Boys Basketball: Sacred Heart Cathedral wins WCAL opener against Riordan

By Bonta Hill

In the opening game of the meat-grinder called the West Catholic Athletic League, Sacred Heart Cathedral was faced with the difficult task of playing against their rival Riordan without their best player.

But the Irish outlasted visiting Riordan 45-37 behind Martin Folan’s two three-pointers late in the fourth quarter, and that proved to be the difference in the tight, physical contest.

Sacred Heart Cathedral junior forward Joshua Fox dunks against Riordan in both teams' West Catholic Athletic League opener on Tuesday at Sacred Heart Cathedral. (Photo by Devin Chen)

With standout forward Taylor Johns sitting out for missing practice, fellow forward Joshua Fox carried much of the load with 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Yanoj Jackson chipped in 11 points off the bench as the Irish (9-2, 1-0) overcame 19 turnovers to pull out the victory.

“We knew Taylor wasn’t going to be [playing] and we all knew we had to step up because Taylor is a big part of this team,” Fox said. “We all trust in each other, so I thought we would still come out with the win.”

Riordan (6-5, 0-1) trailed for most of the game, but they had plenty of opportunities to pull the upset on the road.

With the pace of the game to their liking, the Crusaders didn’t help themselves offensively, as they shot a meager 11-of-48 from the floor, including 5-of-21 in the first half. Much of the poor shooting had to do with numerous missed layups.

“I know the kids were upset with the missed shots,” said Riordan head coach Rich Buckner. ““It’s just back to the drawing board. The kids know they missed the layups, they know they missed the shots, and I’m not going to bury them anymore about that.”

However, the Crusaders only trailed 26-20 at the half, and turned up the defensive pressure on the Irish in the second half, which had the Sacred Heart offense befuddled.

Sacred Heart’s control of the game started to slip in the third quarter as Riordan’s man-to-man defense started to suffocate the Irish, forcing them into 4-of-11 shooting and four turnovers.

“Third quarter was a killer for us. We didn’t score very many points and the tempo wasn’t to our liking,” said Sacred Heart head coach Darrell Barbour. “I think our guys got a little gun-shy, missed a couple of shots and we got tentative.”

Down 35-29 going into the fourth, Riordan would cut the Irish lead to 35-33, but just as the Crusader faithful began to make noise, Sacred Heart guard Martin Folan’s corner three-pointer would quiet them as he put his team up 40-35 with just under three minutes left in the game.

Then when Riordan cut the lead to 40-37, Folan sank another back-breaking three-pointer that would give the Irish a 43-37 lead with just under 1:53 left in the game.

“The team has confidence in me, they always want me to shoot,” said Folan, who finished with 10 points. “They always feed me the ball and that’s great to have as a teammate.”

For Riordan, it was another tough loss, as their offense sputtered badly down the stretch. The Crusaders shot 3-of-17 in the fourth quarter to cap off a rough shooting night.

“You would think that when you only give up 45 points in the ballgame, that you would do something more on offense to win,” Buckner said. “It’s the second time this season where we’ve held a team to 45 points, but we couldn’t get over the hump offensively.”

Despite playing without Johns, Barbour was proud of the way his team fought through their first league game against a rival. Even though his team wasn’t able to play faster due to Riordan’s defense, Barbour was equally proud of his team’s defensive performance.

“Both teams played very hard and that’s the beauty of being in this league, because no game is a gimmie. Riordan played their tails off, but our defense stepped up tonight,” Barbour said. “It’s a good win. It’s better to be 1-0 than 0-1. We got off to a good start, but we need to come back tomorrow and have a good practice and get ready for Friday’s game [against Valley Christian].”

Riordan will regroup and try to earn their first league victory Friday at home against St. Francis.

Scoring Leaders

Sacred Heart Cathedral
Joshua Fox – 12
Yanoj Jackson – 11
Martin Folan – 10
Herman Pratt – 7
Robert Yee – 3

Riordan
Aaron Anderson – 12
Anthony Castillo – 11
Brandon Edison – 6
Jordan Dougherty – 6
D.J. Harvey – 2

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10 Comments

  1. you know SERIOUS FAN ALUMNI says:

    Hey coach buckner,

    WHERE ARE YOUR BIGS???????? WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO SHOW UP TO PLAY BASKETBALL?????????? THEY CAN’T BUY A BUCKET. JUST A SUGGESTION YOU SHOULD FORGET ABOUT RUNNING PLAYS AND START WORKING ON MAKING LAYUPS. YOUR TEAM BEAT THEMSELVES YOU GUYS SHOT A PETHTIC 20% YOU CAN’T BUY A BUCKET YOUR ONLY HIGHTLIGHT ON YOUR TEAM IS THE GUY WHO IS NOT PLAYING HIS NATURAL POSITION

    COME-ON-MAN

  2. Anonymous says:

    This was a very sloppy game by both teams. If Johns played, it wouldn’t have been so close.

  3. Anonymous says:

    @you know SERIOUS FAN ALUMNI: I think your aggression is pointed at the wrong person(s). As a former coach in HS, there is not enough time to focus on the basics of the game, it is really up to the kids to put in the work on their own. From what I have seen, Coach Buckner truly gets the most he can from what he has. He has not one college caliber (at this stage) player on his roster yet they manage to compete game in and game out. There is no better young coach in the Bay Area than him. I think it is quite remarkable what he accomplishes with the talent level. His kids play hard so you should not denigrate their play. As an alumni of the school, are you doing your part?

  4. Photog says:

    Is that Conrad Fox’s little brother????

  5. Anonymous says:

    @ Photog Yes that is Conrad’s brother.

  6. Biggie Big... says:

    A good game, the WCAL lets the game be physical and many of the kids are not used to it. Riordan blew too many easy shots but SHC was by far the better team. SHC played without one of their big guys who was being disciplined for not attending a practice. A big props for coach Barbour to send a message that no practice=no play…Keep up the good job SHC….

  7. IC Stars says:

    Riordan’s protests are music to my ears. At least Taylor Johns gets a rest before the SI game.

  8. joman says:

    I believe that the Fox kid maybe better than Johns. He just has a better skill set, when they are on the court it is a fearsome front court.

  9. whoever says:

    @Anonymous
    says:
    January 5, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Coach Buckner is a outstanding talented young coach, however for you to make the statement that coach Buckner has not one college caliber (at this stage) player on his roster maybe a major factor/component why you are no longer a HS Coach because you obviously have no eye for talent or athleticism

  10. Anonymous says:

    @whoever…please expand on your comment by saying whjo on that roster is college ready right now. He has some sophomores who may develop into college players but are any of his seniors/juniors being recruited? If so, who and by whom. And please, no opinions on your part, just facts……names and schools. If you can produce some, I will admit I made an error in judgement.

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