By Mike Bebernes
Waldorf School’s pressure defense and size advantage helped them lead wire-to-wire in a 70-41 victory over Archbishop Hannah in the CIF-North Coast Section Division VI quarterfinals Saturday at Kezar Pavilion.
“It’s all about discipline for us on both ends of the floor,” said Waldorf Head Coach Zeke Lopez. “When we play good defense, our offense just comes.”
The second-seeded Wolverines (17-6) had a balanced scoring attack with 15 points each from sophomore Nick Zatopa and junior Peter Schwarzenbach. Sophomore Alexander Woodhouse also chipped in 10 points and three blocks.
Despite a high scoring output, the difference was the Wolverines defense. Hannah (18-8) failed to decipher Waldorf’s trap press, scoring just six points in the first quarter. The Hawks were forced into 24 total turnovers.
“[The trap] was something we hadn’t seen all season,” said Hannah Head Coach Courtney Jackson. “We just weren’t prepared for it.”
Hannah stanout guard John Kennedy had 11 points, well below his 27 point average, on 3-of-15 shooting. Derek Rowell led the Hawks with 16 points, but needed 11 shots to get there.
“That’s how we win games, with our defense,” said Zatopa.
Waldorf led by 17 after the first quarter and never allowed the margin to shrink to single digits.
Neither team played a traditional interior player in the game. However, the Waldorf guards had a consistent height and length advantage over their Hawk counterparts. That size difference helped the Wolverines eliminate passing lanes and dominate on the boards.
“We’re very athletic and we’re fast and long,” said Lopez. “But in a game like this, if you don’t have ball handlers you’re really going to have a rough night.”
In the end, the moment may have been just too big for the Hawks.
“We’re a little podunk school in Sonoma, we’re not even supposed to be here,” said Johnson. “I think the magnitude of this game really got to my guys.”