He scored on several acrobatic drives to the basket, drained a fall-away 3-pointer and converted an inbounds alley-oop, yet the biggest play St. Francis High’s Logan Johnson made Friday against St. Ignatius didn’t involve him taking a shot.
With the Lancers leading by two points with 1:44 to play, the senior drove the lane – drawing the defense’s attention – and promptly zipped a pass to an open Oscar Pedraza in the left corner. The junior buried the 3-pointer and St. Francis never looked back, winning 63-56 at home.
“I knew the defense would collapse on me, and I just tried to make the right play,” said Johnson, who finished with a team-high 18 points. “I found (Pedraza), and once I found him, if you saw me, I started running back (on defense) because I knew it was going down.”
The Lancers finished 10 of 22 from 3-point range (45.4 percent), with Roy Yuan making half of them. The junior drilled his first two treys – the initial one from well beyond the arc – to help St. Francis build a 22-12 lead by the end of the opening quarter.
“He’s been doing it all year,” St. Francis coach Mike Motil said of Yuan, who totaled 17 points. “The one thing that we teach here with our kids is to be confident shooting the basketball. We’ve got kids who take shots from the volleyball line. You can see – it works out for Roy.”
Pedraza connected on a trio of 3s – two in the final quarter – en route to 15 points. But it was his defense on Wildcats guard Darrion Trammell that impressed Motil even more.
“Oscar did an unbelievable job staying with the guy who I think is the quickest guard in the league,” the coach said.
Although Trammell led all scorers with 21 points, Pedraza hounded him most of the game. After Pedraza nailed that crucial corner trey, he contested Trammell’s 3-point try from the top of the key that St. Francis rebounded with just more than a minute left.
Down 58-53 and running out of time, St. Ignatius had little choice but to foul to stop the clock. Johnson split free throws and Yuan made a pair over the next 40 seconds, stretching St. Francis’ lead to 61-53.
St. Ignatius answered with a 3 from Trammell, then quickly fouled Pedraza with 18 ticks remaining. He calmly sank both free throws to secure the win, which kept the Lancers tied with Bellarmine for first place in the West Catholic Athletic League at 6-0.
St. Francis twice thwarted rallies by St. Ignatius (4-2 league) Friday night. The Lancers briefly lost the lead late in the second quarter, but Johnson scored back-to-back buckets to put them up 30-27 at halftime. The 6-foot-2 guard drove right for a layin with 1:21 to go, then scored from the middle of the lane on an alley-oop inbound pass before the buzzer.
St. Francis pushed its advantage to 10 points on Pedraza’s trey with 6:57 left in the fourth, only to see the Wildcats come back to tie it at 53 midway through the period. Desai Lopez put the Lancers back on top with a low-post basket, and they never trailed again.
“We’re missing two of our top six guys, so I thought we played OK,” said Motil, who was without post players Tyler Manoa (in Hawaii for an all-star football game)and Matteo Fontana (ill).
Johnson added that the Lancers’ depth has a lot to do with their 14-2 overall record.
“It’s not just that we have five people we can go to,” he said. “We’ll switch up a lineup on any given night and be OK with that.”