Boys Basketball: Sacred Heart Cathedral pulls away in second half to beat Serra

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior forward Taylor Johns (right) swats away a Serra shot on Tuesday at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. (Photo by Willie Eashman)

By Bonta Hill

The Sacred Heart Cathedral boys basketball team hadn’t been challenged much during the non-league season.

But coming into their West Catholic Athletic League opener against Serra on Tuesday, the Irish knew the game wouldn’t be a cakewalk.

On the strength of a 15-2 run during the second and third quarters, Sacred Heart outlasted visiting Serra in an exciting 67-56 win.

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior forward Joshua Fox elevates for a jump shot in the lane against Serra on Tuesday at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. (Photo by Willie Eashman)

Senior forward Taylor Johns had one of his better games in an Irish uniform, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to go along with three blocks.

Junior guard Herman Pratt, who fought foul trouble most of the game, added 15 second-half points, and Joshua Fox scored 10 points and brought down 10 rebounds, helping the Irish (10-0, 1-0) remain undefeated on the season.

“It’s league time and every game is tough,” said Sacred Heart head coach Darrell Barbour. “We knew Serra would be tough, patient, and we needed a game like this. It’s only going to help us get better.”

Serra (9-2, 0-1) was very patient and stout defensively early, and took a 14-13 lead into the second quarter.

In the second frame, the Padres built a 27-21 lead behind the hot shooting of junior guard Jacqui Biggins.

Biggins scored 13 points in the quarter, including three 3-pointers, but Fox’s coast-to-coast 3-point play at the halftime buzzer would erase the deficit, giving the Irish a 28-27 lead at the break, despite committing ten turnovers in the half.

“Coach just told us to settle down, because we [were] too pumped up at the start of the game,” Johns said. “We just had to settle down and play our game, and we came out with the win.”

After the break, Sacred Heart kept the momentum on their side, as Johns came up with steals on Serra’s first two possessions, and capitalized with two breakaway dunks to give the Irish a 34-27 advantage.

“I thought the key to the game was the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third quarter,” said Serra head coach Chuck Rapp. “We talk about the first three minutes of the third quarter being the most important part of the game, and that’s when the game turned on us. It was just a really bad stretch for us.”

Johns paced Sacred Heart in the third quarter with nine points, while Pratt came alive and scored five.

Serra got within 54-48 with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Irish went 7-for-8 from the free throw line to seal the victory.

The Irish shot 54 percent for the game, mostly due to the dominance inside by Johns and Fox. They also cut their turnover count to just two in the second half.

“Our team feeds off of Josh and Taylor, but Taylor was beating himself up and his body language was bad when things weren’t going well,” Barbour said. “He regrouped at halftime and played the way he’s capable of playing.”

Scoring Summary

Sacred Heart Cathedral
Taylor Johns — 20
Herman Pratt — 15
Josh Fox — 10
Liam O’Reilly — 6
Tyler Petroni — 6

Jacqui Biggins — 21
Henry Caruso — 9
Stephen Grosey — 6
Andre Miller — 6
Josaf Zamora — 4

Sacred Heart Cathedral
Taylor Johns — 20
Herman Pratt — 15
Josh Fox — 10
Liam O’Reilly — 6
Tyler Petroni — 6

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  1. Nicholas S says:

    SHC was impressive last night.

    • John Tuvo says:

      How was the Irish guard play, and depth? Have not had a chance to see them yet

      • IC Stars says:

        Guards are good. Petroni can hit 3-pointers and Otis (can’t be the coach’s son, can he??) is good too. See you Tuesday TUVO.

        • Anonymous says:

          Stop the hating have you seen “More Than A Game” haha its a movement that cant be stop. Kids want to go to the best schools and the best programs for them. Respect it and let the kids enjoy life and high school for what it is.

        • Bonta Hill says:

          you are correct, that is the coaches son…

          • Anonymous says:

            Why isn’t his last name barbour?

            • IC Stars says:

              Well, like there’s a coach named “Otis”.. Duh.

              • Anonymous says:

                I was looking at the SHC website, this website needs to improve, their is no roster even listed of the IRISH varsity team in football or basketball. St Ignatius and Riordan’s website is much better. I did not see Coach Otis as a recent coach, is he still coaching at SHC?

              • IC Stars says:

                I like the SHC website but you really have to jump through hoops to find rosters. I didn’t see Mr. Otis’ name on the staff list, so maybe he’s not coaching there anymore. (Unless I missed something).

              • Irishi Italian says:

                Parents, students and (I think alumni) can get to the rosters if you are registered on the website. I just lookd through and Otis father was not listed as a coach on any of the teams. Yanoj Jackson’s father is an assistant for the varsity.

              • IC Stars says:

                Yes, you have to be registered. Try emailing the head coach or A.D. and ask them to fax rosters to

              • IRISH fan says:

                Coach Jackson has no relations with yanoj jackson

  2. BIG RICH says:

    Great job Irish. Looking forward to a great season.

    • sports time says:

      Good job SHC kids, they get along and believe in eachother and play hard. The test is Mitty even though every game in the WCAL is a tough game. Good talent and young kids make the irish the team to beat..Good luck kids…

  3. Serra says:

    How did Jacqui Biggins look? 21 points!?! Wow whatta guy

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yonaj jackson father is not an assistant coach

  5. Anonymous says:

    Deondre Otis’s father used to coach for Sacred Heart when they won the State Championship a few years back. And the assistant coach for the Irish, Coach Jackson, is not Yanoj Jackson’s Father.

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