Sacred Heart upsets SI, will face Riordan

The Sacred HeartCathedral boys’ basketball team used tough defense and balanced scoring to bounce rival St. Ignatius 50-40 and earn a date in the Central Coast Section Division III title game.

Sacred Heart advances to Friday’s 8:30 p.m. title game against Riordan at the Leavey Center.

Jerry Brown led the fifth-seeded Irish (19-11) with 10 points and six rebounds, but it was their physical presence that made all the difference as they held the top-seeded Wildcats to 17 second-half points.

“The defense is our calling card, that’s what I’ve been preaching from day one,” Irish coach Darrell Barbour said. “The better our defense, the better our team will be — and tonight they did an especially good job.”

The Wildcats (18-10) had edged out to a slim first-quarter lead, but Joseph Slocum hit a trey and Richard Lai added a jumper, tying the game for the first time.

The Irish then went on an eight-point run midway through the second to key the half’s biggest lead at five points. The Wildcats responded with Paul Toboni’s trey, which Kiyoshi Smith followed up with a putback to tie the game at halftime.

But Lai combined with Brown for nine unanswered points in the fourth to help finish off the Wildcats.

“I know [the Wildcats] are a rival, but I was more concerned with just playing well,” Barbour said. “They’re a tough team, they’ve got great size, they’re well coached — but we won the game by executing.”

Riordan 45, Cupertino 27

SAN MATEODaniel Cannon scored 15 points and Jorge Camacho had 12 points and 18 rebounds as the second-seeded Crusaders (19-10) toppled the third-seeded Pioneers (23-6) at San Mateo High School.

Riordan led 22-8 after the first quarter and held Cupertino to 11-of-40 (28 percent) shooting from the floor.

— Staff report

Girls

Sacred Heart Cathedral 74, Soquel 48

BELMONT — Junior Tierra Rogers scored 20 points as the top-seeded Irish (28-0) rolled past the fourth-seeded Knights (22-8).

Two-time defending state champion Sacred Heart, ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today, advances to Friday’s 6:30 p.m. Division III final against St. Ignatius at Santa Clara’s Leavey Center.

“Right now, it’s about winning and you keep going and this group knows how to do that,” Irish coach Brian Harrigan said. “They have been together for three years and understand what it takes.”

— Staff report

St. Ignatius 51, Notre Dame (Belmont) 40

BELMONT — Sophomore Eilise O’Connor dropped in 21 points as the second-seeded Wildcats (19-10) beat the third-seeded Tigers (18-12) on their home court to advance to Friday’s final.

— Staff report

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