By Bonta Hill
Considered an afterthought among the City’s best teams, the Archbishop Riordan High School boys basketball has proved otherwise the last two nights.
A night after their rout of University on Thursday night, the Crusaders jumped all over Balboa High School in a 67-39 non-league win on Friday.
After Balboa (10-3) cut the early Riordan lead to 11-9 midway through the first quarter, the Crusaders (5-2) went on a 16-2 run and the Bucs would get no closer.
“I thought we played well and we’re on the upswing right now,” said Riordan head coach Rich Buckner. “Guys are buying into what we’re trying to do and we’re creating our offense with our defense.”
The Riordan defense forced 17 turnovers, including 12 in the first half. Riordan also out-rebounded the smaller Bucs 41-27 and limited Balboa to 36 percent shooting from the floor
“Riordan did a really did a good job of playing defense tonight,” said Balboa head coach Val Cubales. “The biggest thing was we couldn’t get back on defense and we struggled with their transition game.”
Leading the charge for the Riordan defense was point guard Geru Mabrey.
The junior finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, and three steals, while constantly hounding the Balboa guards, leading to numerous fast breaks.
Riordan sophomore guard Bobby Arenas also came within a rebound of his second straight double-double, finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds.
“Bobby has been a pleasant surprise and he adds an element of toughness on the floor for us,” Buckner said. “Geru is starting to become the floor general and the extension of the coaches for us.”
Balboa, which has been one of the City’s pleasant surprises in the early season, will look to improve off of their disappointing performance, as they will have to face similar athleticism in Academic Athletic Association play.
“This game is set to always prepare us for games like Lincoln and Mission,” Cubales said. “This is a learning experience and we just have to learn from it.”
Riordan will head into the South San Francisco tournament with an abundance of confidence, but with back-to-back blowout wins over City teams, the Crusaders will no longer be able to sneak up on their opposition.
“I think a little more will be expected of us now, but we like flying under the radar,” Buckner said. “As long as our defense stays solid, I think we may be okay this year.”
Bobby Arenas — 14
Geru Mabrey — 12
Daniel Selsor — 11
Anthony Castillo — 10
D.J. Harvey — 8
Jonathon Burnoski — 20
DiJon Jones — 8
Andrew Gary — 7
Lamar Anderson — 4