After a close first half, the St. Francis High boys basketball team cruised past visiting Del Oro 75-57 Tuesday night (March 14) in the Northern California Division II semifinals.
The top-seeded Lancers (21-9) are scheduled to host No. 3 Moreau Catholic (24-9) 6 p.m. Saturday (March 18) in the NorCal final; the winner advances to next weekend’s state championship game in Sacramento.
“We’ll enjoy tonight,” St. Francis coach Mike Motil said after Tuesday’s victory. “(Then) I’ll go start watching some film on Moreau Catholic. ... I haven’t seen them play all year.”
At halftime, St. Francis held only a 34-29 lead on No. 13 Del Oro (18-15), which knocked off the fourth- and fifth-seeded teams on the way to the semis.
The Lancers pulled away in the third quarter, twice leading by as many as 13 points. Maurice Wilmer scored six of St. Francis’ 16 points in the period, making a pair of 3-pointers. He finished with a game-high 21 points.
“It just got to the point where we’re sharing the basketball,” Motil said of his team’s third-quarter performance. “We came into halftime like, ‘Hey, if we rebound we’ll be fine.’ ... Their length kind of bothered us a little bit, but I think we rebounded a little better there in the second half and I think maybe that was the difference.”
The Lancers led 53-43 going into the fourth and quickly extended their advantage on a 3-pointer by Nicholas Miro. It was the start of a 13-6 run by St. Francis. Del Oro went to a full-court press in hopes of creating turnovers, but St. Francis beat it several times to score easy baskets.
St. Francis junior Logan Johnson finished with 20 points, highlighted by a dunk in the final minute that excited the home crowd.
“It was great ... that was for my mom,” Johnson said of the dunk, which also earned him a technical foul for hanging on the rim. “She does a lot for me, so I had to give her one.”
Trevor Drake led Del Oro in scoring; the 6-foot-7 senior had 19 points but missed several close-range shots in the third quarter.
“I thought he did a really nice job,” Motil said of Drake. “We tried to gang defend him there a little bit and dive in on him. He got a lot of nice looks that he just didn’t make, to be honest with you.”