By Jeremy Balan
Zip, zero, zilch.
That’s how many points Archbishop Riordan High School’s boys basketball team scored in the second quarter on the road against St. Ignatius.
The Crusaders were scoreless over 12 minutes of game time spanning the first, second and third quarters in a 48-43 St. Ignatius win in West Catholic Athletic League play on Wednesday.
Riordan (9-9, 2-6) had a 7-2 lead late in the first quarter, but the extended drought allowed the Wildcats (8-10, 2-6) to go on a 19-0 run and carry a 21-7 lead into the halftime break.
“You sit there and you see the snowball getting bigger and bigger, and it’s about to crush you, and there was nothing we could do about it,” said Riordan head coach Rich Buckner. “We had open looks we didn’t make. We only had eight turnovers at halftime and that’s pretty good in high school basketball. We just couldn’t put the ball in the basket.”
Riordan came out of the locker room inspired after the break, though, and cut the St. Ignatius lead to 44-43 with 2:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The lead was extended after two free throws from junior forward Stephen Domingo 30 seconds later and after an empty possession by Riordan, unheralded St. Ignatius senior forward Michael Loginoff put the game out of reach.
After the Wildcats worked the the shot clock down, Loginoff banked in a leaning jump shot in the lane with 17 seconds left to squelch any hope of a Riordan comeback.
“It was a three-point game, so I didn’t mind if went down to the end of the shot clock and missed, and just played [defense],” said St. Ignatius head coach Tim Reardon. “I was just happy they didn’t turn it over and it was a great clutch shot. He claims he called glass.”
The difference in the second half appeared to be a change in the game’s tempo, combined with a stretch of scorching shooting from the previously-frigid Crusaders.
“The first key to the game was tempo, tempo, tempo,” Buckner said. “We wanted to control the pace and flow of the game, but that did not happen in the first half. It was totally to SI’s liking. In the second half, we told them to get it and go. Put your track shoes on and get it up the floor.”
Midway through the fourth quarter, Riordan scored seven points in 30 seconds of game time and connected on 5-of-11 3-point attempts in the second half.
“We knew they were going to make shots in the second half,” Reardon said. “We got excited about playing up-tempo, because we got some buckets out of it, but they’re better at it and the next thing you know, it was a close game.”
While both teams struggled offensively during several stretches, the one constant was Domingo, who had a game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds, featuring multiple athletic put-backs and a key 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
“He got tip ins, he hit that 3 and he’s getting more comfortable in the paint, but I thought they did a good job of pushing him out of where he wanted to be,” Reardon said.
The Wildcats also got a lift from sophomore point guard Trevor Dunbar in the middle quarters, where he scored 13 of his 15 total points, mostly on skilled drives through the teeth of the Riordan defense.
The two teams now find themselves tied for sixth place in the WCAL, but both of St. Ignatius’ wins have come against Riordan. With the recent developments forcing Riordan to forfeit five non-league games, the Crusaders are tasked with reaching a 7-7 league record to qualify for the Central Coast Section playoffs, which is slipping away with every loss.
“When we look back at the end of the year, we only lost by five points without scoring a point in the second quarter,” Buckner said. “Looking back at those games, those are the ones that hold you back from where you need to go.”
Stephen Domingo – 19
Trevor Dunbar – 15
Michael Loginoff – 5
Noah Bull – 4
Two players tied with 2 points
D. J. Harvey – 14
Daniel Selsor – 10
Geru Mabrey – 8
Anthony Castillo – 7
Two players tied with 2 points