Christian Chew/Special to The SF ExaminerLeading man: Sacred Heart Cathedral’s Joshua Fox paced the Irish with 16 points and 10 rebounds in Thursday’s big nonleague win.

Scorching start sparks Sacred Heart to hoops victory

The Sacred Heart Cathedral boys’ basketball team was eager to challenge itself against Northern California power Jesuit High School.

In what was supposed to be a measuring stick to see how good the Irish are at this point in the young season, the game turned out to be a mismatch.

The Irish (6-0) scored the game’s first 14 points and led 24-4 after the first quarter en route to a 67-51 rout of the Marauders.

Sacred Heart held Jesuit to 15 percent shooting in the first period and caused six turnovers, leading to 10 fast-break points.

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t know what the score was, but I knew we were playing well,” Sacred Heart coach Darrell Barbour said. “We knew [Jesuit] was a good shooting team and we wanted to limit their 3-point shooting. It was a combination of them missing shots and our half-court defense.”

Offensively, Sacred Heart couldn’t do anything wrong in the opening eight minutes, shooting 70 percent from the field. The Irish shot 61 percent for the game.

“They came out and made every shot, and played a lot more aggressive than us,” Jesuit coach Greg Harcos said. “We laid an egg.”

While Jesuit (8-2) was befuddled by the Irish’s surge, Taylor Johns and Joshua Fox controlled everything inside. Fox led Sacred Heart with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Johns added 10 points and seven rebounds.

But the contributions of senior Tyler Petroni and Herman Pratt could be a big boost this season for Sacred Heart.

Petroni hit two 3s in the pivotal first quarter that broke the game open, and Pratt added five points and two steals.

“Tyler’s doing stuff that he’s capable of doing and it’s not something we don’t expect [from him],” Barbour said. “Herm just plays an all-around game. If we can stay healthy, we can be pretty good [this season].”

Jesuit wasn’t able to amount any serious threat, and in the third quarter, found itself down by 25 points. The Marauders shot 33 percent for the game and committed 16 turnovers.

“When you have guys you count on and things don’t go well for them, it snowballs down to the rest of the team,” Harcos said. “We’ll be back down here next weekend at the Sand Dune tournament, so we’ll see how we respond to this.”

Meanwhile, Sacred Heart will get to enjoy this win before boarding a plane Monday for the Cactus Jam tournament in Phoenix.

“It was good to see our team come out hard and aggressive and our chemistry is a lot better this season,” Fox said. “It was good to make a splash on the scene.”

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