Boys Basketball: Sacred Heart Cathedral shaky, but survives against Riordan

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior forward Joshua Fox tries to work his way through three Riordan defenders on Thursday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

By Jeremy Balan

For the first time this season, the Sacred Heart Cathedral boys basketball team looked rattled.

Sacred Heart missed 15 of its 29 free throws, had 21 turnovers and Riordan held standout forwards Taylor Johns and Joshua Fox to a combined 15 points, but the visiting Irish had just enough to outlast the Crusaders in a 50-41 West Catholic Athletic League win on Thursday.

“We were flustered and so out of whack mentally, and that led to us playing like that,” said Sacred Heart head coach Darrell Barbour. “Why did that happen to us tonight? I can’t tell you.”

Riordan senior guard D. J. Harvey leans in for a jump shot in the lane against Sacred Heart Cathedral on Thursday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

The Crusaders (9-14, 2-11) arguably guarded Fox and Johns better than any WCAL team this season and limited the pair to just 15 shot attempts from the floor by employing various types of zone defenses.

“It was definitely mission accomplished on the defensive end,” said Riordan head coach Rich Buckner. “I can count on one hand the number of games where we’ve laid an egg defensively. That’s always been a constant.”

Unfortunately for Riordan, its defensive success did not carry over into the offensive half of the court, where the Crusaders shot just over 26 percent from the floor.

Sacred Heart (20-3, 10-3) started the game on an 8-0 run, led 22-12 at the half and Riordan cut the lead to six points three times in the fourth quarter, but could not get the deficit down to a single possession.

“We had some good looks and we were pleased with the [ball] movement, but we just couldn’t knock down those shots,” Buckner said. “As much as our defense has been a solid constant, our shooting has been our weakness.”

With Johns and Fox largely corralled, Sacred Heart guards Herman Pratt and Tyler Petroni led the Irish in scoring with 13 and 11 points, respectively.

It was Pratt’s performance on the boards, however, that proved most crucial.

The junior had seven rebounds and five on the offensive glass, including several in the fourth quarter, when the Crusaders desperately needed defensive stops.

“He’s just a stud and I do not take for granted having a kid like that,” Barbour said of Pratt. “It’s amazing what he does every day, with his effort and the way he competes. He flies under the radar, but we feed off of him and how hard he plays.”

In his last game at Crusader Forum, senior guard D. J. Harvey was the only Riordan player to score in double figures with a game-high 15 points. Riordan scored 15 points in the final quarter and nine came from Harvey.

“The sign of a champion is how you finish and D. J. Harvey finished like a champion, as well as the other seniors,” Buckner said. “Their effort was tremendous and that effort they put out in athletics is going to carry over into the rest of their lives.”

Sacred Heart senior forward Taylor Johns drives past a Riordan defender on Thursday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

Riordan still has a road game against St. Francis and the WCAL playoffs to look forward to, but barring a miraculous run, the season will likely end for the Crusaders without a Central Coast Section playoff bid.

“I go to bed at night and I wake up in the morning frustrated, not at the kids at all, but what has gone down this year with the CCS,” Buckner said, referencing the five non-league forfeits the section imposed on the Crusaders due to a paperwork oversight by Riordan. “It’s just frustrating that we don’t get to move on and show ourselves. Our record is not indicative of the type of team that’s in that locker room.”

For Sacred Heart, a showdown with first-place Mitty is set for Saturday, but the game lost a little luster when St. Ignatius upset Serra on Wednesday to clinch the WCAL regular-season title for the Monarchs.

Sacred Heart could move into second place with a win over Mitty, but Barbour is more concerned with the impact a win could have on the Irish’s psyche.

“For us, it’s important to beat a good team,” Barbour said. “If we go in there Saturday, and we play well and win, our mental makeup is different. If we see them later on in the playoffs, we know we can beat them.”

Scoring Leaders

Sacred Heart Cathedral
Herman Pratt – 13
Tyler Petroni – 11
Taylor Johns – 8
Joshua Fox – 7
Khalil James – 6

D. J. Harvey – 15
Graham Gilleran – 6
Iwunna Ugbaja – 5
Geru Mabrey – 4
Three players tied with 3 points

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  1. GCJ 01 says:

    Too bad Riordan couldn’t come away with the win. Especially since they held Johns and Fox to a combined 15 points. That’s good defense.

    • IC Stars says:

      I don’t think you were there. It was more careless turnovers, free-throw bricks and incompetent officiating than “good defense”. This game was definitely not as close as the score indicated.

      • M Air J says:

        It’s so CYO to blame the refs at this level…..maybe your team isn’t as good as you think they are. Even the author and head coach stated that they were rattled and Fox and Johns were held in check.


      • Just the facts says:

        The game WAS as close as the score indicates and more. The SHC twin forwards really looked almost spastic on the free throw line.The SH team was totally flustered and lost the ball either to blocks, pick-pocketing, traveling and pass nterceptions etc and after a while ALL the SHC players got more rattled as the game went on. The score would have been only 7 points apart if Riordan’s bench hadn’t been sent in at the last 30 seconds or so.

        • IC Stars says:

          I didn’t get that impression. All they had to do was hit their free-throws and it’s a 20-point win.

          • GCJ 01 says:

            IC Stars: By the sounds of things, everyone seems to side against you, so I’m guessing your opinions regarding this game is a little biased. Seemingly, you’re ranting rather than giving sound observations like everyone else is. You are correct, I wasn’t at the game. I was just commending Riordan for doing well defending Fox and Johns.

      • ARHS Stats says:

        Yes, the Officials could have done better job and called more fouls on SHC, and not make up calls because they thought a Riordan player fouled a SHC player.

        There were more than a couple times SHC players got away with fouls.

        One time Anthony Castillo was going up for a layup and either Fox or Johns jumped up and blocked the shot by knocking Anthony to the floor and no foul was called.

        Earlier in the game, Johns had the ball at his waist and it was knocked away. Somehow the Ref saw Johns shoot the invisible ball which he did not have and awarded Johns two free throws.

        The only team that got screwed by the referees in this game was Riordan.

  2. Johnny Drama says:

    @Ari my brother….I don’t see what the hype is about, haha. Was this a trap game? You were right, Fox and Johns must have played with one arm tied behind their back and still won.

    The Cats won in arguably the most difficult place to play in the WCAL. Dunbar and Domingo did their best JLin impersonation!

    Are the Cats peeking and the Irish coming down to Earth a bit?

    Of course, things can go back to Normal this weekend. See you Saturday!!

    • IC Stars says:

      Good for SI to beat Serra. I can only imagine the stunned silence. As for SHC, how many times have you seen a team with an off-night turn it around the next game?

      • Johnny Drama says:

        I recall a 40 point massacre last year and a 30 point drubbing in Santa Clara in 2008. This team isn’t good enough to have an off night and still win in a one and done game. We’ll see how they respond tomorrow. I’m pulling for them to win state this year for Ari Gold and for SF hoops.

        • IC Stars says:

          21 points….

          • IC Stars says:

            Don’t forget the last game of 2008 either: 03/06
            Sacramento 59 Riordan 49

            • ARHS Stats says:

              So Riordan lost to Sacramento on 3/6/08 by ten points in the Nor Cal Division III Semi Final Game.

              Sacramento got upset in their Section Championship Game and had lost 3 games all season. And on 3/8/08, Sacramento beat SHC 65 to 49 to win the Nor Cal Championship Game,

              Riordan had lost 10 games before playing Sacramento, 6 of them league games.

              But Riordan had defeated the #1 ranked team in Northern California, when they beat Mitty earlier that year. (Gordon’s Senior Season).

              Riordan beat SHC 3 times in 2008 and only lost once.
              57-51 at SHC
              56-59 at Riordan {Riordan lost this game}
              61-52 at Riordan in the first round of the WCAL Playoffs
              60-39 at Santa Clara University in the CCS Championship Game

              Four teams tied for second place that year, and of those four teams Riordan played Mitty in the League Championship Game.

              IC, I don’t know why you bring up a Riordan loss, when you are talking to Johnny Drama (a SI supporter)

              • IC Stars says:

                JD brought up the Santa Clara game, incorrectly calling it a “30-point drubbing”, that’s why.

              • ARHS Stats says:


                JD did not mention the loss by SHC was to Riordan and neither did you.

                And why would he care that Riordan lost to Sacramento, since you did not even mention what round of the playoffs the game was?

              • Johnny Drama says:

                Stats, IC hates everything Riordan, that’s why he brought it up. Riordan was up by 30 at one point. As IC always states when SHC wins a close game, that game wasn’t as close as the score indicates.

                OH…I’ve watched the video of the Mitty game and AG32 did not walk on the last play, it was a legal move.

              • IC Stars says:

                I made a correction D dude…. And AG32 did walk. He caught the ball with one hand and shifted his feet. That’s traveling.

              • JJ says:

                There was inconclusive evidence that AG32 walked. Plus, you can’t call a traveling call like that with less than 5 secs in the game unless it’s so blatant that you can see the walk from a mile away. At full-speed, you can’t even tell, unless you break it down by rewinding the replay.

              • ARHS Stats says:

                I am sure IC wants more stats from that CCS Championship Game, since he wanted me to get involved in this disscussion.

                Well, after 3 quarters in that CCS Championship Game, Riordan held a 26 point lead and SHC had not even scored that many points in the game.

                The score was Riordan 49 SHC 23, with Riordan winning each of the first three quarters.

                SHC did win the fourth quarter, but only by 5 points. (16 – 11).

                Riordan only outscored SHC in the second and third quarters 39 to 16.

                And SHC did not out score Riordan in the second half. {AR 32 – SHC 26}.

                Brian Miguel and Jorge Camacho each scored 20 points for Riordan, with Miguel making 4 3’s. Not many teams can stay with Riordan when the Crusaders make 50% of their shots.

              • IC Stars says:

                I was correcting JD on the Santa Clara result Pat since he was trying to rub our noses in it by calling it a “30-point drubbing” which it wasn’t. But thanks for the numbers.

  3. WCal Fan says:

    The Crusader crowd was amazing last night as well as the band! Proud of the boys on Phelan for playing hard every night despite the season they have had this year. Shout out to the kids who painted their bodies too in the name of school spirit. Loved seeing the engery and support of the fans.

    Good luck to SHC on Sat. Bring home a win for the City.

  4. WCAL Alum says:

    It was a very nice crowd this evening. Both sides had trouble putting the ball in basket. Lots of bruises this morning as refs let a lot of bumping in post. It went both ways. Bottom line SHC had horrible night at free-throw line.

    The Riordan side was impressive. Besides the band, there was a good cheering section that rivaled Serra’. I loved the reading the newspaper during SHC introduction. Very, very old school. Even Buckner was seen encouraging the fan base.

    The grammar school game at half-time was entertaining too. Overall a good night. Did see coaching staff of Cal Poly Pomona waiting outside SHC locker room after game. Didnt they win/play in DII Championship last couple years?

    • IC Stars says:

      You’re right about the free-throw shooting but that newspaper bit was classless.

      • WCal Fan says:

        Oh come on – classless. Please – I saw that done at other schools. The boys were just having fun. Yawn Yawn Yawn

        • IC Stars says:

          OK, maybe “classless” is a bit much… A little over the top is more like it. K?

          • Johnny Drama says:

            IC is a scrooge for all things Riordan because when he attended SH, they were Riordan’s doormat. I’m sure deep down he wishes SHC had Riordan’s cheering section or their band instead of those crickets at SHC. Calling kids classless is a bit classless.Good for you for the retraction.

            • Ari Gold says:

              Viking quest are we disclosing identities tomorrow? Im down. Let me know who to look for.

              • Johnny Drama says:

                I plan on going, if I do I will definitely let u know. I’ll wear my Ari Gold t-shirt that says “let’s hug it out”

            • IC Stars says:

              Gee thanks JD… Who said “good for SI” when they beat Serra and for their soccer team last year when they beat Bellarmine??

    • GCJ 01 says:

      WCAL Alum:

      You are correct Cal Poly plays in D II and is in the CCAA (California Collegiate Athletic Association). The schools they play against are most of the schools that make up the CSU system and UC San Diego.

  5. M Air J says:

    Riordan is one decent big away from being a good team.

  6. SF_Mikey says:

    Great game summary JB!

    The game was entertaining throughout with Riordan just close enough to keep it interesting. SHC received great contributions from Pratt (who seemed to chase down every loose ball / key offensive rebound), Petroni (consistent shooter) and James while both Johns and Fox struggling. Taylor Johns was really struggling last night (multiple air balls including a FT). Riordan was Riordan with scrappy defense, awful shooting and too many turnovers. Tough break that they won’t make the CCS playoffs!

    Lastly the atmosphere was great last night with the Crusader band performing, Senior Night, and almost full house.

    • JJ says:

      The CCS really blew it, not giving Riordan a chance at the playoffs. Like the AD said, it seems that the decision was made to justify their high salaries. What about those 10,000 tickets at 10 bucks a pop that they sold at the SI-SHC football championship game, where does all that money go? In their pockets?

      • Ari Gold says:

        That football money at AT&T went to the Giants. I wouldnt be surprised if the Giants pocketed $90,000 from the game for the rental of the venue. You think the Giants owners do things for free?

        Like I stated before, Fox and Johns played with one arm tied behind their backs and SH still won handily.

        Newspaper thing is the same as turning and facing the other way during intros…. Its high school stuff. These are high school kids so nothing to get upset about. The players arent paying attention to this. They heads are in the game.

        @Drama, yah this could be a trap game but it was more looking ahead as a trap game the other team has a realistic chance of winning. Riordan had zero chance. Saturday should be fun. See you there.

        • Steve Kassel says:

          The Giants are extremely generous and did not make a penny for hosting the game. They frequently offer AT&T out of kindness and goodwill. Period. And for record, I’m not a Giants fan, but rather an A’s fan. However, I have seen their generosity personally on several occasions.

  7. Steve Kassel says:

    I was there and officiating had nothing to do with anything. The refs were fine. If Riordan had any offense at all, they would have won this game. Sacred Heart was really awful and it was only the offensive rebounding that kept this from being a major upset.

  8. Big guy 24 says:

    Great high school atmosphere for SHC and Riordan and I hope both teams enjoyed it. SHC looked really sluggish, Pratt-Petroni-played well and kept SHC winning this game. Johns played with good energy and Riordan’s players knew he was their and he had a monster dunk from a post up move. Fox didn’t look ready to play. Riordan played hard and got way too many open looks but couldn’t throw a penny in the ocean. This Riordan team is a very bad shooting team cause their coach does the job to get them open but the kids have to make the open shots. The better team won the game but credit to both teams for playing hard and competing so hard. Good luck the rest of the way to both teams. And a big win for SI over Serra at serra…City schools representing well.

  9. Just the facts says:

    Footnote: Riordan 68 St. Francis 59 and the Riordan JV also had a win at St. Francis.

    Danny Selsor, ARHS Senior Guard, had 26 points with 6 3-pointers.

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