Boys Basketball: Riordan blows away Mission in Crusader Classic opener

Riordan senior guard Geru Mabrey takes the ball upcourt against Mission on Wednesday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Jeremy Balan

The Riordan boys basketball team will look significantly different and likely be a lot better when its highly-touted transfers become eligible in January, but the group it put on the floor Wednesday wasn’t too shabby.

The Crusaders shot just under 65 percent from the floor and had four players score in double figures in a runaway 75-46 win over Mission in the first round of the Crusader Classic at Riordan.

Riordan junior forward Bobby Arenas led all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field and completed a double-double with 10 rebounds, but the best player on the floor Wednesday was undoubtedly senior point guard Geru Mabrey.

Riordan senior forward Usman Hameed goes up for a layup against Mission on Wednesday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Doug Ko)

Mabrey flirted with a quadruple-double before being removed, along with the rest of the Riordan starters, with just under 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter when the Crusaders (1-0) held a 61-21 lead. The 5-foot-9 senior finished with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor (2-of-3 from three-point range), to go along with eight assists, six rebounds and five steals.

“Geru makes us go and he got extremely better over the summer,” said Riordan head coach Rich Buckner. “He’s really worked on his shooting and those shots last year probably wouldn’t have fallen. This year, he’s knocking those down and he’s got that double threat going on. If you sag off of him, he’s got the ability to make a three-pointer, and if you get up on him, he’s so quick, we know he can get to the basket.”

The Crusaders feasted on backdoor cuts for easy buckets against an over-pursuing Mission defense, scored 52 points in the paint and Mabrey provided a bit of flash.

The lightning-quick senior was at his best in the final moments of the second quarter, when he drove past a Mission defender with ease, drew another help defender, then dished the ball behind his back to Arenas for an easy layup at the buzzer to give the Crusaders a 41-18 lead at the halftime break.

“We worked hard over the summer and it’s paid off,” Mabrey said. “This is a good little start, but it shows. If we keep making progress and doing well, we’ll be pretty solid.”

While the Crusaders got easy baskets throughout, the Bears (0-1) struggled mightily to get anything going on offense after a fair first quarter, where they only trailed Riordan 19-13. The Bears shot 2-of-13 from the floor and scored just five points in the second quarter, and never challenged for the lead again. Riordan outscored Mission 48-14 in the second and third quarters combined.

“We don’t have any practice time under our belts and we’re not very good,” said Mission head coach Arnold Zelaya. “Hopefully we can get some practice time in and get better. It’s never been this bad, but it can only get better.”

Mission senior guard Antoine Porter works through the Riordan defense on Wednesday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Doug Ko)

Standout Mission guards Kevin Murray and Antoine Porter scored just 17 points combined against Riordan, but it was the quantity of shots it took the pair to get to that total that hurt the Bears most. The duo shot 7-of-30 from the floor and 2-of-14 from three-point range.

“I never would have imagined a 40-point game late in the third quarter against them, because of the simple fact that guards run high school basketball and Mission has two of them,” Buckner said. “I thought that alone could carry them, but we held them and that was key right there.”

Scoring Leaders

Riordan
Bobby Arenas – 19
Geru Mabrey – 11
Jiday Ugbaja – 11
Usman Hameed – 10
Four players tied with 6 points

Mission
Antoine Porter – 13
Joji Kurotani – 7
Ronald Murrilo – 6
Jerrel Stancil – 5
Two players tied with 4 points

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30 Comments

  1. Pete Gwarder says:

    I feel Zach Masoli & Cheiffie Ugiba will help the Crusaders down low with the rebounding load.

  2. M Air J says:

    I was very impressed with the Riordan team. They looked very good and handled Mission’s guards with ease. Most of Porter’s points were scored after the Riordan starters were pulled. Dunbar, whom in my opinion, is the best guard in SF may have some competition with Mabrey. He is an amazing player and gets my vote for quickest guard in the WCAL. Ugbaja also made great strides since last year. Once Ferrari is eligible they may have the best guard rotation in the WCAL, rivalring Serra’s. I saw the injured player and he is a legit 6’9. Assuming he can play, he would have made Riordan a top team but they also have 2 other transfers who will become eligible for league play in the 6’3-6’4 range. They also have a football player who was not playing who appeared to be in the 6’5-6’6 range. Word is he is a banger. And possibly their most physical player, Masoli, was also in street clothes. If they can provide Gilleran some much needed help in the interior, Riordan should contend for 2nd or 3rd in league. Mitty is clearly alone on the mountain top.

    Where Riordan was vulnerable, IMO, was in the paint. They struggled to get rebounds against a much smaller Mission team. That will hurt them vs their next opponent, Burlingame, who has some size up front.

    Coach Buckner will have a problem, albeit a good problem, when all his players are elligible january 1. The players in street clothes looked just as impressive as the starters. It will be fun to watch all the city teams compete this year.

    • Ari Gold says:

      Have you heard if the 6’8 Karim Ndiaye is any good? That would be quite a matchup problem if you have him 6’7 Gilleran as your two bigs (although Ive seen Gilleran and hes not going to be someone you need to double team or worry about scoring 15-20 points on you). Put those two with Mabrey, Arenas, and Ugbaja… going to be tough to beat. And the bench will be pretty deep also. I might have to check out this Riordan/MItty game to see Gordon dunk on Ndiaye.

      • jbalan says:

        From what I understand, Ndiaye likely won’t be playing this year. He hurt his knee in the offseason.

        • Ari Gold says:

          The bright side is he is only a sophomore. He probably is still growing so I’m hoping to see the first 7’0 in the WCAL in quite some time.

      • wcalsf says:

        Parents in the stands mentioned that Karim has a 6-5 sister that played for Cal – so that bodes well as far as potentially talented. Also one of the previous posts mentioned that one of the players is a 6-4 boarding sudent from Europe and played for the FIBA U16 European Championship last year.

        • Just some facts says:

          I understand he has two sisters playing college Basketball.
          I would not be so sure that Karim is out for the whole season – –
          There are 5 transfers into ARHS Varsity team. There are about 16 Varsity players. See roster on the ARHS website – and it may also not be showing another tall prior player (Junior) on injury right now besides Masoli. Check out the heights and weights of players – as well as their class/years
          I wonder if there are person(s) who would like to re-list the top SF mens basketball team now? Of course you haven’t been able to see the 4 transfers (maybe 5 with Karim) playing yet. But what has been written so far about them from prior info – is correct and then some.
          Game against Burlingame tonite at 8 at Riordan.

    • Just some facts says:

      Geru Mabray is a truly great athlete – and sometimes it is even too hard to believe what he does so effortlessly. He also dunks and he is a great rebounder. He is intuitive out there on the court and with some more intuitive players who have great Bball IQ on the team, he will really spark the team.

  3. JJ says:

    This game was over after Mission’s 1st 2 posessions. Steal, easy layup, steal, easy layup. Repeat for the next 20 minutes. Mission looked like they had only 1 practice; with the football players like Porter, that may be the case. Riordan’s guard play is excellent. Arenas looks like a big body, but he could dominate down low because Mission’s talented frontcourt all graduated. Surprised Arenas isn’t on the football field, I think he could make a name for himself at defensive end or tight end.

    • Ari Gold says:

      Why would Arenas want to play football for Sweeney? So he can potentially injure himself and not be available for the basketball team which he is better at?

      • JJ says:

        I’m not sure Arenas is better at basketball than football. The reason why he got 19 points and a ton of rebounds was because he out-weighed Mission’s whole front line and looked like he was about 5 inches taller than everyone on Mission. To me, he looks like he can play football.

        • wcalsf says:

          Didn’t Arenas play QB and DE for the Irish as a freshman?

          • Chris says:

            Yes, Areana’s older brother is at SHC and maybe even graduated, not sure. But his dad was an all star at SHC back in the days in basketball. The Areana’s at Riordan was a good football player at SHC. Not all that clear why he transferred but maybe he just didn’t like it or wanted to pave his own way. But he would be of some help to the Riordan D-line if he wanted to play.

        • Ari Gold says:

          For high school, hes probably better at basketball, but he would be characterized as having a better “football” body. See Kevin Greene, Taylor Johns, Jason Hill.

          • WCAL Fan says:

            That is what they said about Rob Jones too but Rob loved basketball and is still playing his game.

            • Golden Boy says:

              Arenas is ok but he’s no Rob Jones.

            • Ari Gold says:

              True, but Rob Jones, as good as he is and as solid as he is, isnt making the NBA. If he kept on going with football, no doubt he wouldve been in the NFL as a TE. TEs are the “it” position now for college and NFL offenses.

              • Golden Boy says:

                Like Gates, Gonzales and Graham. All played hoops in college but made their money in the NFL. I agree with Ari.

              • WCAL Fan says:

                I agree but sometimes you have to follow your dreams and/or what you love to do But it would have been great to watch Jones play in the NFL.

              • wcalsf says:

                The amazing thing was Rob was offered a formal tryout with the Vikings this past offseason and had an “informal” tryout offer from the Niners as Harbaugh was the USD football HC during Rob’ s freshman year. He had several Pac10 schools incl USC along with Notre Dame (not Namur!) interested in him in HS.

  4. TM76 says:

    It was a fun game to watch, as I said in another post, I thought ARHS was fundamentally better then Mission. I Mission football players have to get into basketball shape and that will probably take a good four games to do. Happy to see Arenas with the double double, Mabrey with the 5 steals (good anticipation skills), Ugbaja shot the ball well, Hameed attacked the hoop which was nice to see and Gillieran banging inside. I still hope to see Gillieran bulk up more because he is going to need a few extra pounds to bang in the WCAL.

    • JJ says:

      Did u watch the same game as I did? Blowouts are never fun to watch. The best games are competitive games that go down to the wire. This game had no drama whatsoever.

      • TM76 says:

        Yes I did and it was nice to get out and watch a game, what you define as fun and what I do is a matter of opinion and in my mind it was fun to see the team play and make opinions/guesses at how the upcoming season is going to be after the disappointment of last year. Relax it’s only the second game (really the first, the alumni game is like practice fun).

        • TM76 says:

          Oh and yes if you are the losing end of a blowout it is not fun but if your on the winning side it is. And yes I will take a competitive close sitting on the edge of your seat/couch/lazy boy nail chewing heart pounding game anyday over a blowout. Just saying……….

  5. Agabus Gwarder says:

    I believe that Usman Hameed is the x factor to the riordan crusaders success.

  6. Kabir Brahmani says:

    My boiiiii Uzman waz killin boi culd be 1 of da best playazz in da city….dat boi is smoooooove

  7. Big guy 24 says:

    Wcal and chris are correct the Arenas kid was a starting QB and D-end for SH frosh team and i’m told he was good and better at football and baseball than basketball. I’m told he will be playing varsity for coach Gallegoes at Riordan. Baseball coach talks highley of the kid about being a D1 player and i’m told bobby and jiday want to play football but not for Sweeney. Anyways Riordan looked energetic and played well but Mission did not show up to play. Burlingame is a better coached team with smarter players so Riordan will be challenged friday night. Good luck to the city schools and I think the top 3 players in the city are 1-Dunbar 2-Herman Pratt 3-Geru mabry, just my opinion!!

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