Boys Basketball: Turnovers haunt Riordan in home loss to Serra

Riordan junior forward Graham Gilleran tries to work his way through a pair of Serra defenders on Wednesday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

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.

Riordan sophomore forward Zach Masoli rises for a fall-away jumper against Serra on Wednesday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

“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.”

Scoring Summary

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

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  1. GCJ 01 says:

    Still proud of you guys! Keep battling through!

  2. Nicholas S says:

    Bummer, I got to the snack bar too late and missed out on their hot dogs. The band was great, they play different songs that you are use to hearing at a high school sporting event. Also it was cool to see them on the floor during warm ups.

  3. WCal Fan says:

    Not an easy task going up against Serra this year but Riordan played with them. Proud of the boys on Phelan too. It’s been a tough year for them but stay strong and keep playing hard. Thanks for the video George – much appreciated! Seen a lot of the Serra boys enjoying some good eats from the Crusader grill thou.

  4. SF_Mikey says:

    Serra certainly outclassed Riordan last night with tough, physical defense and certainly has a well coached, deep, talented squad with decent size. That being said Serra wasn’t as impressive as I thought they’d be given their 8-1 WCAL record. As the article noted Riordan had too many turnovers last night which frequently led to easy transition points for Serra. Riordan might be more competitive in the WCAL next year if their underclassmen continue to develop but they seriously need more size / low post presence.

    • WCAL Alum says:

      WCAL is a defensive oriented league and few play it better than Serra. They are not going to get style points for their offensive, but they do make other teams commit a lot of errors.

      The kids at Riordan do play hard for Coach Buckner; they just dont have a lot of depth that hurts them in league. Even if they qualified for CCS IV, they might do well but honestly, it doesnt say much for D IV (this year). Just being honest.

      Bring back the pasta bowl at Riordan concession!!!

  5. Purplemomba says:

    Great highlights, BTW I counted 6 pts for Masoli (not 4 as listed). Keep working hard guys!

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