Boys Basketball: Sacred Heart Cathedral wins NorCal D-III title over Bishop O’Dowd

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior shooting guard Tyler Petroni evades a Bishop O'Dowd defender on Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Jeremy Balan

SACRAMENTO – Unlike so many playoff games this season, Sacred Heart Cathedral shooting guard Tyler Petroni did not light up the scoreboard against Bishop O’Dowd on Saturday.

The shots weren’t falling for Petroni, but with the game on the line and less than a minute remaining, the senior made a play to seal the Irish boys basketball team’s 61-57 win in the California Interscholastic Federation Northern California Division III regional championship game at Power Balance Pavilion.

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior forward Joshua Fox reacts after a crucial fourth-quarter dunk against Bishop O'Dowd on Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento. (Photo by Doug Ko)

Sacred Heart (28-5) only held a 55-52 lead when junior guard Herman Pratt missed a 3-pointer. Bishop O’Dowd forward Richard Longrus took in the rebound, but fell to the floor after contact with an Irish player and a scrum ensued for the loose ball on the floor.

“I got the rebound falling over a guy and on my way down, they basically tackled me and I lost the ball,” Longrus said. “I didn’t see what happened after that.”

Pratt and Petroni both dove into the pile as O’Dowd attempted to call a timeout, but Petroni came up with the ball. While still on the floor, Petroni flipped the ball to senior forward Joshua Fox under the basket, who then slammed home a dunk to give the Irish a 57-52 lead with 42 seconds remaining.

“I saw Tyler and Herman on the floor and I thought it was a jump ball, so I looked at coach, then I heard Tyler call my name, ‘Josh, Josh, turn around,'” Fox said. “I turned around and caught it, and I dunked it.”

Petroni finished with five points and seven rebounds, but no stat was more important than that final assist.

“Tyler does the little things,” said Sacred Heart head coach Darrell Barbour. “He’s a cerebral player and makes winning plays. All these guys are like that. They do what it takes.”

The Irish came through in the final moments, but their fate looked grim in the first quarter, when the second-seeded Dragons (26-6) appeared unstoppable in the paint and held their biggest lead at 23-10 with 51 seconds left in the opening frame.

“We came out flat for some reason and our focus wasn’t there defensively,” Barbour said. “As the game went on, we got better defensively and got tougher on the boards.”

The Irish defense stiffened in the second quarter and limited O’Dowd to just seven points in the frame, but Sacred Heart likely would have faced a significant deficit at the break if not for Fox’s performance. The senior scored 14 points in the first half, finished with a game-high 21 rebounds and 13 rebounds, and the Irish went into halftime with the game tied at 30-30.

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior forward Taylor Johns throws down a put-back dunk against Bishop O'Dowd on Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento. (Photo by Doug Ko)

“I was concerned with our lack of aggressiveness,” Barbour said. “The referees were rewarding the more aggressive team, because the fouls were seven to one . . . I expected us to come back, but when you play a team as good as that, you don’t know if you can get over that hump.”

Sacred Heart senior forward Taylor Johns had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Pratt was the only other Irish player to score in double figures with 13 points.

Sacred Heart advances to play Bishop Alemany of Mission Hills, the top seed in the Southern California bracket, in the state championship game and Barbour made his expectations clear to the Irish in the post-game press conference.

“I like the feeling of winning my last game,” Barbour said, before glaring at the Irish players. “With that being said, I hope I get that feeling again.”

Scoring Leaders

Sacred Heart Cathedral
Joshua Fox – 21
Taylor Johns – 15
Herman Pratt – 13
Tyler Petroni – 5
Khalil James – 4

Bishop O’Dowd
Marcus Green – 15
Terrence Daniel – 14
Richard Longrus – 8
Dominic Gomes – 7
Joshua Crum – 6

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25 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Go Irish, go have fun on Saturday, its the last game for all a lot of the seniors, bring it home!

  2. Baller says:

    Is San Fran Preps going to post the all league selections for the WCAL, AAA, and BCL West when they come out?

  3. BIG RICH says:

    I’m so proud of this “IRISH” team.. This team is the real deal. The buzz was, they could not compete the big’s of BOD. At first ,it seemed that these basketball gurus might be right. Then the Irish , not only competed, but used their team basketball to take away the game, BOD thought that they were going to run away with this game with their size. They thought wrong. For example, smaller guards getting in front of their big’s to take away a weak side drunks that the BOD tried so desperately to attempt. Josh and Taylor giving every ounce of their being to win this game, is a testament to their focus and desire , Pratt just being who is. Every player that touched the floor made a difference, SHCP played they way the played all year “team, team. team”.
    This team is always respectful of their opponents I’ts a credit to the SHCP coaching staff, that has instilled a great, worth ethic , respect of the sport ,and a family environment. These players come out after ever game and give handshakes and hugs to all their supports . It makes me proud to know these young men and to be an alumni of this school

  4. JJ says:

    SHC was down by about 12 or so in the 1st quarter. It was obvious that SHC couldn’t shoot in an NBA Arena; the outside shots in the 1st quarter barely grazed the rim as well as the free throw shooting. I think it also had to do with nervousness. Once the Irish got their jitters out, they started playing their game. The game reminded me of the game when SHC came back to beat Serra at Serra in the semis of the WCAL playoffs. In that game, Serra jumped out to about a 14 pt lead in the 1st quarter, then SHC slowly came back. Basically, the same story plot in this game. I wonder if the final score was the same?

    I watched some of the other games too, and basically the team who was “less nervous” won. In the 4th quarter of both Mitty games, the other teams were ahead in the 4Q, but then they became tight and nervous during crunch-time, and both Mitty teams came back and won. Also, Sheldon came back and beat Jesuit after they became tight in the 4th quarter and missed alot of FT’s. Sheldon was down by about 15 after the 1st quarter. Basically, all the teams that wanted it more — won. For the person who said he wasn’t impressed with Richard Longrus, I feel the opposite. I think he was was very talented and pretty humble. I think he will make 1st team Pac-12 someday.

  5. JJ says:

    I thought the turning point of this game was when one if the benchwarmers of O’Dowd made a bonehead move and knocked the ball out of the hoop while it was still in the net and the basket didn’t count. The ball was basically going through the net and the kid jumped and knocked it back out. I think the ref called basket interference and took away the 2 points.

    • Ari Gold says:

      Sunday morning armchair QB says BOD should have used their freshman Ivan Rabb (6’7) and put him on Fox when SH went Fox iso top of the key. Im surprised Rabb didn’t play more given his size would have bothered Fox. Instead they used Longrus to guard Fox out top which wasn’t as effective. Fox consistently got to the paint against Longrus. Longrus would’ve been better served guarding the paint like they did in the 1st quarter when BOD went 2-3 zone. SH could not hit the broadside of a barn in the 1st quarter.

      Terrance Daniel looked like he had a pretty polished offensive game although I figured it only went right every time he touched the ball.

      Dragons certainly had their chances to win this, but Irish stayed composed. It also helps that they didn’t have to face Aaron Gordon. I kidded with my friends after the D2 final that SH and Mitty should play right now! We’ll have another down to the wire game.

      I stayed for the Mitty boys game and its the same story. Mitty trailing at end of 3 and Gordon took over. Funny how he makes Bible, White, Peterson look like Chris Paul when they just penetrate and lob in over the defender and Gordon gets in an lay it in. Seen this way too many times vs SH and it doomed Newark last night.

      • JJ says:

        That’s true that BOD should’ve kept with their 2-3 zone and kept Longrus in the paint. I also thought Rabb should’ve played more, but the refs kept calling ticky-tack fouls on him. Once BOD got down, they started panicking and started chucking up 3’s which played into SHC’s hands.

        • BIGRICH says:

          JJ …did you watch the first half of that game, when SHCP was getting called for “ticky- tack” fouls. I believe couch B said “seven to one.” That comes from a class coach that does not complain about anything. , SHCP has been on the short end of the stick with the refs a lot. (IE SERRA ,ST FRANCIS ). Are you suggesting that the refs are favoring private schools or the higher seeded team?.

          • JJ says:

            If the fouls were 7 to 1, it was mostly due to BOD being more aggressive. BOD was trying half-court alley oops and going inside, while SHC was shooting from the outside. If you go inside, you will get fouled more often. SHC really didn’t go inside until the 2nd half. I guess it depends who you are rooting for, because I sat near alot of Jesuit parents, and every time their kid didn’t make a basket, they thought it should’ve been a foul, then when the other team gets fouled, they yell out “That’s ridiculous” or something to that effect. It got really annoying, so I left my seat.

            I honestly don’t know who the refs favor. Maybe the refs try to favor the teams with high-profile names like Aaron Gordon’s team, Sheldon’s team, etc to give the North the better chance at a State championship? Hopefully, the NorCal teams will do well, because I think the South have been winning State alot lately.

  6. GCJ 01 says:

    Congrats to SHC! Way to represent the City!

  7. Keep it real!!! says:

    Jj how is a kid a benchwarmer when he played good min in the biggest game of the year???yes that was a big play,but c’mon Man!!!!!and that same kid you talking about look to me like he can play!!! Good game Shc now bring home the State!!!! Can someone tell me who is the last coach to win two nor-cal out of the city??? For boys??? Great Job CoacH B

    • JJ says:

      Perhaps I shouldn’t have used the word benchwarmer, he was a supporting player. The game could’ve went entirely differently if BOD had those 2 points back, because before Fox made the slam, they were only up by 3. Longrus said he was “tackled” which in my book is a foul, so Longrus could’ve easily been at the other end of the court shooting FT’s, if there was a different ref. Refs play a big role in the outcome of some games. In the Mitty boys game, for example, the refs started calling fouls on Newark Memorial when Mitty was down by 7 with about 5 mins left in the game. That enabled Mitty to comeback and tie the game and eventually won. I thought the refs in the SHC game were pretty much on point, though, but I kinda agree with Longrus that he was tackled.

  8. bubba says:

    when are the All league teams going to be posted JB?

    • jbalan says:

      I don’t know. We don’t post all-league teams anymore.

      • Baller says:

        why not?

        • jbalan says:

          Two reasons, and I’m sorry if I’m being brutally honest.

          The first is that some all-league teams in the past have been have been unfairly selected (in my opinion), and I would say irresponsibly at times. In one all-league team from the last two seasons, the coaches left off an entire team’s players because the coach from that team didn’t show up to the selection meeting. That’s just one example, but there are many more. Rather than singling out leagues that do these things by not posting their teams, I made a general policy to just not post them across the board.

          The other reason is that the number of all-league teams can be overbearing and overwhelms the other content on the site, especially in the spring. We used to just publish one a day to try to stagger the all-league teams, then people would get angry that their league wasn’t posted yet.

      • boom roasted says:

        just wondering for what reason

        • Parent says:

          Jeremy,
          No disrespect intended…. I urge you to reflect on your first reason….you refer to your website as a “sports NEWS” site….. If it is news it is news. Whether you personally like a fact or not or think it fair, should not determine whether your news site should post them. Isn’t that journalism 101? Just my two cents…

          • jbalan says:

            It is called “news judgement,” in which a journalist makes a decision on what is newsworthy and what is not. It’s what I do every day when I try to direct the coverage of the site.

    • JJ says:

      You can see who’s on the All-League teams on the WCAL website http://www.wcalsports.org. And the AAA website: http://www.cifsf.org. Mark Alexander was the Player of the Year, as I predicted. Unfortunately, Terrance Ching was 2nd team, 3 years in a row. I’m not sure if SanFranPreps will make him their Alexander player of the year or Gione Edwards. I don’t know where you can find the BCL all league teams.

    • JJ says:

      Aumen Holliday didn’t even make Honorable Mention, nor did Mizelle Parker of Marshall. Franeka Hall, a female, made it. Basically, the whole honorable mention list was 99% seniors who I never heard of, mostly.

  9. SF_Mikey says:

    Great game by SHC yesterday afternoon. It looked pretty bleak there at the outset with BOD scoring at will. Then SHC buckled down with some great defense. I think it’s fair to say that Josh Fox is back from his injury. He was key to turning the game around both offensively as well as defensively with several key blocks as well. Pratt had a few key baskets to keep them in it early and Taylor Johns was Taylor Johns. As JJ stated this game was similar to the WCAL playoff game at Sierra when SHC got buried early but didn’t lose their poise and came back strong in the second and third quarters keyed by Fox.

    We went up to Sacramento yesterday to attend the game with my ten year old son and one of his friends. Also took in the Mitty vs Newark Memorial game. Mitty looked a bit ragged / disinterested for the first three plus quarters then turned it out to nip NM at the end. The vocal Newark fans were continually chanting OVERRATED at Gordon especially when he was shooting FTs. Wanted to catch the Sheldon vs Jesuit game but the family wasn’t down for eight hours of BB :-)

  10. Wcalsf says:

    Rich Forslund @ Riordan won 2 Norcals in a row 2001-02, winning state in 02.

  11. Keep it real says:

    Great win for Shc !! Now I want to no we’re are those who said Fox and Johns can’t play bigger Guys???Fox was the truth out their!!!Like I said D-1 Is coming for them!!!!

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