Sacred Heart Cathedral finished the first quarter on a 14-0 run and never looked back, to clinch the CIF-Central Coast Section Division III title with a decisive 57-30 win over Burlingame High School at Santa Clara University on Saturday.
Burlingame (21-9) struggled to score early and the Fightin’ Irish (13-14) jumped out to a 18-3 lead after the first quarter.
Three Irish players scored in double-digits, led by Jamal Ford, who had 14. Karl Reyes followed closely with 13 points and Martin Folan added 10. Reyes made his first five shots from the floor, including three 3-pointers.
“The game is a lot easier when you make shots,” said Irish Head Coach Darrell Barbour.
The Panthers shot 25 percent from the field compared to Sacred Heart, which shot 45 percent.
“I think the arena gave us some problems, but part of it was nerves,” said Panthers Head Coach Jeff Dowd. “I’m disappointed and frustrated, as a coach, that we made it this far and to give [that] kind of effort.”
The Irish made 44 percent of their 3-point shots, most of which were open looks.
“Defense is what we hang our hats on, but today it just wasn’t there,” said Dowd. “As a coach I need to figure out what went wrong so we can fix this.”
Junior forward Rodrigo Puliceno led the Panthers with 12 points and senior Tommy Fallon added seven, while fellow starters Erik Chaney and Kyle Shaffer were both held scoreless
The Irish scored 14 consecutive points in the final 2:12 of the first quarter and their run continued into the second, when they made two more baskets to cap a 19-0 run.
Both teams committed plenty of turnovers, although most of the Irish turnovers were at the end of the game when they pulled their starters.
Burlingame had 11 turnovers in the first quarter, most of which turned into points for the Irish.
Each team will advance to the CIF NorCal Division III playoffs, which begin on Tuesday. First-round matchups will be released on Sunday.