The University Red Devils continued their mastery of the Bay Counties League West Division on Tuesday night, locking up the regular-season title with a 59-50 win over Stuart Hall to complete a season series sweep.
Over the last 13 years, the Red Devils have won either the regular season title or league tournament championship 11 times, and that dominance continued this year as the Red Devils improved to 9-0 in league play. While it wasn’t the 23-point beatdown that they had put on the Knights on the road, they managed to hold Stuart Hall lead scorer Kyle Jasper to 15 points while Ren Zanze scored 14 and Christian Heng added 12. Guard depth has been key for University (19-6, 9-0 BCL West) ever since Raki Cabrera-Scarlata broke his finger, and with Heng and Zanze both contributing on the offensive end, the Red Devils have managed to stay on the winning track.
Stuart Hall (17-7, 6-3) remains in second place, with Urban (17-8, 5-4) and San Domenico (14-10, 5-4) each a game behind. The league semi finals are next Wednesday at Kezar Pavilion, with the championship scheduled for next Saturday.
Riordan keeps cruising: With Tuesday night’s victory over Valley Christian well in hand, the Riordan Crusaders got to enjoy one of the highlights of their season as backup center Toyo Kano threw down a two-handed dunk to punctuate an 82-49 win over the Warriors, sparking huge celebrations from the home bench. Riordan (17-3, 9-1 WCAL) got 17 points from Bryce Monroe and 16 from Dominic Wilson while sophomore center Mor Seck had 14 points and collected nine rebounds.
Je’Lani Clark and Riiny Riiny each scored nine as well, with Riiny, one of two players on the Crusaders’ roster from South Sudan, throwing down a one-handed dunk of his own despite being fouled on the play. His countryman and cousin, Chan Ngot, had 10 rebounds, with nine on the offensive end. The win keeps the Crusaders a game clear of Mitty for first place in the WCAL, and they’ll travel to third-place Bellarmine (17-3, 7-3) on Friday.
The Bells beat Serra (14-6, 6-4) in overtime on Tuesday, 63-59. Riordan enters that game as winners of nine straight, including a 59-46 triumph over St. Ignatius last Friday to complete a season sweep and earn the “we run the city” shirts that the team and student body have worn. The Crusaders also won their initial battle with Sacred Heart Cathedral and will host the Fightin’ Irish on Feb. 18.
Controversy in SI loss: A controversial referee call cost the St. Ignatius Wildcats on Tuesday night in a heartbreaking 52-51 loss at St. Francis. With just 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock, the host Lancers should have only been able to tip the ball off an inbound pass, but sophomore Harlan Banks cut around his defender, caught the ball with two hands, and laid it up on the rim, where it bounced twice before falling through to give St. Francis (14-6, 6-4) the win at the buzzer. Freshman point guard King-Jhsanni Wilhite scored a game-high 20 for St. Ignatius (7-13, 2-8).
SHC blown out: Scoring has hardly been an issue this year for the Sacred Heart Cathedral Fightin’ Irish, but stopping opponents has been a different story. That came to a head on Tuesday night in a loss at Mitty, where the high-flying Monarchs managed to eclipse their point total from their entire prior game (59) by the end of the first half. Mitty (17-3, 8-2) held an eye-popping 63-30 advantage at the break and went on to a 98-78 win, falling just shy of the century mark. Sacred Heart Cathedral (7-13, 2-8), losers of eight of 10, got 19 points from Ray-John Spears, 16 from Kori McCoy, 14 from Darnay McPherson and 12 from Kyle Crawford, but had no answer for Monarchs junior guard Mikey Mitchell, allowing a game-high 27 points to the Pepperdine commit.
Lincoln still atop AAA: The Lincoln Mustangs won their 12th straight game on Monday and improved to 10-0 in league play with a 70-61 win at Lowell (17-6, 7-3). Mission (13-10, 9-1) remains in second after a 77-49 blowout win over Washington (8-16, 4-6) in which the Bears committed just seven turnovers. Two weeks ago, Lincoln became the first team to win a league game against Mission since 2016, and the teams will reconvene on Feb. 18 at Lincoln in their regular-season finale. It should be a wild night in the Sunset District, with St. Ignatius hosting rival Serra less than a mile away.