SACRAMENTO — Two major runs proved to be Stuart Hall’s undoing in a 74-62 loss to View Park of Los Angeles in the CIF Division IV Championship Game. A 13-2 View Park surge to end the first half and a 20-5 run that took up most of the third quarter was too much for a youthful Stuart Hall team to overcome.
“The better team won today,” said Stuart Hall head coach Charley Johnson. “They were just a little stronger. We threw a little bit of everything at them, but they were just better. Congratulations to them on a well-deserved state championship.”
While the ending of many state championship losses can resemble a funeral, the final seconds winding down were a celebration of this remarkable Stuart Hall team, one that was in a title game a year earlier than most expected. With almost the entirety of the school at the Golden 1 Center to support their Knights, having canceled classes for the day and sending buses filled with 400 students to the state capital, Stuart Hall had a remarkable crowd giving support. While home games for the Knights are usually a fun occasion at their intimate gym, affectionately called “The Dungeon,” having the school make the trip to Sacramento was special for all of those in navy and cardinal.
“Our fans show out for us, and we try to show out for them,” said Miles Amos.
Amos scored a team-high 21 for Stuart Hall (23-12), including a phenomenal putback dunk to cut the View Park lead to 33-26 in the opening moments of the third quarter.
However, Amos was shaken up on the play, and though Alex Byrd made the ensuing free throw and Amos returned a minute later, View Park began the 20-5 run in that window.
“I came down hard on my tailbone,” he said. “It didn’t bother me much because of adrenaline, but I’ll probably feel it later.”
Ultimately, View Park (27-8) was just too big inside, cutting to the hoop, opening up mid-range shots and collectively shooting 55.4% for the game. Kamren Storrs came off the bench to score 14 for the Los Angeles representatives, shooting a perfect 7-for-7 and scoring 12 in the second half.
The first half was all about View Park freshman point guard Christian Johnson, who scored 18 of his game-high 22 in the opening 16 minutes.
Stuart Hall had an impressive performance from a freshman as well, with Nigel Burris scoring 13 and pulling down a team-high eight rebounds.
“He was pretty good,” said View Park’s Ernest Flynn, who was tasked with defending Burris for the afternoon.
All five Stuart Hall starters are set to return next year, leaving tons of hope for the future. Sophomore Jay Henry Ryan scored 10, while Tomas Wolber and Spencer O’Brien-Steele each had six.
Though no seniors were in the starting lineup, Jorim Powell was the team captain and exemplified selfless play by fouling down the stretch to extend the game.
“It’s all about leading by example,” said Powell, who also served as the quarterback of Stuart Hall’s football team.
Slow start dooms SHC girls
An 18-4 first-quarter deficit was too much to overcome as the Sacred Heart Cathedral girls were beaten 70-54 by Serra of Gardena in the CIF Division I Championship. Though the Fightin’ Irish did manage to get within three points early in the third quarter, they could never come all the way back as the Cavaliers led for the entire game, save for the opening basket.
“We came out flat,” said head coach LyRyan Russell.
That energy was prevalent in the third quarter when Gianna Silvestri hit consecutive threes as part of her team-high 14 points, cutting the lead to 37-34 with a 16-6 run to open the second half. Four of Dashelle Gleissner’s 10 points put Serra (25-8) back on track, and the cavalry charged time and time again to the free throw line down the stretch to deny SHC a second state title in three years. Cheyenne Givens scored a game-high 20 points for Serra, while Alexis Tucker chipped in 19.
Serra matched many of SHC’s strengths, pounding the rock inside from start to finish in the same way the Irish had beaten teams to win nine of their prior 11 before Friday’s season-ending loss.
Sacred Heart Cathedral (15-15) got eight points apiece from freshman Milan Tuttle and Rainah Smith, while Smith had a game-high 12 rebounds.
Magic runs out for Lowell
The Lowell girls had orchestrated a brilliant run to go from AAA runners-up to Northern California champions, but the ugly shooting that doomed the Cardinals in that city title game showed up again in the CIF Division V Championship as they fell 52-26 to Sierra Pacific of Hanford.
Lowell (20-12) started the day 1-for-20 from the floor and finished the game on the receiving end of an 18-0 run as the Golden Bears won their first state title in school history.
The Cardinals did manage to whittle a 16-point lead down to eight in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter on a jumper by Sammy Quach, who scored a team-high eight points, but things snowballed out of control as Sierra Pacific (32-5) closed the game on an impressive roll.
Alana Roberts nearly outscored Lowell all by herself, collecting a game-high 20 points on 10-of-14 shooting, and she completed the double-double with 12 rebounds. Celeste Lewis scored 12 for the first-time champions, who will bring the trophy to a school that opened in just 2009.