Boys Basketball: Sacred Heart shrugs away slow start to beat Riordan

Sacred Heart Cathedral's Herman Pratt (right) makes a block on Riordan's Aaron Anderson on Wednesday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Bonta Hill

Down 11-7 midway through the first quarter, Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach Darrell Barbour sent all five of his starters to the bench for their sluggish play.

The tactic was effective, as the Irish bench sparked an 18-3 first half run, and visiting Sacred Heart ran past longtime rival Riordan High School to a 70-59 victory in West Catholic Athletic League play.

Sacred Heart Cathedral junior forward Taylor Johns skies for a rebound against Riordan on Wednesday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“We’ve been getting off to fast starts, and I’m trying to figure out why that is, because we’re not coming out playing with a lot of energy,” Barbour said. “The second unit came in there and gave us some life, and when the first unit came back in, they picked up where the second unit left off.”

Sacred Heart (14-4, 6-2) shot an efficient 53 percent for the game, and guard Martin Folan led the Irish with 13 points in a very balanced offensive display.

“We shared the ball well, because Riordan played us in a lot of zone this time around, and our guys did a good job of finding the open man,” Barbour said. “We shot the ball well, but we also shot it with confidence and it showed tonight. It was good to see our guys make some shots.”

Sacred Heart junior forward Joshua Fox turned in a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, Taylor Johns added 8 points with 11 rebounds, and Robert Yee chipped in with 10 points off the bench, as Sacred Heart took over sole possession of second place after Serra’s loss to St. Ignatius on Wednesday.

For Riordan (7-11, 1-7), the first two quarters were a microcosm of their season. The Crusaders started fast, only to follow up their aggressive play with cold spells and turnovers.

After leading for most of the first quarter, Riordan wouldn’t hit a field goal in the second frame until 2:47 was remaining in the half.

The Crusaders got another solid effort from Aaron Anderson who had 17 points with five assists, but they turned the ball over seven times in the second quarter and shot only 27 percent, falling behind 32-21 at the half.

“Before the game, we talked about the snowball effect, not to let Sacred Heart’s 4-0, 6-2 runs turn into a 10-point swing,” said Riordan head coach Rich Buckner. “That’s exactly what happened, as guys got away from the game plan and let the snowball effect get them.”

To Riordan’s credit, they didn’t lay down to their hated cross-town rivals. After falling behind 55-40, the Crusaders went on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to nine in the fourth quarter.

But Yee sank three-pointers on consecutive possessions to put the Irish back up 61-46 and Sacred Heart was on its way to completing a regular-season sweep.

Despite the big win, Barbour still had concern for his team’s slow starts, something that he hopes doesn’t plague the Irish down the road.

“When we start getting in these bigger games, we have to correct that because we can’t get behind and start giving teams confidence,” Barbour said. “But it was a good win. Every win in this league is a good win.”

Scoring Leaders

Sacred Heart Cathedral
Martin Folan – 13
Joshua Fox – 11
Robert Yee – 10
Herman Pratt – 9
Taylor Johns – 8

Riordan
Aaron Anderson – 17
Anthony Castillo – 13
Brandon Edison – 11
Graham Gilleran – 6
Two tied with 4 points

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8 Comments

  1. IC Stars says:

    “Hated cross-town rivals”?? Nah, that can’t happen….

  2. Biggie Big... says:

    It was a good game early but then the size and athleticism took affect for the irish of SH. Sh was just a better team with much more talent, coach Buckner from Riordan does a good job with the players he has but in the WCAL you have to have a couple of talented hard working players and at this time Coach Buckner has 0. The irish look strong but better get tougher and learn to make freethrows….

  3. whoever says:

    biggie big is making smallie small comments

  4. Old RiordanAlum says:

    That just cost me 10 bucks….

  5. BB Fan says:

    Biggie, I wouldn’t say Buckner has 0. Buckner’s kids are hardworking. They’re missing a CONSISTENT outside shooter, and due to circumstances, a point guard! If Riordan had their point guards back and 1 or 2 other shooters, this game would be totally different. Its seems like SHC did their job with keeping Riordan’s inside points to a minimum.

    A win is a win in the WCAL, but when the loss by the last place team is only 11 points, thats got to be a warning. Good effort Riordan. Nice game SHC.

  6. IC Stars says:

    You’re right about the free-throws Biggie, but they were better in this game than in earlier in the season.

  7. RABBIT says:

    Riordan doesnt need slefish players who refuse to go to class or do their homework on a consistent basis, coach Buckner cant win ( nor could coach Blake) with that going on. Cant count on them, cant win with them.
    Hopefully, the new boarding students will bring some needed leadership and athleticism when they arrive on campus; and coupled with some very good and dedicated fosh/soph players, Riordan may be on the move sooner than later.

    Now can we bring in some shooters ala Dirk and and some big D and O line student athletes while you are at it as you tour Europe?

  8. Anonymous says:

    you people need to get alife

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