Boys Basketball: University ice cold in NCS final loss to St. Joseph Notre Dame

University senior guard Noah Springwater goes up for a contested shot against St. Joseph Notre Dame on Friday at Albany High School. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Jeremy Balan

ALBANY — Hopes were high heading into the CIF-North Coast Section Division V championship game, which featured the tournament’s top two seeds, but the two teams couldn’t look farther apart on Friday night at Albany High School.

St. Joseph Notre Dame High School played arguably its best game of the season, and University undoubtedly played its worst in a 63-32 drubbing.

University sophomore Harold Getz goes up for a fall-away jump shot against St. Joseph Notre Dame on Friday at Albany High School. (Photo by Doug Ko)

The Red Devils’ (26-6) offense, which relies so heavily on three-point shooting, shot 3-of-29 from behind the arc in the game, and produced their lowest point total since the 2005-2006 season. University also had 21 turnovers in the first three quarters and 23 total.

“I really can only make light of it, in that this game doesn’t matter in terms of the [upcoming state championship tournament]. We wanted to get all of our missed shots and all of our turnovers out of the way, and we executed that perfectly,” said University head coach Randal Bessolo.

What was most troubling about the cold shooting was that many of the long-range shots were open and often uncontested, something the Red Devils usually feast on.

“We had a lot of good looks early and a lot of them resulted in airballs,” Bessolo said. “It could be nerves, but at this point, we really don’t care what it was. I believe in all of our players and I believe in us as a team. We’re going to shake this off.”

While the University shots missed the mark early, it appeared as though the Pilots couldn’t miss in the first half, as they connected on 50 percent of their shots from the floor and 5-of-9 shots from three-point range.

St. Joseph’s most glaring advantage, 6-foot-10 senior center Brendan Keane, was almost a non-factor, scoring just six points, but it was the Pilots’ group of guards that controlled the offensive tempo and locked down University’s guards.

“That’s a very good team, but today our defensive intensity was beyond anything we’ve done all year,” said St. Joseph head coach Don Lippi. “We were all ready to play, and that’s what you want this time of year.”

The Pilots held the Red Devils’ scoring to single digits in each of the first three quarters, including just three points in the third, as St. Joseph opened up a 52-19 lead.

The CIF state tournament brackets will be released on Sunday, but after its performance on Friday, the NorCal championship runs through St. Joseph.

“The message we sent to ourselves tonight was, if we can do that all the time, we’re going to win,” Lippi said. “We’ve got the talent, and we’re really starting to click on the floor.”

For University, the focus appears to be on the immediate future, and a rematch with St. Joseph a distant aspiration.

“Given how we played tonight, we’re not really worried about another chance at them, we’re worried about our next game,” Bessolo said. “If we can get back on track, we’d appreciate the opportunity to play them again.”

Scoring Leaders

Zio Enriquez – 11
Harold Getz – 7
Noah Springwater – 7
Jack Gale – 5
David Medoff – 2

St. Joseph Notre Dame
Dominic Lippi – 13
Nick Lacy – 10
Gemeny Givens – 8
Brendan Keane – 8
Three players tied with 6 points

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Everybody knows in the bay area a Don Lippi
    Coached team with talent is hard to beat! For UNI
    Live by the 3 die by the 3 the latter happened
    Tonight,3-29 in 3s. UNi would probably rebound.
    Enjoy the good run though UNI it won’t probaly
    Happen again without Noah and Zio nextyear!

  2. Johnny Drama says:

    Is anybody really surprised by this? This is what would happen 99.9% of the time when they play a team with some talent. And by the looks of it, the SJ stars didn’t dominate. Whitfield’s name isn’t even posted. Bessolo is a good coach who knows the game but it appears Lippi is the real genius coach. Uni will still probably breeze through the weak D5 bracket and meet up with these guys again. And to quote the great philosopher, Sidney Dean from “White Men Can’t Jump”, “the sun even shines on a dogs’ ass some days”, so they may win. Was the clock running in this game as well?

  3. Jordan24 says:

    to think what lippi could have done @ si this season…not sure why lippi left in the first place? i don’t care what anyone else says, you still need talent to win. great coaching can only take you so far…

  4. airball says:

    “i don’t care what anyone else says, you still need talent to win. great coaching can only take you so far…”

    Agreed 100%

    Not to take anything away from University and their kids, however it would be very interesting to see Coach Bessolo at a “bigger” school, perhaps a school in the WCAL?

  5. Anti Johnny Drama says:

    Nobody can deny that the University team is talented, clearly this kind of loss in almost unheard of–last time they played St. Joe’s they lost by around 10 points. Look it up, UHS has played talented teams and done better than this. It seems like you believe this game showed the real uhs team, when clearly it did the opposite. Stop looking for an excuse to bash UHS and get your made up “stat” of 99.9% outta here.

  6. bro says:

    Uni will rebound when it needs to and probably beat these guys the next time.

  7. BASED GOD says:


    UHS will never play St. Joe’s again this season because they’re not good enough to make it that far. If a team has good enough athletes to handle Noah Springwater, then they don’t have to worry about University because that is all they have and it looks like their 3 point shooters are dry now…

  8. Johnny Drama says:

    @anti JD you get outta here! Hahaha

    UHS has 1 good kid who is also one dimensional. I assume they doubled him throughout the game.

  9. More Drama says:

    @ Johnny Drama – Whitfield did not need to score he was too busy racking up on assists and shutting Noah Springwater completely down. He and some of the other starters did not have to play the whole game. SJND played some tenacious defense last night UNI was just not ready for it.

    @ Bro – Probably is the operative word. I would say that when they lost by 11 the last time but by 31 let’s be real.

    I’m not bashing UNI and I think that Bessolo is a good coach. I was at the game, St. Joe’s dominated all night even with the reserves in. They play in a rough league against some tough D IV opponents and their experience showed last night.

  10. @JD says:

    UHS beat St. Joes 2 times out of 2 last year, once at St. Joes pre-conference play tourney and once in last years NorCal semis in what was probably the most crazy comeback in Norcal basketball in recent times other than St. Joes coming back against Branson 19 in last three minutes the year before. The 1 good kid at UHS is the best player in the city and very multi-dimensional (if you don’t think so try to play against him). And St. Joes is way more talented than SI dude. Springwater is better than Mrylic SIs top player. St. Joes has atleast 2 DI prospects graduating this year, how many does SI have? SHC is probably more comprable

  11. Dre says:

    Spring water is way better than Mrylic. Uni plays very tough teams

  12. Johnny Drama says:

    Fellas, fellas, fellas…’re pumping up a kid that went for 7 points because he was the focal point of the opposing teams D. Mrlik faced that every night and still led a much tougher league in scoring. you said St joes is way better than SI? We know they are 31 points better than Uni! Do you consider 31 points WAY better? And as far as me playing against him, I would put some wood on him and hold him to seven also! Domingo will play D1 and you’ll be surprised where Mrlik will end up.

    I agree Spring is one of the better kids in the city. The best? That’s up for debate. I like the kid from Washington.

  13. bb fan says:

    come on, i like that kid from Lincoln.

  14. former coaches says:

    Just to let everybody know both coaches at SJND Boys and Girls BB program were former
    “winning coaches of SI” .

  15. AGREED says:


    “Fellas, fellas, fellas…’re pumping up a kid that went for 7 points because he was the focal point of the opposing teams D. Mrlik faced that every night and still led a much tougher league in scoring.”

    YOU SPEAK THE TRUTH! Johnny Mrlik should be City POY.

  16. truth hurts says:

    Did University press till the buzzer sounded again…………………..oh never mind, I thought University won.

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