For the second straight year, the Lincoln Mustangs will play for a state football championship, earning their way back to the title game with a wild 21-14 semifinal victory over Mariposa County on Friday.
With slippery conditions at a rainy Golden Valley High School in Merced, Luis Contreras was unfazed as he ran for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns over the course of 37 carries, including the go-ahead 22-yard touchdown late in the third and a 25-yarder with 8:12 left to open up a two-score lead.
The teams turned over the ball four times in the third quarter as Mariposa County (8-5) turned it over five times, including a fumble at the Lincoln 1-yard line in the third with a 7-6 lead. Trailing 21-14, the Grizzlies got the ball back with 3:03 left after a blocked punt, but the Mustangs managed to stop Logan Donati to seal the win.
Lincoln (12-1) will play for the Division 7-AA state championship on Saturday at noon at City College, the site of last year’s win. They will face Gardena (11-4) which beat Parker, 27-13 in the Southern California championship.
Riordan basketball improves to 5-0: Bryce Monroe scored 31 points and Je’Lani Clark added 20 as the Crusader Classic hosts won the 61st edition of their own tournament on Saturday night, topping San Ramon Valley 65-57.
After the Wolves cut the lead to three with a minute remaining, Clark drove the length of the court and scored to restore a two-possession lead. Robert Vaihola’s block on the following San Ramon Valley trip down the court sealed the game another score from Monroe.
On Tuesday, Monroe played the role of hero again, scoring 14 of his game-high 34 in overtime as the Riordan Crusaders topped Weston Ranch 84-75. Clark finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore Mor Seck had nine points and 10 rebounds. The Cougars, who will travel from Stockton to join Riordan this weekend at the Gridley Invitational, had five scorers in double figures, led by Gavin Wilburn’s 21.
SHC beats Mission: Both the Sacred Heart Cathedral Fightin’ Irish and Mission Bears took the court on Tuesday shorthanded, but it was Sacred Heart which pulled out a 75-71 win.
With lead scorer Kyle Crawford out sick and Kori McCoy, the team’s lone returning starter, also limited by illness, Sacred Heart Cathedral (2-0) got 20 points and 11 rebounds from Herbert Rivas, including a key basket with 36.7 seconds left after Mission (1-3) had trimmed an 11-point lead to two.
Miles Jones scored 18 for the Fightin’ Irish, draining five three-pointers, and sophomore Ray John Spears finished with 11. The Bears also had a sophomore step up with two starters out as Julian Neal (illness) and Andre Villarino (family) both missed the game. Maurice Oliver, who was called up to the varsity squad in the middle of the 2018-19 season as a freshman, scored 13 and Noah Lee had a game-high 21. Mission also got eight points apiece from Matt Cohn, Julian Milton and Tariq Norbert, with Cohn pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds.
Lincoln hoops off and running: The Lincoln Mustangs had a successful trip up north to open their season, winning the McKinleyville Rotary Tip-Off Tournament. In the semifinals, they unseated five-time defending champion Heritage with a 58-55 victory, then dispatched Arcata 63-45 in the championship game to make for a happy trip home. The Mustangs will play in another strong tournament this weekend, heading out to Brentwood for the Stonebarger Classic, hosted by Heritage’s crosstown rival, Liberty.
Lick-Wilmerding wins tournament: The Lick-Wilmerding Tigers won their own tournament to finish their first week of the season 3-1, beating Westmoor 71-65 on Saturday night in the championship basketball game. International won the consolation championship in overtime, beating San Francisco Waldorf 50-49 on a last-second basket by sophomore Giovanni Maddalozzo, who scored 24 points and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Stuart Hall wins Redwood Classic: The Stuart Hall Knights have made a habit out of winning the Redwood Classic, and they returned from Boonville with the championship trophy for the second year in a row after a 55-52 win over Sacramento-Bradshaw Christian. Point guard Tomas Wolber was named the tournament’s MVP, and he continued his strong play on Tuesday with six points, six rebounds and a game-high six assists as the Knights opened the Burlingame Lions Club Invitational with a 63-47 win over Hillsdale. Stuart Hall (6-1) had four players scoring in double figures, led by Kyle Jasper’s 16 points, and will face Menlo at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday in the semifinals.