SHC starts strong to cruise past Riordan

After getting blown out a week ago in the Bruce-Mahoney game against St. Ignatius, the Sacred Heart Cathedral boys’ basketball team is back on track.

Fresh off of a victory over Bellarmine on Saturday, the Fightin’ Irish had little trouble against city rival Archbishop Riordan as they jumped out to a 20-5 first-quarter lead, and shot 51 percent on the night while cruising to a 56-44 victory in West Catholic Athletic League play.

“We played with poise and attacked them under control, and it was beautiful to see,” said Sacred Heart Cathedral coach Darrell Barbour. “It was definitely a credit to our kids how they executed what we wanted to do.”

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior point guard Deondre Otis spearheaded the Fightin’ Irish win by causing havoc all night on defense, accumulating four steals to go along with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists. Junior David Parsons added a game-high 17 points, including a trio of 3-pointers.

The Fightin’ Irish (11-2, 2-1 WCAL) ended the first quarter on a 9-0 run, with Parsons scoring 11 points, including his three-point play with 25 seconds left in the quarter to give SHC a 20-5 lead.

SHC saw its lead dwindle to 13 with just under three minutes left in the fourth, but Otis stole a pass in the Riordan backcourt and dished it off to Parsons to give the Fightin’ Irish a commanding 50-35 lead with 2:34 left in the game, capping their second straight win.

“Tonight, it seemed like [Otis] had an extra step, was more vocal, and he played both ends of the floor,” Barbour said. “[Parsons] has been sporadic with his shooting this year, but he’s the kind of shooter that can make four, five shots in row.”

Riordan (7-6, 0-3) dug itself a deep hole in the first half, shooting 19 percent and committing nine turnovers to find itself down 32-12 at the break. The Crusaders did trim the SHC lead to 13 multiple times in the fourth quarter, and outscored the Fightin’ Irish 32-24 in the second half.

However, Crusaders coach Rich Buckner pointed to his team’s intensity at the start as the reason for dropping their third straight WCAL contest.

“You would think playing one of our rivals, that you’d be up for the game, but we just came out flat,” Buckner said. “If we played the first half like we did the second half, we could’ve been close and might’ve won. We need to get off early against St. Ignatius and have a better first half against them.”

Niners face tough road through NFL playoffs. Next stop Green Bay

Kickoff temperature expected to be 13 degrees, and dropping fast

Draymond Green’s injury opens for Warriors’ Jonathan Kuminga

Rookie showing flashes of brilliance, with room to improve

Deep in the heart of Texas: Niners corral Cowboys, 23-17

San Francisco holds off late charge. Packers up next