Boys Basketball: Sacred Heart Cathedral knocks St. Ignatius out of WCAL playoffs

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior forward Taylor Johns tries to slip by a St. Ignatius defender on Tuesday at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. (Photo by Eric Luis)

By Jeremy Balan

The Sacred Heart Cathedral boys basketball team sleepwalked through the first half against rival St. Ignatius on Tuesday and still took a seven-point lead into the break.

Then the Big Two woke up.

Standout senior forwards Taylor Johns and Joshua Fox scored 14 of Sacred Heart’s 16 points in the third quarter and the Wildcats never challenged again in a 57-45 Irish win in the first round of the West Catholic Athletic League playoffs.

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior forward Joshua Fox rises up for a jump shot against St. Ignatius on Tuesday at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. (Photo by Eric Luis)

Johns and Fox scored 17 points apiece to lead all scorers, and Johns finished with a game-high 12 rebounds and three blocks to beat the Wildcats (10-15) for the third time this season.

“In the locker room, coach told us to calm down and stay poised and that’s what we did,” Johns said. “We weren’t hitting our shots [in the first half]. Everybody was cold.”

If the Irish (21-4) were cold in the first half, the Wildcats were downright frigid.

St. Ignatius shot just over 17 percent from the floor in the first half and on its first nine possessions, had three missed shots and six turnovers, allowing the Irish to open up a 10-0 lead.

“We were trying to slow it down and make it our pace,” said St. Ignatius head coach Tim Reardon. “By halftime, we kinda got where we wanted to be and in the third quarter, [Sacred Heart] just shot the [heck] out of the ball.”

While Johns and Fox ruled the third quarter, Sacred Heart guard Herman Pratt locked the game down in the fourth.

The junior went scoreless through three quarters, then scored 10 points in the fourth and guarded shifty St. Ignatius sophomore point guard Trevor Dunbar for most of the game.

Just as St. Ignatius appeared to make some inroads when senior guard Nick Johnson hit a 3-pointer to cut the Irish lead to 52-42 with 1:35 remaining, Pratt buried a 3-pointer of his own on Sacred Heart’s next possession to extend the Irish lead again.

“He plays so hard and it’s contagious,” Sacred Heart head coach Darrell Barbour said of Pratt. “Whatever he does doesn’t surprise me. I’m just amazed and blessed to be able to coach a kid that plays that hard all the time.”

With the game largely in-hand, the Wildcats caught fire in the final quarter and hit 4-of-6 shots from behind the 3-point arc. Two of those 3s came from Johnson, who finished tied for the team lead with junior forward Stephen Domingo. Each scored 11 points, but Johnson did it on 10 fewer shots.

St. Ignatius junior forward Stephen Domingo goes up for a contested layup against Sacred Heart Cathedral on Tuesday at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. (Photo by Eric Luis)

“We have to do a better job of getting Nick the ball,” Reardon said. “In the second half of the season, he’s been shooting 45 or 50 percent [from 3-point range]. He’s kept us in a couple and this could have been a blowout if he wasn’t hitting 3s.”

The third-seeded Irish advance to face second-seeded Serra in the semifinals on the road Friday. Sacred Heart lost at Serra 60-57 in the regular season.

“I wouldn’t want it any different” Barbour said. “Last time we played down there we got a tough loss and it’s a great environment to play in, and our kids thrive in that kind of environment.”

Scoring Leaders

Sacred Heart Cathedral
Joshua Fox – 17
Taylor Johns – 17
Herman Pratt – 10
Khalil James – 7
Two players tied with 3 points

St. Ignatius
Stephen Domingo – 11
Nick Johnson – 11
Trevor Dunbar – 9
Albert Waters – 6
Two players tied with 4 points

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67 Comments

  1. JJ says:

    Poll: Who do you think wins SanFranPreps player of the Year? Fox, Johns, or Domingo

    • ARHS Stats says:

      I think, I need to know if one of the AAA teams that is leading it’s division has a player that might be involved in this discussion.

      I don’t think Domingo is the competition for Fox or Johns for San Fran Preps Player of the year, it will probably come from a player from Lincoln, Mission, or Marshall.

      Saint Ignatius has not won enough WCAL league games to have a player involved in this discussion, if SHC and SI were a game or so apart in the league standings, then you could make Domingo part of the discussion. But 6 wins apart (SI 4 wins – SHC 10 wins) means you have to look to another league for competition for the player of the year for San Fran Preps.

      • JJ says:

        My vote goes to Domingo, but I assume the #1 ranked team on SanFranPreps should have the SanFranPreps player of the year on it. I guess my 2nd choice would be Johns, and 3rd choice Fox, while Mark Alexander of Marshall getting 4th place, 5th place Gione Edwards of Mission, and 6th place Trevor Dunbar, 7th place tie with Danny Selsor and Pratt

        • GCJ 01 says:

          How would you vote for Domingo over Fox and Johns? Not taking the records into account, Fox and Johns, hands down, are better players and are more consistent at being a threat for their team than Domingo was.

        • WCAL Alum says:

          Im sorry, but JJ you blindness towards anything Red and Blue is makes you one of the least objective observers. Its ok to be true to your school and defend it against some of the stuff on this board. True, Stephen Domingo means so much to the success of SI, but as ARHS Stats points out, where has that got the Cats. If there is a player of year my vote would be either Fox of SHC or the center of Marshall. Both mean so much to their teams and both delivered the entire season.

    • SF_Mikey says:

      Personally, I would have Johns & Fox split the award as I think they are equally valuable with SD31 a distant third IMHO. In 2013 it’ll be SD31’s turn and possibly TD10 in 2014.

    • Ari Gold says:

      Its insulting to have Domingo in the player of the year conversation. Any player on teams with losing records are NOT valuable. Their stats compiled meant nothing to the teams success. A 20ppg scorer on a team that is 10-17, is not better than a 14 & 8 player on a team that is 20-4.

      Im predicting JB is going to do a first and split the POY with Johns & Fox. If you ask either of them, they would likely say its the other. Both are so intangible to SH’s success and both put up very similar numbers and provide leadership when the team needs it most.

      On another note can you imagine if Gione Edwards was still in an SH uniform this year? Add a bonafide 15+ ppg scorer to this team is just scary.

      • Roll Cats says:

        I wouldn’t say it’s insulting to have Domingo in the POY conversation, I think that he has had a very respectable year coming off a traumatic wrist injury that kept him out of the first month of practices and he has picked up steam in his recent games. When Domingo scores 15 or more in league, SI is 4-1. Unfortunately, that means he’s only scored 15 or more in 5 games, but he has had a number of great games this season including his memorable evening in the Jungle when he hit his first 6 shots en route to a 22 point/double-double evening.

        My pick for player of the year would be a split award between Fox and Johns because Sacred Heart is far and away the #1 team in the city right now and both of them have played such critical roles in their success. They compliment each other so well on the court and they are truly fun to watch when they get rolling. A couple nice elevations in the lane from each of them last night were spectacular to see, but the SH students (Were any in attendance??) didn’t seem to notice.

        But going down the list, Domingo’s name would surely come up in the “others receiving votes” if this were a true MVP poll. To say it’s insulting goes overboard and diminishes the impact he’s made as a teammate and as a team captain for SI this season.

      • Cats Pride says:

        “Any player on teams with losing records are NOT valuable.” I hope that’s a joke. So Trevor Dunbar isn’t valuable???? I’m also assuming you’re just talking about high school sports, because I ‘d say Kevin Love is a pretty valuable player, even though the T’Wolves suck.

        • Ari Gold says:

          @Cats… We all are valuable CatsPride. But this is a discussion about MVP/POY of the city and you cannot put in the conversation players that accumulated very good stats on losing teams. I’ll give you an example, Andre Dawson won the NL MVP in 1987 for the last place Cubs. How valuable was he that his monster statistics didnt even lead the Cubs past the doormat? MVP voting is and always has been determined by the writers. Writers wised up the criteria stating that a player’s value ultimately translates to how successful their team did that season. Dunbar/Domingo are not valuable because of one statistic: 10 Wins, 15 Losses. They may be the BEST players on their TEAM, but not worthy enough to be called the POY because none of their stats accumulated helped SI be a winning team.

    • Richmond Wrecker says:

      You forget to mention Alexander out of Marshall, especially after that performance against Mission. I’m sure there will be at least one candidate from the BCL, possibly Nate Cohen from Urban, and most likely another candidate out of either Lincoln or Mission

  2. Chris says:

    I think Fox and Johns could both win, a dual award. But if I had to pick one it would be Josh Fox.

    • JJ says:

      I think Johns is more dominating. He plays like Shaq, while Fox plays like Kobe. I think you can’t go wrong with either Johns or Fox. As a matter of fact, this SHC team reminds me of the Lakers dynasty. Khalil James is like Derek Fisher, and H. Pratt is like Rick Fox. Tyler Petroni reminds me of Robert Horry. Liam O’Reilly reminds me of Mark Madsen. DO10 = Brian Shaw.

      • Whatever says:

        @JJ – “while Fox plays like Kobe”??? You are kidding, right? You are comparing a nice high school player to a guy who went DIRECTLY to the NBA.

        • SF says:

          Why so much hate towards Fox? 90% of your comments are negative on Fox. Did he steal your girlfriend or embarrass you in a game? You pick the part about him being compared to Kobe but ignored the parts that compared the whole team to the Lakers. JJ wasn’t seriously comparing talent but just playing style, and even if he was comparing talent he is entitled to his opinion. Let’s stop the hate on kids (esp Domingo) and enjoy all of our teams in SF and their talent.

        • JJ says:

          They are not the same talent-wise, but relatively speaking, Josh Fox is the Kobe of the WCAL, and T. johns is the SHAQ of the WCAL, while Domingo is the KD35 of the WCAL. Aaron Gordon is like the Lebron of the WCAL but with more championships.

  3. bballobserver says:

    Admittedly, this was my first experience watching SH v SI (though I’ve seen Johns play quite a bit and I’ve seen Domingo for years): game had no heart (from my perspective); SI slowing the ball down??? with those running guards?? Didn’t make sense. And then to be creative and have to score at the end of the game. SI showed no coaching; Taylor Johns is among the most athletic kids and great fun to watch, but not quite a basketball player (yet); Josh Fox showed some good stuff, but good is the best I could say. Herman Pratt played very well: defense, running the court. But all in all: didn’t see heart in this game.

    • JJ says:

      SI running when there was an opportunity, but the guards either threw the ball out of bounds or missed the layup. Al Waters threw 2 balls out of bounds on fast breaks as well as some of the other guards. Al Waters played very good defense, though, but he needs to work on his passing.

      • Ari Gold says:

        Albert Waters, really nice kid. Really good DB. Should get some looks from D1 for DB, but an example of a football player on a basketball team.

        • JJ says:

          Yea, he’s a good DB, but I think he needs to grow a couple more inches to make a D1 program. It says that he’s 5’8″, but he looks like 5’7″. I think the height of SI players are inflated, because it also says Aguilar is 6-6, yet Johns is listed at 6-4, but Johns is towering over him. Anyways, how wiill Waters defend against WR’s in college who are 6’2″? I think he should try to get a DB scholarship from Cal Poly or Cornell, if he has the grades. I think he has the potential to be a good punt returner.

          • Ari Gold says:

            There are tons of midgets that play D1. LaMichael James is only 5’8″. DeAnthony Thomas is 5’9″.That Cal RB Sofele is like 3’11”!!! Waters will have a place on some roster.

            • Roll Cats says:

              Albert Waters may be a football player in a basketball uniform, but his style of play has helped the Wildcats this year and I think they could actually use a few more players like Waters to toughen up the finesse guys. Waters doesn’t like to pull and shoot too much, but when he has, he’s usually made it. Great asset to any fast break team as well, but that’s not SI this year. A small lineup of Dunbar, Hatch, Waters, Loginoff, and Domingo may not do as well defensively, but work Nick Johnson in that lineup and you’ve got a group of guys who are not only fun to watch, but can fly around and make plays on the court.

            • Cats Pride says:

              James also runs a low 40 for the forty, and sofele runs 43, not sure what waters runs but just for reference.

  4. DJ Whiz says:

    JJ – a great compliment to the boys and team . All the best to SH at Serra on Fri , come out firing on all cylinders and put them away . Play hard from the very first whistle is all they need to do and put this to bed early in the matchup . Go Irish ! ! !

  5. SH fan says:

    I think this SH team is fun to look at!! Play hard in seem to love to play together!! And JJ don’t say SD31 and no
    More MVP talk!!! Ppl like you make kids think
    That are better than they really are!! Let him have a MVP year than put Him inthe talk(maybe next year for him) and if this team
    Of SH
    Is Like the Lakers-What’s the team
    Of 3years ago called??that won the State and went to the Nor cal and lost in final the year before!! I think they would beat this team by 12 or more!!! But lets Go SH put the city teams on the
    Map!!! Fox MVP (John right by his side) marshal Kid a long 3rd Bigest kid in AAA and some time end with 10pts !!would not do good in WCAL

    • JJ says:

      I am entitled to my own opinion, and I think SD31 deserves to be in the talk for MVP, although I understand that he might not win it. SI reminds me of the Oklahoma City Thunder, but without Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Collison. SD31’s game is patterned after KD and Dunbar plays the role of Westbrook, while Nick Johnson is Harden. If you take Ibaka, Perkins and Collison out of the equation, OKC is the NBA version of SI.

      The SHC team of 3 years ago is the 2011 Dallas Mavericks because they caught lightning in a bottle, like what the SF Giants did in 2010. Kevin Greene was Tyson Chandler, The governor was Dirk, and Gartrell was The Jet.

    • JJ says:

      How do you know Alexander the Great of Marshall would not do well in the WCAL? I’m sure SI or Riordan could use a center like that with his length and size.

  6. BigMikeDC says:

    SD does not appear to have found his identity in the SI scheme. Johns the best athlete; Fox is the better basketball player. Fox’s high intelligence (both on and off of the court), work ethic and ability will take him very far.

    • bballobserver says:

      I would turn your opening comment: coaching begins with understanding talent. The SI “system” doesn’t appear to me to be designed for the talent that the team has: fast, quick, running guards; big man who might (can?) play the middle. How is it that SD roams the outside and shoots from distance (again, I’ve only seen SI on a limited basis). How is it that SI holds the ball for so long (at least against SH). No chemistry can develop among the team on the floor. They seem to run plays rather than play basketball. All that said: Taylor Johns pushed SD around last night…..and there was no come back.

      • Ari Gold says:

        @bball, your assessment perceives SI as a team full of players that dont know their roles or not sure if they are there to play basketball or just to run a crisp 3 man weave. On a deeper level maybe the players just checked out this season. Kids listen more to their AAU coaches, over-involved parents, and hoop friends more than their high school teachers/coaches. Not sure what happened this year but John Duggan isnt walking through that door. Ali Thomas isnt walking through that door. And Johnny Mrlik isnt walking through that door.

      • BigMikeDC says:

        @ BBB – I’ve seen enough SI games where the look in the eyes of the players is not of confidence, but bewilderment. Seems dysfunctional to me. Really not playing to the strengths of the players on the floor. It will be very curious how this plays out next season with a relatively strong JV coming into play. @ Ari – if they have ‘checked out’, then the HC should have figured this out and let em sit!

        • Ari Gold says:

          @bigmike…. ever notice how old the varsity coaches look especially if they are relatively young? Reardon is somewhere near 40 and hes got white hairs up the wazoo. Managing teens these days and their hormones will add to that stress level. Ive seen Tim Burke and Tim Readon go from varsity to coaching just freshman teams because its definately less stress. I sympathize with the high stress coaches and their positions. Remember being the head coach isnt their only job, they also teach regular classes at the school or somewhere else.

          • JJ says:

            coach Reardon is in his mid-40’s.

          • IC Stars says:

            Tim Burke’s Frosh girls finished the season 18-0.

            • Scott says:

              IC stars, thanks on your informative comments on the school. The question I have is Faraj Abram use to be the Frosh B team coach, and he coached those teams well. He is now the Frosh A team coach and he again delivers with a WCAL championship. He seems to be getting good results making the switch with Chris Valentino who is now the B team coach. Do you think Abram would be a better fit in the future for the JV team? Perhaps he could switch with RIck Lacy since the JV teams have not been winning? Although, I must admit it appears the freshman/sophmores that promote to varsity all deserve to be there. Do you think the school could use a better JV squad to prepare for Varsity. Or do you think the Freshman squads are doing that already?

              • IC Stars says:

                I think situations vary from season to season. People like Kevin Greene, Jerry Brown and Albert Johnson, Jr. were good enough to start on the varsity when they were freshmen. But the lower levels should prepare the players for what to expect on the varsity. I still say this year’s Frosh A team could beat the JV’s.

                As for the POY talk, I would give a .0001 edge to Josh Fox just for nailing that 3-ptr. against Mitty last week to send the game into OT. That was incredible.

              • JJ says:

                Taylor Johns made a game winning dunk with a couple ticks on the clock, but unfortunately about only 38 people saw it live. Even though Josh Fox made that great shot, it wasn’t even game winning and they lost the game too. Plus, the “MVP” selection will include the playoffs, so SD31 still has a shot to win it, although I think it may be a longshot.

        • bballobserver says:

          …..or change the system to fit the players. And then make them work.

  7. Big guy 24 says:

    Names of 2 good players who play an all around game are Pratt of SHC and D.J Harvey from Riordan. Because Riordan has been awful this year we tend to forget Harvey is playing well on both ends of the court and Herman Pratt does it all too. Pratt is the best defensive player on team, best 3 point shooter and the kid who makes big plays when it counts for the irish team. But i’ve seen SHC play 8 times this year and Taylor Johns brings fantastic energy to the game and his stats speak for themselves=MVP…just my opinion…

    • RC Cola says:

      How is RIordan awful when most of the games were single digit losses and upset Bellarmine and St. Francis?

      • Big guy 24 says:

        Look at the record of Riordan, and whats the difference of losing by single digits or by double digits cause a loss is a loss right? Theirs no extra bonus for losing close games..

  8. SF says:

    On the subject on POY the favorites are definitely Johns and Fox. In my opinion it is a two man race between those guys and everyone else is just filler. That is a tough pick between those two, there are games where Johns scores 5 points to Fox’s 15+ but Johns would have 14 rebs and vice versa. They are perfect compliments to each other with Johns the athletic power player and Fox the fundamental finesse player. The funny thing is they would probably pick the other for the award because the only thing that matters to them is another state title.

  9. Cats Pride says:

    I thought this would be a good year for SI with dunbar and domingo. I kind of expected more from aguilar. Let’s hope Sarah doesn’t destroy sh, like they did last year, and hey even if they do at least it won’t be on their home court.

    • JJ says:

      I was thinking the same thing. I thought Aguilar would be chipping in with 10 pts a game and getting like 8 rebounds a game, but in reality, he came nothing close to this. It seemed like he was more explosive when he was a sophomore. Al Waters seemed like he played better last year compared to this year. It was really a humbling experience for the Cats this year, especially with so much promise. Hopefully, they can reach the finals in CCS and their shortcomings will be erased from my memory.

    • IC Stars says:

      I think that memory will be fresh in their minds when the Irish dustmop the floor with them.

  10. merkinworld says:

    Nick Johnson scored 11 pts on 10 fewer shots. Is there a boxscore available with shooting stats? Both teams missed a lot of open shots. Between SI’s poor 1st qtr shooting and numerous turnovers it could have been worse than 10-0 had SH hit a couple of more open shots.

  11. bballobserver says:

    Question: is POY meant to be MVP? These may be two different things. POY is, at least to me, a player who does well statistically but also plays the game great all over the court, offense, defense, knowledge of the game, good eyes/sees the court, makes teammates better (a Johnny Mrlyk). The team may or may not be at the top but likely will do well. An MVP is a player from a top team who made the team a winner. Just a thought. With that said: Taylor Johns is fun to watch and may be POY just for that; SD showed up too infrequently. Votes need to go to Chris Mah and Nate Cohen (BCL West).

    • jbalan says:

      We will be naming a Player of the Year. The most excellent high school basketball player in the City this season. It’s an individual award, but winning certainly plays a part. Unlike pro sports, however, we will take postseason play into account.

      • Ari Gold says:

        Stop playin’ around JB. Youre so easily predictable. Girls POY: Maria Kemiji-McDonald. Boys: Taylor Johns/Josh Fox.

        • jbalan says:

          I would say the conversation certainly goes beyond those players for both boys and girls. We still have a long way to go, with games of increasing importance ahead.

        • JJ says:

          The SI girls team reminds me of the Chicago Bulls dynasty. Maria Kimichi McDonald’s game reminds me of Michael Jordan while Kaitlyn Crawley is like Scottie Pippen. Stacey Ward plays the role of John Paxson, and Josie Little’s game is patterned after Luc Longley. Also, Sydney Raggio plays like Toni Kukoc. Hopefully, this great team can bring SI a CCS championship back to the Sunset.

          • Ari Gold says:

            and JJ is Jack Haley, the 12th man / towel waver / Dennis Rodman’s best friend / cheerleader of the team.

            • WCAL Alum says:

              Until they win a championship, they are the Clippers. But things do look promising the next few years.

              • JJ says:

                I actually think this year’s team will be better than next year’s team because next year SI will be without the female version of MJ and the female version of Pippen. Next year, who will be the go-to person? Next year’s team will lack senior leadership, so they will have to win games through a strong defense and great rebounding. I can see next year’s SI team playing like the 80’s Celtics, but without Larry Bird.

              • WCAL Alum says:

                JJ you have a good point. As talented as they will be (next few years), hard not to miss this year’s senior leadership. But they are in good a position as any other team in league. Watch out for St. Francis in next couple years, Coach Harrigan wont be satified with semi-final appearances; this year was a big jump for the Lancers. It will be interesting to see how many players he gets (who potentially would have gone to Mitty) now that his feet are wet in the South Bay.

  12. tenor1 says:

    jj is this actually a joke with all ur comparisons that are so irrelevant/ridiculous. ur new thing is making nba comparisons that make no sense and have no relevancy to high school basketball in the city of san francisco. nobody even reads ur comparisons dude ur just amusing urself

    • JJ says:

      No, it’s not a joke, and SF high school basketball does have some relevancy to the NBA. In order to win championships, you have to pattern your game to the basketball greats. From watching these kids on the court, their great sense of court awareness and skill remind me of the great teams and players of the NBA. Although, their talent maybe not be spectacular in the NBA sense, their game still transcends to the fans and we have enjoyed their excellent play to the fullest. I see the qualities of current and former NBA players in the play of these youngsters, as they are currently trying to achieve their dreams on the hardwood.

  13. tenor1 says:

    your right i was just being judgemental. i like to make comparisons too it just seems relatively unimportant. but then again, what is the meaning sports anyway if we don’t have fun with it. my bad jj

  14. BIG RICH says:

    Good luck Irish tomorrow…We are proud of all of you. The jungle, please, it’s more like a petting zoo.

  15. dakyne says:

    video of Sacred Heart victory over St. Ignatius: http://youtu.be/VzUNv0zWcGY

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