Cathedral Hill in San Francisco.
Sacred Heart Cathedral will send both teams to the Division III state championships Friday afternoon at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento after winning NorCal championships on Saturday at American Canyon High School.
The results for both teams were identical, but their experience were vastly different.
The Irish girls started the night off with a 46-28 drubbing of rival St. Ignatius, giving Sacred Heart its fifth win over the Wildcats this season.
St. Ignatius shot just under 17 percent from the floor and the Irish held the Wildcats to a season-low point total. St. Ignatius held a 6-2 lead early in the first quarter, but Sacred Heart closed the frame on an 11-0 run and the Wildcats didn’t threaten again.
Junior guard Kairee Howard led all scorers with 12 points off the bench and first-year coach LyRyan Russell has the Irish in their first state title game since 2008 in his first season with the program.
“It’s [satisfying], but we’ve got one more game left,” Russell said after the Irish win Saturday. “I don’t want to reflect on anything just yet. After the season is done and we take on our title, I can reflect on what we’ve done.”
The Sacred Heart boys didn’t have it as easy in a 55-52 win over Campolindo in the nightcap Saturday.
The Irish needed overtime to take down the 10th-seeded Cougars, trailed early in the extra period and needed a clutch shot just send the game past regulation.
Campolindo took a three-point lead in overtime, but back-to-back baskets from junior forward Liam O’Reilly put Sacred Heart up for good and the Irish held the Cougars scoreless for the final three minutes of the extra period. O’Reilly, who finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, got the first overtime basket after a scrum saw the ball land in his hands under the basket, then hit his second with 18 seconds left after taking down an offensive rebound.
“I was just trying to box out and be in the right spot to get the ball and put it back up,” O’Reilly said. “I tried not to think about it.”
Senior guard Khalil James came up with a steal on the final
Campolindo possession to seal the game, and hit a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left in regulation to tie the game up at 49-49 and force
James finished with a team-high 14 points, but his final basket at the end of regulation was the only field goal Sacred Heart had in the fourth quarter.
“We couldn’t score,” said Sacred Heart coach Darrell Barbour. The game was so hard, we couldn’t score, but our kids dug in defensively and I think that’s why we won.”
BOYS: SHC vs. St. Augustine
GIRLS: SHC vs. Alemany