By Bonta Hill
So often in so many sports, turnovers and errors are a recipe for disaster.
Archbishop Riordan High School’s boys basketball team outrebounded visiting Serra 32-20 and shot better from the field, but turned the ball over 20 times in a 54-43 West Catholic Athletic League loss on Wednesday.
The Crusaders (9-11, 2-8) played even with Serra in the second half, but never led after the Padres (18-2, 9-1) opened up a 16-8 lead in the first quarter, in which, the Crusaders committed eight turnovers.
“The message we’ve tried to send to our players is valuing the basketball,” said Riordan head coach Rich Buckner. “We always say there [are] 60 possessions in the game and we need to value possession 34 just like we do possession 60. Right now, we’re just not doing that enough.”
A poor shooting spell in the first half didn’t help the Crusaders either, as they shot 31 percent from the floor and trailed 27-16 at the half. Serra shot only 24 percent from the floor in the first half, but many of the Padres’ points came off Riordan miscues.
“That’s the thing about turnovers, you don’t get a chance to defend your basket,” Buckner said. “You look at the stat sheet and you would think this game would be in our favor, but turnovers and points off of turnovers are huge, and that’s what happened tonight.”
Riordan did make a run midway through the third quarter, though, when it seemed like the game was slipping away.
With Serra up 35-18, Riordan went on a 9-0 run that cut the Padres’ lead to 35-27. Riordan senior Iwunna Ubaja started the run with a basket, then came two layups from junior point guard Geru Mabrey, followed by a 3-pointer from senior guard Anthony Castillo.
But Serra used a quick 5-0 run after a timeout to regain control of the game.
“It really was about taking care of the ball and forcing turnovers on defense, and we did that,” said Serra head coach Chuck Rapp. “We played bad basketball for a stretch in the third quarter, but other than that I thought we played good. It’s always risky playing on the road, but we came in and professionally handled our business.”
The Crusaders got within 45-38 with 4:07 left in the game, but junior guard Jacqui Biggins’ back-breaking 3-pointer put the Padres back up by 10 and Riordan did not challenge again.
“We played hard as hell, we compete, and we’ll go out there an bite your leg off, but we just need to take care of the ball,” Buckner said. “We say we learn from [our] successes, but you can learn from your mistakes as well. The sign of a champion is how you finish and this team competes.”
Henry Caruso – 17
Jacqui Biggins – 10
Jaso Barsocchini – 7
Andre Miller – 7
Stephen Grosey – 6
Geru Mabrey – 15
Iwunna Ugbaja – 6
Graham Gilleran – 4
D. J. Harvey – 4
Zach Masoli – 4
Jiday Ugbaja – 4
Here’s another bonus video from our friend George Nguyen