Girls Basketball: Sacred Heart Cathedral stuns St. Ignatius in CCS title game

Sacred Heart Cathedral freshman guard Geanna Summers-Luaulu goes up for a contested layup against St. Ignatius on Saturday at Santa Clara University. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Jeremy Balan

SANTA CLARA — After trailing for most of the first half, St. Ignatius cut what was an 11-point deficit to 34-32 midway through the third quarter, but what happened next may have signaled the arrival of the City’s next big star in girls basketball.

The response came from Sacred Heart Cathedral freshman guard Geanna Summers-Luaulu, who connected on her last five shots from the floor and had 14 of her game-high 20 points in the second half, as the Irish (16-14) pulled away steadily in a 64-48 win over St. Ignatius in the CIF-Central Coast Section Division III finals on Saturday at Santa Clara University.

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior forward Geena Giovannetti goes up for a shot in the lane against St. Ignatius on Saturday at Santa Clara University. (Photo by Doug Ko)

“When they were coming back, I just thought, ‘I gotta push it and start scoring,’ because we wanted this game so bad,” Summers-Luaulu said. “Being a freshman, finally getting a win against them, it feels so amazing. It was just so embarrassing after the Bruce-Mahoney.”

What made the result on Saturday so stunning was how the first two matchups between the teams went, with St. Ignatius (22-7) beating Sacred Heart 58-29 and 60-50 in the West Catholic Athletic League season.

For second-year Sacred Heart head coach Mike Carey, the win served as vindication not only the two losses to St. Ignatius, but also the heavy criticism of his own coaching credentials. As the seconds ticked down, Carey was visibly emotional and relieved.

“All I’ve heard is how I’m not [former Sacred Heart head coach] Brian Harrigan,” Carey said. “I was almost crying, because I’m so proud of this team. This is for all the people who came to USF and saw us lose by 29 points and said, ‘Oh he can’t coach. He’s a JV coach, not a varsity coach.'”

While it was Summers-Luaulu’s late burst that left a lasting impression, Sacred Heart senior forward Geena Giovannetti was the Irish’s most constant scoring threat, finishing with 14 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. In what could be her last meeting with St. Ignatius, she was more than happy to send her rivals home with a loss.

“It means everything to us, because we had two tough losses to them already,” Giovannetti said. “We wanted this so bad. I think this one is more important than the other two, so I’d rather have this one.”

St. Ignatius, which has torn through the CCS playoffs, scoring a combined 166 points in their first two tournament games, struggled to hit open jump shots throughout and shot just over 27 percent from the floor in the game and 13-of-22 from the free throw line.

“We knew they were better than what they showed us at USF and we’ve watched them play for the last couple of weeks,” said St. Ignatius head coach Mike Mulkerrins. “They’re young and getting better and better, but the thing is, we couldn’t hit an outside shot. When we can’t hit shots and can’t get to the hole, it’s going to be a long game for us.”

The Wildcats came close in the third quarter, but it was the deficit built in the second, in which Sacred Heart outscored St. Ignatius 13-5, that they couldn’t overcome.

“We’ve been playing really well, but we just didn’t have it today, and unfortunately it was the biggest game of the year,” Mulkerrins said.

By advancing to the championship game, both teams will represent the CCS in the CIF state championship tournament that begins next week.

Scoring Leaders

Sacred Heart Cathedral
Geanna Summers-Luaulu – 20
Geena Giovannetti – 14
T. J. Miller – 10
Dannika Navales-Lugtu – 6
Jerrieza Enriquez – 4

St. Ignatius
Maria Kemiji-McDonald – 15
Courtney Gong – 9
Raquel Avila – 8
Kaitlyn Crawley – 8
Stacey Ward – 6

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  1. cool guy says:

    way to go irish!

  2. scott says:

    Good work to the basketball programs of the boys and girls, CCS champs!!!!

  3. Christopher Carey says:

    A couple weeks ago I posted a comment in response to another article in which my father coach Mike Carey and his womens varsity team were being badmouthed in the comments. I simply said “watch out for this team come playoff time”. A day after watching them win the CCS championship, I sit here smiling hugely…yes S.I shot horribly but that’s what happens when you take away their usual fastbreaks gimme buckets and turn up the defensive intensity forcing them to try bland hit shots. Coming in clutch when it counts, shout out to Charlie Sheen because Sacred Heart is #WINNING

  4. Anonymous says:

    2nd year in a row SI runner up in CCS championship!!

  5. BAsketball Junkie says:

    @Chris Carey
    got this comment from the other column.

    Pretty good game plan by Mike Carey! Kudos to to him the girls responded very well. Their point Geana was the difference she made shots when it counted. Full court pressure the whole game, subs in and out to rest his defenders.SI girls got tired with only
    5 players playing virtually the whole game, made a run in the 3rd Quarter but cannot capitalize on the FT and easy layups, sure signs of fatigue. Throw the WCAL record away this one counted more! Congratulations!!

  6. BAsketball Junkie says:

    Sorry but SI was runner in CCS championships 5th in a row!!!

  7. SI Cats says:

    Hey Coach Carey…your post-game comments after this game were pretty’s NOT about you! It’s about your players. You really shouldn’t care what people think about your coaching skills. Typical.

  8. Me says:

    2nd that! 4 out 5 against SHCP the last 5 yrs. Runner up to VC last year

  9. Priorities says:

    Not impressed with the SH coach interview at all.

    “All I’ve heard is how I’m not [former Sacred Heart head coach] Brian Harrigan,” Carey said. “I was almost crying, because I’m so proud of this team. This is for all the people who came to USF and saw us lose by 29 points and said, ‘Oh he can’t coach. He’s a JV coach, not a varsity coach.’”

    So it’s all about you? What about the kids? It’s for all the people who saw you lose the Bruce but now YOU proved you can coach at the varsity level? I don’t know, that just rubs me the wrong way. It was the girls out there who won the game, and they’re who deserves the credit. Even if he did coach a good game, the classy thing to do is to praise the team. Don’t make the game about you, coach. You’re an adult. This is about the kids.

  10. sfpatriot says:

    Congrats Irish!!

  11. IC Stars says:

    Priorities, Mike Carey full-well knows his priorities, but who wouldn’t bite back at critics after all the nonsense people have been saying about his coaching ability? He knows the system as well as Brian Harrigan does and this game proves it.

    Go Irish!

  12. Irish Fan says:

    Congratulations and immense redemption for the Irish Girls on their win to SI, but let’s not overlook the “Elephant in the room”. A few weeks ago these girls were struggling and hoping to advance to playoffs. Their winning streak to capture a nod into NorCal is a huge accomplishment, however the CCS brackets were entirely watered-down. I give kudos to Coach Carrey for a speck for change, but its noticeable of the “helping” hands he has on the bench. In a flash SH lost an 11 point lead to SI, and no one from the bench was called to turn things around? In the next couple of weeks, SH will go toe-to-toe with tough teams. Let’s see how well Coach Carrey and his helpers will handle the pressure. How sweet is victory when the Elephant is still present in the room?

  13. Pablo says:

    Congrats to the Irish Girls and Coaching staff, unbelievable game by the freshman Geanna. A great day for the school and the SHCP community, to wake up with 2 CCS tiles is fantastic.

  14. I second that.... says:

    I agree with Priorities. It’s almost comical how the SH Coach is relieved the team was able to make it this far, after having a nasty WCAL season. Let’s recap. Did SH win Mitty, Presentation or SI during the regular season? Did Coach have the urge to cry next to his players that feel hopeless where their season is going? I wish the Irish team good luck in the next rounds, but reality is that CCS Champs is all they’ll see for this season. Coach Carrey is a joke. The Bruce loss was embarrassing. I tip my hat to ALL the girls for not giving up. Even the ones that don’t see the court. Good luck to you all.

  15. Irish says:


  16. Pablo says:

    By the way, Si Cats and Priorities! take a look at your own comments posted week in week out, constantly ragging on your boys coach, don’t worry about our coach and his obvious emotions, after all he and the team had just pulled off one of the biggest upset’s in the ongoing rivalry of these 2 great schools.

  17. JJ says:

    I agree with what Priorities & SI Cats said about Mr. Carey.

  18. Christopher Carey says:

    That’s one limited comment of a full postgame interview. Notice how he’s proud of the team too because part of the criticism all year was how they underachieved. Hes speaking as a team. This was a team everyone had talked down and etc. Look at the WCAL teams all doing well in CCS, and SI also easily handled Terra Nova. Yes there’s coaching help and the girls did extremely well which is why he says “proud of the team”. Refreshing to see teams such as both Sacred Hearts mens and womens continue to win based on TEAM play and gameplan execution, rather than rely on a so-called superstar. Go Irish and haters/doubters etc can say whatever you want. Every Sacred Heart fan is proud of Coach Carey and the team. Haha they’re not even supposes to still be playing by anyones predictions so………..

  19. Fan says:

    Before you jump all over coach Carey, you might want to ask yourself what question the reporter asked him before answering the question generating this quote. If the reporter asks him how it felt to finally be able to beat SI after the past 2 match-ups and with all of the criticism directed at you, then it is a perfectly appropriate answer. Get off his back and give the guy a break.

    • jbalan says:

      The question was to describe his emotions, and I agree with @Fan’s sentiment… Give the guy a break, after some of the abuse he’s taken (much of which has been on our web site), he deserves to feel somewhat vindicated…

      Also, he was more than gracious throughout the interview about his team…

  20. Anonymous says:

    Runner ups For the the last 5 years 4 to SHCP. M. Carey coached his team to victory his players
    responded regardless how many people were helping him, he was the one standing directing plays.
    You guys didn’t even notice how he was reacting seconds before the end of the game when his subbed for his starters, he hugged everybody esp his point Geanna. So please SI until you beat SHCP in a big game! You can rag all you want but give the man some credit! He deserved it, He had a game plan and it worked!The SH
    Girls deserved it.

  21. Priorities says:

    @Fan and @jbalan

    Knowing the question that led to that quote does help give context to this article. And I’m sure that quote is one of many – with most pertaining to the team. But I guess that, even when asked that question, I would look for a coach of his caliber at a school like SH to continue to “not make it about him”. And I didn’t see that.

    “This is for all the people who came to USF and saw us lose by 29 points and said, ‘Oh he can’t coach. He’s a JV coach, not a varsity coach.’”

    I guess it just rubbed me the wrong way that the win was “for those people”. To prove he’s a capable coach. Versus having the game be for the girls and all who doubted the TEAM, not just their coach.

    And @Pablo, you have not seen me make one comment on SI’s coach this year. Many others have. So I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  22. LifelongIrishFan says:

    @ Priorities-I find it very comical that you said Coach Carey,saying that he didn’t give the kids recognition.well if I read the comment correctly,before he made the comment that he is getting criticized for by opposing fans who

  23. LifelongIrishFan says:

    @ Priorities,@SI Cats,and @I second that…-I find it very comical that you said Coach Carey’s comments were out of line,saying that he didn’t give the kids recognition.well if I read the comment correctly,before he made the comment that he is getting criticized for he said-“I AM SO PROUD OF MY TEAM.”give the man some recognition,everybody basically wrote off him and his team once they lost at USF.

    I AM A FAMILY MEMBER OF COACH CAREY AND HAVING TALKED TO HIM THE PAST 2 DAYS,HE CANNOT STOP TALKING ABOUT HOW PROUD HE IS OF HIS TEAM.This was an emotional game for both sides and it was reflective in the coaching staffs as well.A coach can never be proud if their players and everything they do for the team is FOR THE PLAYERS.THIS VICTORY IS ALL ABOUT THE SHC WOMEN’S BBALL PROGRAM.

    Also,next time you decide to bash a coach immediately after a well deserved victory,please take the time to spell his name correctly. Pretty sure you’re the ones who hated on the program all year,means you have probably seen his name quite often. “CAREY” not “CARRY”

  24. SF says:

    Congratulations to Coach Carey and the players of SHC. It’s a testament to the hard work of the coaches and players to improve throughout the season, after losing by 29 at USF, they worked hard and beat SI when it mattered. Good luck to both teams in the state tournament.

  25. Just Play says:

    When the final buzzer sounds the game is over. SH won SI didn’t. Whether your a fan of the SH coach or not he coached the winning team for this game. We all could go on in this forum and others debating every coach on their coaching ability. But if you look at history through out any sport, replacing a winning and/or legendary coach is always a tough act to follow. You have your naysayers, detractors, supporters etc….but you have to just keep on pushing forward. With all the technological advances we get to heard all the positive and negative instantly with these posts a good or bad thing only time will tell.

  26. Anonymous says:

    SHC community is proud of Coach Carey and the players of the basketball teams…SI can say whatever they want about CCS being watered down, etc…, BUT they are not CCS champs and they lost to Burlingame!!!

  27. Marie says:

    SHC community and San Francisco should be proud of the SHC basketball boys and girls. Oh, and for the comment made by “I second that”, regarding CCS is watered down and its all about WCAL since SHC lost to Mitty, and Presentation and SI. Well, SI lost to Burlingame, right!? Burlingame was better than SI obviously.

  28. FAN says:

    Blah, blah, blah. I’m sure Coach Carey (did I spell that correct?) didn’t meant to take the spotlight from his team, I’m sure he is superbly proud and excited of their big win on Saturday, but I agree with every poster above– the good and the bad comments. The harsh posters are not convinced yet because of the current “wins” and the Pro-Carey posters are on the defense. There have been a huge improvements to the program, which is GREAT, but I significantly agree with what one poster said about the elephant being in the room. For anyone involved in the program knows what that entails. Coach Carey, I do wish you the best. If there is anyone who you should listen to or pay attention to is your team. You’ll know what the teams needs by looking at their faces and effort. The play with lots of heart.

  29. Rick H says:

    Great job by the Irish Girls and Coach Carey’s game plan. Stop griping Irish fans, you won the CCS and you did it over your biggest rival. I know those SI players, who haven’t won a CCS title in girls basketball for a few years, would love to be CCS Champions after their great season. No matter, we are still proud of our SI girls as athletes and more importantly as young women. Just remember, the Bruce Mahoney trophy lives in the Sunset at SI. Exactly where it has been for the last 11 out of 12 years. Have you seen it?

  30. Ari Gold says:

    @ Rick… ive seen it. its overrated. i love looking at our state titles more than that broken down trophy which you guys broke on a few occasions.

  31. Priorities says:

    @Ari Gold,

    “broken down trophy”? Have some respect. Bill Bruce and Jerry Mahoney gave their lives for our country and the trophy represents all that is right about high school sports. For BOTH schools. I think most SH alums would agree the Bruce-Mahoney games mean something fairly significant. It brings the City together for one of the best rivalries in high school sports.

    I think you prefer looking at state titles to the trophy not by choice, but by circumstance. You haven’t had many opportunities to look at the trophy. Certainly not as of late.

  32. IRISH MAN says:


  33. @ed says:

    I am not an Irish nor an SI fan but I don’t see any logic why
    the SI faithful are complaining about SH’s coach. they should be
    complaining about their own coaches boys and Girls BB program
    because they have not won any titles yet correct me pls if I am wrong. They had a chance last year to
    win CCS D3 girls with POY on their side but cannot.

  34. IC Stars says:

    Yes, Rick H, I’ve seen it. Even though SHC has beaten SI head-to-head in varsity competition in all sports combined more often than not lately.

  35. The Wildcats says:

    @Ari Gold “Broken down trophy?” Seriously, show some respect to Bill Bruce and Jerry Mahoney whose brave actions helped win World War II. @Ari Gold pretty much spit in the face of Jerry Mahoney when he called the trophy named in his honor “broken down.” Jerry Mahoney died when his ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine. He died a brave man as did Bill Bruce in a fighter plane crash. You should be ashamed that you think girls state titles in basketball outweigh the sacrifices that alumni from both SI and SHC made in World War II or what the trophy represents to the students and alumni of the school and native San Franciscans. Get some perspective. And since SHC has hardly won the Bruce Mahoney trophy since 1946 (The SHC campus doesn’t even have a display case for it), you probably don’t know the inscription on the trophy that reads,”The Winner keeps me. Skill is what I cost. Victory, often comes to those who have lost.”

  36. The Wildcats says:

    And @Ari Gold, you have seen the Bruce Mahoney trophy and call it “overrated.” I guess being the oldest high school rivalry west of the Mississippi and the oldest private school rivalry in the country is “overrated” too by your logic?

  37. The Wildcats says:

    @IC Stars What record books are you looking at? SI OWNS SHC in all the major sports for boys and girls if you want to go by overall records in 60 years in the AAA and the WCAL. Don’t make it sound like you have some sort of athletic dynasty over there. You just got good in girls basketball the last decade. What have you done otherwise besides in boys & girls basketball the last 3 years? Football? You can’t even beat an SI team in a down year. Baseball? Who won the game last time at AT&T Park when it counted?

    You guys don’t even show up when it comes to soccer, lacrosse, crew, golf, tennis, softball, etc. SI is the #1 lacrosse team in the West and in 2006 had a World Champion Crew Team that won at a worldwide crew event in England (Henley). SHC has never won a World Championship in their history. A “mythical” national title for the girls in hoops, yes.

    And don’t forget SI beat SHC in girls volleyball also in the CCS in 2010. If you just want to go by the records in the three major boys sports: football, basketball, and baseball, just look at the Bruce Mahoney record since 1946. SI has won the trophy 45 times!

  38. Observer says:

    Congrats to both SI & SHC girls on a great season. Oscar would have been proud of both teams. Shout out to all of Oscar’s girls on the SHC team, I know you all have been playing with heavy hearts this season but just know that Oscar is smiling down on you all. Good Luck to both teams the rest of the way.

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