By Jeremy Balan
The most prevalent critique of St. Ignatius standout junior forward Stephen Domingo is that he plays on the wing too much and doesn’t use his 6-foot-7 frame enough inside.
That player didn’t show up on Tuesday night at Archbishop Riordan High School.
Domingo scored all six of his field goals in the paint and unveiled a post game that amounted to a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds in the Wildcats’ 40-27 win over Riordan in the West Catholic Athletic League opener for both teams.
“I don’t read message boards or any of that kind of stuff, but people tell me what the detractors say, that I can’t go inside,” Domingo said. “I know my game, I work on it every day and my coaches know what I can do. I know I can shoot the ball, but I have another dimension inside.”
The Crusaders (7-4, 0-1) pressured Domingo on the perimeter early on, but as the game progressed, he settled in the paint with his back to the basket and Riordan didn’t have an answer.
“He doesn’t want to lose, so he’s going to do whatever he needs to do to win games,” said St. Ignatius head coach Tim Reardon. “People can say whatever they want, but he’s going to do what it takes and he’s not bad at it either.”
No other St. Ignatius player scored in double figures, but it was seven key points in the fourth quarter from junior guard Terrance Roberts Jr. that put the game away.
After Riordan cut the St. Ignatius lead to 30-27 with 4:04 remaining, Roberts scored seven consecutive points in a 10-0 SI run to end the game.
In less than two minutes, Roberts scored in the paint, hit a 3-pointer, and dropped in a fast-break layup to put the Wildcats up 37-27 in the blink of an eye.
“They were smart points, and I told him the 3-pointer was the easiest,” Reardon said. “The others required a lot of thinking and keeping his cool. He won it for us.”
The St. Ignatius (7-4, 1-0) offense awoke in the second half, but both teams struggled mightily to score in an ugly first half.
SI led 6-4 after the first quarter and the game was tied 14-14 at the half, but unfortunately for the Crusaders, their cold streak didn’t end. Riordan shot 20 percent from the floor in the game, including 3-of-19 from 3-point range.
Shooting guard Anthony Castillo was the only Crusader to score in double figures with 11 points, and fellow senior D.J. Harvey added eight, but no other Riordan player scored more than three points.
Castillo shot 4-of-12 from the field and 3-of-9 from 3-point range, but the rest of the Crusaders shot 4-of-29 from the field and 0-of-8 from 3-point range.
The Riordan point total is a season low and the lowest score since the Crusaders scored 23 against Mitty last January.
“I don’t know too many basketball games where you win shooting 20 percent,” said Riordan head coach Rich Buckner. “When you hold a WCAL team to 40 points, you expect to win a ballgame. It’s disappointing that we laid an egg on offense.”
The game was a typically-rough WCAL matchup and the officials allowed physical defense on both sides. Domingo was visibly fatigued at the end of the game and missed a dunk in the final moments to the delight of the Riordan crowd.
“I think it might be one of the best defensive leagues in the country and at the end of the game I missed that dunk because I had no legs,” Domingo said. “Every night in this league is going to be like that.”
Both coaches expect the same treatment moving forward in league play.
“I would expect nothing different and if [the referees] would have called it tight, neither team would have known what to do,” Reardon said.
Stephen Domingo — 18
Terrance Roberts Jr. — 9
Trevor Dunbar — 7
Nick Johnson — 5
Antonio Aguilar — 1
Anthony Castillo — 11
D.J. Harvey — 8
Daniel Selsor — 3
Graham Gilleran — 2
Iwunna Ugbaja — 1