Cade Rees scored 21 points for Serra against Colorado-Regis Jesuit on Nov. 6, 2018. (Ethan Kassel / S.F. Examiner)

SF Preps Basketball: Serra wins opener in overtime despite blown call

CONCORD — Cade Rees’ long-awaited varsity debut for the Serra Padres basketball team was cut short by a controversial call, but his team managed to pull out a thrilling victory to open the season, 58-57 in overtime over Colorado-Regis Jesuit to open the 31st Chris Vontoure Spartan Classic at De La Salle.

With 2:48 left, an offensive foul on Cooper Fitz was erroneously charged to Rees, knocking him out of the game with 21 points. The 6-foot-7 senior had dominated despite foul trouble for the most of the night in his first varsity appearance, having missed his junior season with injuries.

Serra (1-0) trailed 46-45 at the time Rees fouled out, and the Raiders built their lead to three on a basket by 6-foot-8 center Matt Wheelock. With just under a minute to go, the Padres tied it with Patrick Simon’s only points of the night, a 3-pointer after the 5-foot-8 senior had airballed two shots earlier in the game.

Simon’s three was the final basket of regulation, and it paved the way for Antonio Abeyta to lead the charge in overtime. Abeyta scored Serra’s first five points of the extra period, giving the Padres the lead on an and-1 with 2:30 left, and scoring again following a Regis turnover. Still, the team from the Denver suburb of Aurora wouldn’t quit, having already mounted a 10-point comeback in the second half. With two free throws by Jamil Safieddine and 6-foot-9 Daniel Carr’s third 3-pointer of the night, the Raiders retook the lead with just over a minute left in the extra period with a chance to beat Serra for a third straight year.

It was Serra’s turn to respond at the other end, and it was Abeyta finding an open Fitz to put the Padres up 56-54. Abeyta got the rebound off a Raider miss, and following a timeout, point guard Parker McDonald found Julius Alcantara inside to make it a four-point game with 10 seconds left in OT. Safieddine would hit a three with 1.8 left, but the clock ran out following a missed free throw from Fitz.

“That’s what you’re going to need to have a successful season,” said head coach Chuck Rapp. “It’s the whole team producing, and the whole team contributing. Cade fouling out might have been beneficial in the long-term scope of things, because it allowed guys like Antonio and Jules to step up and make some big-time plays.”

McDonald scored 12 points, while Carr led all scorers with 28 and 13 rebounds. The Padres’ only missed free throw came on the final play of the game, whereas Regis Jesuit (1-2) made just 11 of 21 from the line.

De La Salle 65, Marin Catholic 32: With point guard Sean McDevitt out with thumb and foot injuries, plus four players still playing football, the shorthanded Wildcats were overmatched by the hosts in the first round of the 31st Chris Vontoure Spartan Classic. Trailing by just a point after a quarter, Marin Catholic (2-1) was outscored 20-4 in the second quarter as De La Salle (3-0) took a 31-14 halftime lead. The margin grew as wide as 28 late in the third quarter as both teams emptied their benches down the stretch. Thomas Gregorios scored a game-high 14 for the Spartans and freshman Jeremiah Dargan added 13. Marin Catholic got eight points from Eamon Davidson and six from Dylan Joyce, who had eight rebounds.

Riordan wins at the buzzer: Riordan opened the prestigious Gridley Invitational with a wild 58-56 win over St. Joseph Notre Dame, as Bryce Monroe’s baseline jumper with two seconds left won it for the Crusaders. Riordan (3-2) led by as much as 11 in the fourth quarter before a furious SJND comeback propelled by Julian Vaughns, who scored a game-high 34 points. Riiny Riiny scored 18 for the Crusaders and Monroe added 13. St. Joseph Notre Dame (2-2) tied it with eight seconds left on an Eric Greer three. The Crusaders will face Salesian, one of the Bay Area’s top teams, in the tournament semifinals on Friday night at 8:30 p.m., the final game of the day’s quarter. Streaming of the game, as well as the rest of the tournament, can be accessed at http://www.gaelsvb.com/gaels-tv.html.

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