By John Blomster
Riding an explosive first-quarter offensive, Archbishop Riordan defeated visiting Pioneer of San Jose 75-63 in the second round of the CIF-Central Coast Section Division III playoffs Thursday night.
Riordan (12-14) was down 5-0 early in the first quarter before answering with a 27-5 run to end the quarter.
Junior Aaron Anderson led the attack with 11 points in the quarter and the Crusaders forced 10 turnovers in those decisive minutes while losing the ball without a shot only twice.
“When you give up 27 points and [you’re] down 17 in the first quarter against a good team, it’s hard to come from behind,” said Pioneer Head Coach Joe Berticevich. “When you’re playing from behind for 3 quarters, it’s tough. It’s disappointing, because I thought we could compete and come in here and maybe get a [win], but we just fell behind too early.”
With the damage done, Pioneer (10-16) was unable to stop the bleeding. The Mustangs were able to cut the lead to 8 points late in first quarter, but that proved to be the closest they would get.
Riordan outscored the Mustangs 44-25 in the first half and finished strong with 31 points in the second.
“I thought we shot the ball well,” said Archbishop Riordan Head Coach Rich Buckner. “Defensively, I thought we gave up too many points to be a good team and continue on in this tournament. If we’re continue in this tournament, we need to play a little bit better defense than what we showed tonight.”
Anderson agreed with the lapse in defense, but has confidence in his team going into the next round.
“On defense, I kind of let up on a couple plays, but we got it back,” said Anderson, who finished with a game-high 19 points. “The third quarter was a rough quarter, but we got it back and finished strong.”
The seventh-seeded Crusaders advance to the quarterfinals against second-seeded Monterey (25-1) on Saturday at St. Ignatius High School.
“Monterey is a damn good team,” said Buckner. “They’re 25-1- they didn’t get that record without being good. Monterey’s a little bit bigger than Pioneer, so we’re going to have some of our [bigger] guys that didn’t play tonight maybe enforce for us on Saturday.”