Boys Basketball: Newly-healthy St. Ignatius drops Branson in Sand Dune opener

St. Ignatius junior Stephen Domingo drives past a Branson defender on Tuesday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Eric Luis)

By Bonta Hill

St. Ignatius boys basketball head coach Tim Reardon has spent most of the non-league season trying to get his team healthy.

With 13 players now in uniform, including standout junior wingman Stephen Domingo and senior forward Antonio Aguliar, Reardon liked what he saw from his team on Tuesday night.

St. Ignatius senior forward Antonio Aguilar goes up for a contested layup against Branson on Tuesday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Eric Luis)

In the first round of the Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic, the Wildcats held visiting Branson of Ross to 35 percent shooting from the floor and cruised to a 54-31 win.

Offensively, the Wildcats (5-3) shot 50 percent from the field, led by Domingo’s 18 points, to advance to the championship bracket semifinals, where they will take on Santa Cruz on Wednesday.

“I thought the defense played really well today and that’s been our struggle all year long, stopping teams from scoring,” Reardon said. “We hit some 3s, because Branson really sags [on defense], so if you don’t shoot well from the outside, they’re going to beat you.”

Both teams appeared to be feeling the other out in the first quarter and St. Ignatius held a 12-9 lead, but the Wildcats took control in the second frame.

St. Ignatius held Branson to just two points and forced five turnovers in the quarter, while senior Nick Johnson scored five points late in the half to give the Wildcats a 25-11 lead at the break.

Branson (7-3) wasn’t able to get within nine points the rest of the way, despite outscoring St. Ignatius 14-11 in the third quarter.

“We couldn’t throw a nickel into the ocean in that second quarter,” said Branson head coach Bret Tovani. “[St Ignatius’] athleticism and their size was really a factor we had to overcome. We didn’t do a very good job [in the second quarter].”

Though the Wildcats looked stagnant on offense during stretches in the first half, their efficiency picked up in the final 16 minutes, where they shot an efficient 64 percent from the field.

St. Ignatius juniors Albert Waters (left) and Stephen Domingo (right) trap a Branson player on Tuesday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Eric Luis)

Domingo, who scored nine points in each half, showed no ill effects of his offseason wrist injury and spoke highly of Reardon’s new offense.

“Due to all the players being out this season, we’re starting to put all of our offensive sets in now,” Domingo said. “Coach Reardon tells us if we’re in range and it’s the shot we work on in practice, it’s open for us to take it. I’ve really embraced what [he] is doing with the [offense].”

Reardon, who was hoping to get all of his players back by the start of West Catholic Athletic League play, is happy to finally get an idea of what his team can do when it is at full strength.

“We used Antonio minimally tonight, because he’s still coming back from his shoulder injury, but he makes a big difference in the post for us and gets to the free throw line,” Reardon said. “We’re still missing two players, but to have 13 out of the 15, it’s big to have them all practicing together now.”

Scoring Leaders

St. Ignatius
Stephen Domingo — 18
Nick Johnson — 8
Antonio Aguliar — 6
Michael Loginoff — 6
Noah Bull — 5

Branson
Gabe Moynihan — 12
Jordan Lazor — 9
Eli Morris — 4
Three players tied with 2 points

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31 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Where was Dunbar?

  2. Austin Hedani says:

    did Dunbar play?

    • aFitzsimon says:

      Don’t worry fellas Dunbar was out there, played well. He was dishing the ball well throughout the game. Relax, breath, he’s still out there.

  3. Sisco Kid says:

    Hey jbalan when are you gonna start writing stories again?

  4. bball says:

    wheres trevor dunbar?

  5. Bonta hill says:

    Trevor Dunbar played…

  6. BigMikeDC says:

    Dunbar played pt. Tremendous distributions, including one really cool behind the back. Maybe 4 pts, but then again, didn’t need to score.

  7. ? says:

    DAT BOY SHIFTEAM DUNBAR I SEE YOU!!!!!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Domingo is not that good

    • BigMikeDC says:

      anon – really? you can judge a player on one game just after returning from an injury?

      • Anonymous says:

        seen him play multiple times, and have not seen play that warrants the kind of hype he gets. if there’s something i’m missing please tell me, but i really haven’t seen the kind of play that attracts DI looks.

        • Ari Gold says:

          Domingo should get detention for having a two toned haircut. He’s violating the school handbook policy regarding haircuts. and wait until this guy —> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biY-RTdbEk4 gets a hold of Stephen Domingo.

          • Cats Pride says:

            Im pretty sure D1 scouts know talent when they see it which is probably why they are coaching at the college level and you’re not. He also played on a USA team, and I’m pretty sure the coaches that run that program also know talent when they see it.
            @ Ari Gold always the SI sports optimist – its winter break, how can they give him detention? and yea gordon is going to destroy everybody in the WCAL, but refresh my memory who was the last team to beat mitty? oh yea it was SI.

            • AFitzsimon says:

              I don’t know if this is relevent to what you guys are arguing about, but Lorenzo Romar of Washington was at the game tonight to watch Domingo play against Santa Cruz.

              • JJ says:

                Maybe he was there to scout Dunbar too?? The next Isaiah Thomas?

              • WCAL Alum says:

                Yes, Romar was there; Wash Asst. Coach Paul Fortier (SI, ’81) was there the night before. Dumber has nice strong pass and nice first step; for every spectular pass, there is a loss pass or over-commit (risk/reward). Like him as a sophmore. Physically mature – reminds me of Albert Johnson. Domingo still doesnt play in paint or create his own shot, but offensive sets give him plenty of looks on perimeter. Much improved defensively. Cats will live and die on perimeter. Jesuit has big perimeter players; The game should be a nice gauge for the Cats. As good a game in the Bay Area to witness.

              • Feel The Pain says:

                I mentioned awhile back that Paul Fortier, who is an SI alum, is a former U of Wash. player and a current assistant with Romar. He helped guide Thomas, who is slightly taller than Dunbar at 5’9 to a solid collegiate career and almost led them to an upset of North Carolina in the NCAA tournament last year. He was drafted, but I’m not sure who he is with now. Could there be another lefty point guard heading to UW? Sounds intriguing. Wouldn’t be suprised to see Dunbar go there.

              • Feel The Pain says:

                Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Fortier, like Dunbar, attended Aptos middle school and won a few middle school titles as well back in the late 70’s. May not sound like much, but it’s a good starting point to find common ground. The plot thickens!

              • WCAL Alum says:

                I Thomas? Minus 5 inches.

              • JJ says:

                Coach ROMAR went to Drew Gooden games when he went to Mitty, but Drew Gooden eventually went to UCLA, Not UW. So, just cause they were at the game, doesn’t mean Domingo or Dunbar will go there — to UW.

              • Feel The Pain says:

                Isaiah Thomas from last year’s UW team was listed at 5’9. JJ- I understand that Romar and Fortier being at the game doesn’t mean that Dunbar will be going there, I just mentioned it was good speculation that sounds intriguing. BTW, you might want to get your facts straight about who you are referring to. Drew Gooden went to El Cerrito then went to Kansas, Drew Gordon went to Mitty and then to UCLA.

            • Ari Gold says:

              @cats pride … oh yes, SI was the last team to beat Gordon. I wont even refer to Mitty as a team anymore. We all know its all Gordon. I guess superstars are allowed to take a game off here and there. Im sure it will be in the back of his mind when they meet next friday. If Gordon has the competitive drive in him and sees Domingo who height and ability-wise is in the ballpark with him, he should want to beat him badly so it doesnt look like hes just dunking on small kids like on youtube. Revenge will be sweet.

              • IC Stars says:

                Cat’s Pride? Isn’t there a litter brand by that name? Mitty just lost to Windward yesterday. SI should worry about playing Jesuit coming up next.

              • JJ says:

                Yea, I meant Drew Gordon who — I think — got kicked off the UCLA basketball team and later transferred to New Mexico or New Mexico State. Drew Gooden is horrible at the NBA level, by the way, but was a great college player.

              • Anonymous says:

                Domingo isn’t anywhere close to as athletic as Gordon.

  9. SIAlum08 says:

    Yes everybody Dunbar showed up and played big. he had tons of assists. I was relieved to see a physical post Presence in Antonio Aguilar last night. When everybody is healthy the Wildcats are dangerous. Not sure who the other two injured players are but should be a fun season. Go cats

  10. HS says:

    I wouldn’t consider Branson a tough opponent considering they’re a D5 team. Si will find out their abilities come league when they match up against bigger teams. Dunbar and Domingo are solid, but if you can’t rebound, you won’t win and that’s their biggest hole.

    • SF FAN says:

      Yea buddy you could be right But label Dunbar the Host of “The price is right” he assist you to victory SI D-fence looking like they can be real productive come WCAL.

  11. SI Cats says:

    SI beats Santa Cruz tonite 50-35 in Sand Dune Classic. SI led 36-9 at half. Last nite vs. Branson, SI led 25-11 at half. Not great teams I admit, but Wildcats are playing with a lot of defensive intensity right now. This team will be competitive in league play. Reardon (head coach) is finally getting all his kids back. Improving with each game.

    • DJ Whiz says:

      Can SI match up with Jesuit ? Guess that will be answered this evening . Jesuit relies heavenly on their shots and once they were limited they were beat . My question is – does SI have an inside presence ? or do the BIG’s fancy themselves as shooters . Personally without that aggressive presence crashing the glass and driving strong to the hoop , their struggles I’m afraid will continue . Good luck to both teams and may the aggressor prevail .

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