By Bonta Hill
The St. Ignatius boys basketball team scored a single point in the fourth quarter, scored 14 total in the second half and shot 35 percent from the floor in the final 16 minutes.
A half of basketball like that usually results into a loss, but that was not the case Wednesday night.
Wildcats again rode a big second-quarter run in the Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic to defeat visiting Santa Cruz 50-35 and punch a ticket to the tournament championship game against Jesuit on Thursday.
St. Ignatius (6-3) outscored the Cardinals 25-2 and forced eight turnovers in the second quarter, while holding Santa Cruz without a field goal. That stellar defensive effort allowed the Wildcats to carry a 36-9 lead in the the halftime break.
“That’s kind of the team I’ve been hoping to have for the last six weeks,” said St. Ignatius head coach Tim Reardon. “[They] all played their roles right, and if we can do that, and still get ten guys contributing, we should be good.”
Sophomore point guard Trevor Dunbar sparked the Wildcats defense in the second quarter, with three steals and three assists, while senior Kenny Hatch came off the bench to score five points and collect two steals in the frame.
The run was highlighted by a dunk from Stephen Domingo, which materialized after a steal from Albert Waters fueled a fast break.
Santa Cruz (8-3) became unraveled on offense, committed 13 turnovers in the first half and only scored its first point of the second quarter at the 1:46 mark.
“St. Ignatius really came out and put the pressure on us and their guards were aggressive, and it put us on our heels,” said Santa Cruz head coach Bill Domhoff. “Offensively, we panicked and we stopped running our sets. Give them credit, they did a good job taking us out of our offense and we never recovered.”
At the half, Reardon cautioned his team to stay aggressive, but the opposite happened.
With the formidable lead, the Wildcats were sloppy, and with their starters on the bench in the fourth quarter, were outscored 12-1.
“We came out and we were flat [in the second half], but it’s hard when you get a big lead like that early,” Reardon said. “But our guys are psyched to play Jesuit. They’re one of the premier programs in Northern California and we get to play them here at our tournament.”
Nick Johnson — 13
Stephen Domingo — 10
Andrew Vollert — 6
Two players tied with 5 points
Ti Demeo — 7 points
Etai Levy-Richards — 6
Thatcher Sammet — 6
Two players tied with 4 points