ARCHBISHOP RIORDAN HS — What looked to be an enticing matchup between two of San Francisco’s best boys’ basketball teams turned into a lopsided rout on Thursday night.
Archbishop Riordan (5-3) used tremendous interior defense, hot shooting and crisp passing to lead wire-to-wire, as junior guard Je’Lani Clark scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the first half of a 73-41 Crusaders win over Stuart Hall.
“That’s what we wanted to do tonight,” said Riordan head coach Joey Curtin. “We had a great scrimmage on Tuesday against Bishop O’Dowd that gave us a barometer of where we could be. Going into tonight, it was all about making a statement on our home floor.”
Clark scored the game’s first basket on a spin move from the elbow, put up 11 in the first quarter and closed the first half with a 3-pointer to give the Crusaders a 36-24 halftime advantage despite Bryce Monroe’s absence due to illness.
Though Clark scored just four in the second half, Justice Turner took over to help Riordan pull away and avoid a reversal of last year’s game, in which the Crusaders erased a 22-point deficit.
Turner shot 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the second half, with his first triple opening up a 43-27 lead. Clark’s final basket of the night made it an 18-point lead with just over a minute left in the third, and with two more threes sandwiched around a De’Sean Johnson block, the lead ballooned to 62-38. Turner, who finished with 14 points, hit another three off a turnover to grow the gap to 27.
Riiny Riiny, the 6-foot-9 junior from South Sudan, scored the next five Riordan points to finish with 27, shooting 5-for-8 from the field and making two of his four 3-point attempts.
“I just need to continue working on my defense,” Riiny said. “Sometimes I sit out just because of my defense. On the offensive side, I’m pretty good.”
Riiny’s defense was smooth on Thursday, with a block and six rebounds while using his lanky frame to contest numerous Stuart Hall shots in the lane. Riordan outscored the Knights 26-8 in the paint, while expert driver Miles Amos was held to just 11 points, which he earned through 6-for-8 free throw shooting.
“We locked in on defense,” said Clark. “Miles scored 33 on Tuesday and we knew what he did best. He gets to the rack, so we had to take that away with help defense.”
Amos only had two baskets from the field — an 18-foot baseline jumper in the second quarter and a 3-pointer in the third. They were among his only uncontested attempts of the evening. Sophomore Nigel Burris led Stuart Hall (9-2) with 13, shooting 7-for-9 from the line, and he collected a game-high nine rebounds.
“They kicked us to the curb,” said Knights head coach Charley Johnson. “We couldn’t get the ball inside, and we struggle with back-to-the-basket action. Give them credit, they shot lights-out too.”
Riordan shot 45.8 percent from the game and 42.3 percent on 3-pointers, going 11-for-26 from beyond the arc. Conversely, Stuart Hall shot just 10-of-51 from the field and made just five of 23 3-point attempts.
“We had a tough game like this early and responded with eight straight wins,” said Johnson. “Hopefully we can do that again.”
Stuart Hall will face Branson on Saturday night at 7:30 at College of Marin. Last week, the Bulls picked up an impressive win over a Dublin team that beat Riordan to open the season. The Cruasders will host University on Saturday at 3 p.m., conveniently located for fans who attend Lincoln’s state championship football game next door at City College.
University 81, Mission 64: Max Fried made his triumphant return on Thursday evening, scoring 24 points as the Red Devils won their second in a row. University (6-3) outscored the Bears in every quarter and got a game-high 28 points from Charley Moore. Mission (2-4) got 16 points from Andre Villarino, 14 apiece from Ben Knight and David Sonnier and 10 from Jaraughn Torno. Villarino was 4-for-6 on 3-pointers as the Bears shot 50 percent from beyond the arc but were undone by eight missed free throws and 15 turnovers.