Boys Basketball: Bishop O’Dowd too much for Sacred Heart in state playoffs

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior guard Martin Folan (right) holds off Bishop O'Dowd defender Anders Haas on Thursday at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Jeremy Balan

Considering the final score and the way the game played out, some would conclude that Sacred Heart Cathedral played poorly in its 74-61 loss to visiting Bishop O’Dowd — but the Irish simply ran into one of the best teams in the state.

The Irish got solid performances from junior forwards Joshua Fox (14 points) and Taylor Johns (13 points) but struggled at times offensively, especially at the free throw line, where they went 13-for-27.

Sacred Heart Cathedral junior forward Joshua Fox is trapped on the baseline by a pair of Bishop O'Dowd defenders on Thursday at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. (Photo by Devin Chen)

The 13-point deficit doesn’t tell the whole story, as the Irish never seemed to be in the game after the Dragons ended the first quarter with a 20-12 lead.

“The better team won, there is no disputing that,” said Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach Darrell Barbour. “The frustrating part for us was that we couldn’t make a shot and we got good shots. When you’re struggling to score from the field, you have to make free throws, because that gives you confidence. They made theirs and we didn’t.”

The Dragons carried a 59-41 lead into the third quarter, but it was the Sacred Heart bench that added a touch of drama late.

With a combined 11 points from junior Tyler Petroni and sophomores Yanoj Jackson and Khalil James, the Irish went on an 11-2 run and cut the O’Dowd lead to 70-57 with 3:15 remaining.

The late run showed just how bright the Sacred Heart future can be, as the Irish return standouts Johns and Fox next season, and only lose one starter, in guard Martin Folan.

“The experience they went through this year is only going to help them,” Barbour said. “If you look at what Josh Fox and Taylor Johns did against that front line, that size and athleticism, I’m so proud of them. They can play with anyone.”

The Irish held standout O’Dowd forward Brandon Ashley scoreless in the first half, but the deep and balanced Dragons offense had five players score in double figures, including Ashley, who had 13 second-half points, punctuated by two dunks.

Even though the season ended somewhat unceremoniously for the Irish, Barbour was happy with his team’s year, which featured its third-consecutive CIF-Central Coast Section championship.

“Any time you take second in our league, you’ve accomplished something,” Barbour said. “A lot of people didn’t know what to expect when we lost to Serra the way that we did [in the West Catholic Athletic League playoffs]. Our kids were resilient after that, but it didn’t surprise me. Other than winning the whole thing, we had a special year.”

Scoring Leaders

Sacred Heart Cathedral
Joshua Fox – 14
Taylor Johns – 13
Tyler Petroni – 10
Herman Pratt – 10
Yanoj Jackson – 6

Bishop O’Dowd
Anders Haas – 14
Richard Longrus – 14
Brandon Ashley – 13
Terrence King Jr. – 12
Kendall Jackson – 10

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19 Comments

  1. Ari Gold says:

    Damn, I wish we had Brandon Ashley. Ashley, Johns, Fox!!!! Oooohweeee!!!!!

  2. Basketball Fan says:

    Good season Irish. Can’t wait for WCAL next year.

  3. Johnny Drama says:

    Let me preface my comments by saying that I always root for city teams no matter who they play so I was pulling for SHC this game. I also concur with SFP’s rankings. SHC is the best team in SF this year and are the odds on favorite for next year as well. After next year there will be a precipitous drop, unless they get in another soph transfer, a la Johns.

    What I saw last night was the haves’ vs. The have nots. Despite a less than average game for Ashley, BOD dominated from the outset and basically coasted the entire way. BOD’s third and fourth best player are arguably better than SHC’s best player. SHC has “athletes” and BOD has ballers. That is the difference and that is what separates EAST, SOUTH Bay and Sac teams from SF teams. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the demographics shift in the city has hurt our athletics. Ashley’s mom is from SF but now lives in the East Bay. SF is now a white collar town and as a result we have watered down hoops. With that said, SHC will still be a top tier team in WCAL. Mitty will still be favored with Gordon but did lose several senior players. They should also be a favorite for CCS although SI will be a contender also.

    I’ve been reading other posts saying this team over achieved. I disagree. This team did what they should have. When they faced the big boys, they lost. If they would have beat BOD, they would have over achieved. I also read other posts in this forum saying next year they will be state champs. I also disagree. BOD returns most starters and the path to state goes through BOD or SAC.

    Like I told my buddy @ARI, beat BOD and I will give you kudos. I will still give you props for a good campaign and for being the best team in the city, although we split with you this year and are the only team to beat Mitty. But before you start to puff out your chest like SHC is a juggernaut, just be happy with the title of being the tallest midget!!!! See you next year !!!!!

    PS….I usually follow girls hoops as much as I follow the WNBA…..not at all. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the lady cats are the last team standing from the WCAL!

  4. SF_Mikey says:

    Bishop O’Dowd is a very strong, balanced and deep team. Their two best players – Ashley and Longrus – are only juniors so expect to see them again in next years playoffs. Sacred Heart desperately needs better Guard play – their starters gave them nothing last night. Johns and Fox can’t do it all themselves especially when matched against taller opponents like last night. Bishop O’Dowd’s athleticism and length really bothered Sacred Heart all night. Too bad the Irish didn’t shoot better last night to at least make the game competitive but the best team won no doubt about it. They’ll need improved guard play next year to make a deeper run in the playoffs.

  5. Biggie Big... says:

    SHC needs to be pushed harder by coaches, thats too much talent to lose at HOME by 13 pts to a decent to good Odowd team. Why SHC doesn’t change the game shows why they are at home and the season is over now. Too much talent and having played in a tough physical league they showed No toughness vs O dowd. When they fell behind 20 to 12 it looked like SHC coaches and players were shocked and befuddled. SHC needs better and more physical players with pride. No way do you let O-dowd come in to your house and dominate. SHC showed no heart…Better luck next year irish…

  6. Chris says:

    To Johnny Drama, I would like to ask how you think SI would have played O’ Dowd?? I think you would lose by 35 pts..

  7. Johnny Drama says:

    @Chris…We did and we would. i believe I intimated in my post that SHC was a better team than SI this year. I am a homer but also a realist. BOD would beat EVERY high school team in SF without breaking a sweat.

  8. Realist says:

    @Chris SI lost by 36 to BOD at the Barry cLassic in EAst bay at the
    beginning of the season. Mostly eastbay teams are stacked their benches could even play our teams here in SF and would still end up losing .

  9. Ari Gold says:

    O’Dowd has an excellent program. They are basically a really good WCAL that plays in the East Bay. If you added them, Salesian, and De La Salle to make a super WCAL, the overall strength of the league would be 2nd to none across the U.S.

    I hope Brandon Ashley and Aaron Gordon picks Cal. Its a shame that alot of the really good players here in the Bay Area get signed by So Cal schools or another Pac-10 school.

  10. Turtle says:

    Si won the Bruce again baby

  11. chris says:

    Johnny Drama, you are correct, I agree, Bishop O Dowd would beat the all star team of SF if we assembled one.

  12. Johnny Drama says:

    I attended the Castro Valley vs. Oakland game last night. It was an amazing game, each team features a major D1 player in it’s lineup with several mid to high major players also on each team. Let me say Jabari Brown, Juan Anderson and Rod Bobbit are as good as advertised. In fact, Brown and Anderson exceeded their hype. They can flat out play and don’t be surprised to see Brown on TNT in a few years.

    I was in line for 30 minutes just to get in, when was the last time this happened in SF? I ran into several former Holy Trinity WCAL players at the game. Guys that played for Riordan, SH and SI in the 80’s and 90’s. I struck up a lengthy conversation with a former WCAL 1st team guard who played in college and overseas for several years. He made the comment that nobody in the (entire) city would crack the starting lineup for Castro Valley and the only WCAL player that would start for CV is Gordon. The role players for both teams are 6’2-6’4 with incredible athleticism, defensive intensity and above average shooting ability. Basically their benches consisted of players who made 1st team WCAL this year. Oakland could use some shooters so Noah and Mrlik would get some good run on that team but I doubt they would play major roles on that team also.

    i was expressing my opinion the entire season regarding the state of hoops in the city. My opinion was validated by a person who played the game at a high level and also recalls the glory days of city basketball. Hoops is what it is now and I will continue to support my beloved Cats and all city schools when they play non SF teams. And as much as i would love to see SI win more, I am very proud of our rich history and our WCAL titles of yesteryear, as they hold much more “street cred” on the blacktop that is SF hoops than anything happening present day !!!

  13. JJ says:

    BOD wouldn’t beat a team with Fox, Johns, Domingo, AA, and Mrlik

  14. Johnny Drama says:

    Ummmhhhhh……..yes they would.

  15. IC Stars says:

    That’s a lot of missed free-throws….

  16. SI Cats says:

    @Realist- SI actually lost to BOD by 26. But who’s counting.

  17. SI Cats says:

    @BiggieBig- same SHC team that lost at home to Serra by 44. Nice home court advantage.

  18. Ari Gold says:

    @SI Cats. Home court advantage? Serious? High school? How about the best home court advantage is if you have a stacked team full of college D1 prospects. That will win 10 times out of 10 guaranteed.

  19. SI Cats says:

    @Ari Gold. Yeah, I admit, the lack of student support at SHC’s home court really does turn that venue into a neutral site. Running clock vs. Serra…serious??

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