The St. Francis High boys basketball team didn’t have much time to savor Saturday’s victory in the Central Coast Section Division II final.
“We’re going to St. Mary’s (College) for team camp tomorrow,” coach Mike Motil said after his top-seeded squad defeated visiting Wilcox 61-46. “We’re turning right around and trying to get better for next year.”
Such is life amid a pandemic, which pushed back the start of the basketball season five months. At least that bus ride to Moraga should have been a joyous one, though the Lancers (7-8) were surely tired after all the energy they exerted Saturday night. The sixth-seeded Chargers (14-4) may have been overmatched, but they refused to get outworked.
“They go get it,” Motil said. “They’re a hustle team, and they’ve always been like that. Their coach does a great job.”
St. Francis played with similar intensity in the first half and overwhelmed Wilcox with its shooting prowess. The Lancers led 39-22 at halftime after making 14 of 19 field-goal attempts – including a 6-of-10 effort from beyond the arc – and sinking five free throws in six tries.
Harlan Banks scored 12 of his team-high 13 points in the half, starting with back-to-back 3s in the initial quarter. Vince Barringer drained two treys and a baseline jumper just inside the 3-point line by intermission; he finished with 12 points.
“Just being fresh – I think that was a big part of it,” Motil said of St. Francis’ fast start. “Maybe it’s my fault for not using the bench a little bit more in the second half. … I think fatigue plays a big part in this game.”
The Lancers in the third quarter shot just 2-of-12 from the field and missed half of their eight free throws, helping the Chargers get back in the game. Outscored 15-8, St. Francis’ lead was down to 10 by quarter’s end.
The Lancers scored the first points of the fourth on a putback by Boladale Erogbogbo, making it 49-37 with 6:52 to go, and they maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way. Both times Wilcox cut its deficit to 10, Isaiah Kerr answered for St. Francis – soaring into the lane for a putback with 2:42 left and splitting free throws a minute later. He finished with nine points.
“I think Isaiah and Harlan actually did a pretty good job of dealing with (Wilcox’s) pressure all night,” Motil said. “I’d say they’re pretty worn out right now.”
MV falls to Homestead in Division I semis
The fifth-seeded Mountain View boys recovered from a disastrous start to Thursday’s CCS Division I semifinal to seize the lead in the third quarter, but No. 8 Homestead did just enough in the fourth to escape with a 47-44 win.
Down two, the Mustangs began the fourth with a 12-2 run that enabled them to withstand another rally by the Spartans, who scored the final five points and had several chances to get closer.
Homestead’s last basket, scored inside by Los Altos resident Connor Kane, gave the Mustangs a 47-40 edge with 4:30 to play. The lead shrank to three when Ryan Bahar – playing on a sprained ankle sustained early in the first quarter – made a baseline drive for Mountain View with 2:22 to go.
The host Spartans (13-6) sputtered offensively from there, missing two free throws and then five shots from the field in the last two minutes.
Mountain View’s late-game shooting struggles were reminiscent of the way it began the game. The Spartans trailed 12-2 at the end of the first quarter.
Bahar returned early in the second quarter and spurred the Spartans’ comeback. The senior made three consecutive 3s during an 11-1 run that reduced Mountain View’s deficit to two.
“He was so tough to play through that (injury); I thought he was going to be done for the game,” coach Kevin Mack said of Bahar, who totaled a game-high 23 points. “He singlehandedly brought us back in the game in the first half.”
Kane played a prominent role in making sure that Bahar’s heroics didn’t sink his squad. The junior scored the next four points (free throw and 3-pointer) to extend Homestead’s lead to 21-15. Kane finished with a team-best 13 points.
After Navin Lo converted a drive for the Spartans, the Mustangs scored back-to-back baskets to go up eight at halftime.
Mountain View opened the third quarter with a baseline 3 from Lo, the start of a 12-2 spurt that provided the Spartans with their first lead of the night. Los Altos resident Jackson Faria answered with a straight-away 3 to put Homestead back on top, and Kane split free throws to make it 31-29.
Bahar’s 3 – his fifth of the game – allowed Mountain View to retake the lead with 2:46 left in the third. After Faria made a drive and turnaround jumper to give the Mustangs a three-point advantage, the Spartans countered with a floater by Bahar and a buzzer-beating 3 from Andrew Lau to go up 37-34 at quarter’s end.
Mountain View came up empty on its first four possessions of the fourth (two turnovers and three missed shots) and Homestead scored on a midrange jumper from Omri Remez and a layin from Daniel Brathwaite to recapture the lead. After Bahar scored on a spin move in the low post, tying the game at 39, the Mustangs went on an 8-0 run to pull away.
Homestead faced No. 2 Piedmont Hills in Saturday’s final and lost 75-64 to finish the year 12-9.
Panthers drop Division V final
Top-seeded Pinewood (7-9) lost Saturday’s CCS Division V final 68-63 to No. 2 Shasta-Summit.