Boys Basketball: Sacred Heart Cathedral back on track after win over St. Ignatius

Sacred Heart Cathedral junior forward Liam O'Reilly boxes out St. Ignatius senior forward Andrew Vollert on Wednesday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Doug Ko)

Sacred Heart Cathedral junior forward Liam O’Reilly boxes out St. Ignatius senior forward Andrew Vollert on Wednesday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Jeremy Balan

It’s safe to say the Sacred Heart Cathedral boys basketball team’s first quarter against Bellarmine on Saturday was the low point of its season.

The Irish trailed 32-3 after the opening quarter against the Bells, en route to their third straight West Catholic Athletic League loss, but more importantly, lost their confidence.

It may not be all back, but the Irish got a boost to that confidence on Wednesday by defeating rival St. Ignatius 59-51 on the road.

“Last week knocked us on our heels, and we’re trying to find ourselves again and that’s not easy,” said Sacred Heart head coach Darrell Barbour. “Before the season, people didn’t think we were going to be any good and we had a chip on our shoulder. We forgot how we got to 5-2 [in WCAL play]. We lost the chip on our shoulder. We lost that hunger to prove to people that we are good.”

St. Ignatius junior forward Julian Marcu goes up for a contested shot in the lane against Sacred Heart Cathedral on Wednesday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Doug Ko)

St. Ignatius junior forward Julian Marcu goes up for a contested shot in the lane against Sacred Heart Cathedral on Wednesday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Doug Ko)

The Irish (13-7, 6-4) were led by the consistent play of junior forward Liam O’Reilly, who was the only Sacred Heart player to score in each quarter and finished with a team-high 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

Senior guard Herman Pratt was the only other Irish player to score in double figures, but was scoreless and didn’t take a shot from the field in the first half. After the break, however, Pratt scored 10 points and helped extend a five-point halftime Irish lead to 43-31 early in the fourth.

“On one particular play in the first half, he was on the block and he didn’t look to score,” Barbour said of Pratt. “At halftime, I told him he needed to be aggressive.”

Pratt’s second-half points were crucial, but it was the combined effort of Sacred Heart’s perimeter defenders that may have been the difference.

Through three quarters, the Irish held the St. Ignatius guards to 2-of-19 shooting from the floor and the Wildcats (13-7, 4-6) struggled to navigate through Sacred Heart’s man-to-man help defense.

“They have the best perimeter defenders in the league, but at the same time, you can get them if you’re patient and you pick your times to drive,” said St. Ignatius head coach Tim Reardon. “Once we got the ball moving in the second half, we were able to do what we wanted to do.”

While the St. Ignatius guards struggled to score, the Wildcats got almost all of their offense from forwards Julian Marcu and Andrew Vollert. Marcu had a game-high 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Vollert had 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the floor.

Six of Marcu’s points came in the fourth quarter, when everything started to come together for St. Ignatius. With standout junior point guard Trevor Dunbar in command of the offense, the Wildcats went on an 8-0 run to cut the Irish lead to 49-46 with 2:07 remaining.

Dunbar had three of his game-high six assists in the fourth quarter, but the St. Ignatius comeback hopes were dashed on the next possession, when Sacred Heart junior guard Evan Davison drained a three-pointer on an assist from point guard Khalil James. The Wildcats never got the deficit back down to a single possession the rest of the way.

“I don’t think we played horrible, but in this league, we have to play a good game to win,” Reardon said. “If we don’t play a good game, we lose.”

Scoring Leaders

Sacred Heart Cathedral
Liam O’Relly – 13
Herman Pratt – 10
Evan Davison – 9
David Parsons – 9
Two players tied with 5 points

St. Ignatius
Julian Marcu – 17
Andrew Vollert – 10
Tristan Wentworth – 8
Trevor Dunbar – 6
Albert Waters – 5

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28 Comments

  1. IC Stars says:

    Good. Now win the first game in front of 4000 noisy fans instead of the second game in front of 400 quiet fans.

    • Ari Gold says:

      Next year Barbour needs to just tell them to not shoot anymore 3s since USF wont have the HS 3pt line out there. He should also save this game tape and show it to O’reilly the day before the BM game and pound it in his head, this is how you need to play.

      SH will be slight underdogs next year given whats coming back.
      SH: Otis, O’Reilly, Parsons, Davison, Hart.
      SI: Dunbar, Marcu, Rike, Wentworth.

      Both will be rated below Riordan who should be a top 7 team in the Bay Area with Ndiaye, Arenas, both Ugbaja’s, Ferrari, and Masoli.

      With no Gordon to dominate the league, I think Riordan will win WCAL next year.

      • Just some facts says:

        Agreed.

      • Chris says:

        Ari, SHC has a nice blue chipper coming in next year. He will be a freshman so based on his performance and not to put lofty goals he could turn out just like Summers for the SH Girls Varsity.

        • Ari Gold says:

          Hot prospects are nice, but you know Chris that we cant make a deep contending run to state unless we have big guys (Brown/Greene or Fox/Johns).

          Do you know if this freshman is 6’4 or taller? Probably going to be a bit on the skinny side but if very skilled that should make it up.

          • Chris says:

            He is big…6’4 now…plays for SF rebels, hopefully will grow. Supposedly is in the top 20 in talent and has attracted attention. You can find it in the internet if you search…. Of course Im basing this all on what the internet says, so this is all alledged.

            • Ari Gold says:

              Very promising however SH has a bit of a habit of highly touted kids that come in as freshmen and transfer out for whatever reason. Lets hope this one sticks.

              A portion of this comment has been edited.

      • hoosier says:

        Ari,

        You made a couple of assumptions, which I would suggest are not guaranteed based upon the history of last years off-season additions and subtractions on WCAL city team rosters:

        1. Will all players at SI, SHC and ARHS be back?
        2. What transfers may come in
        3. Will any other city WCAL schools welcome the worlds basketball student athletes looking for a non traditional boarding school experience a la Findlay Prep and Oak Hill Academy in San Francisco

        Food for fodder?

      • E. K. says:

        Looking at next year, the top teams should be Riordan, SI, and, unfortunately, Serra. St. Francis and Bellarmine have good JV teams and could be decent next year.

  2. Dukes says:

    Riordan and SHC will pull some transfers from somewhere….Always DO!

    • IC Stars says:

      All a player has to do is look at the best gym in the City and he’s an Irish.

      • M Air J says:

        if that’s the case, Riordan would be dominant every year. SHC has a newer gym, but Riordan’s is the best. Again, this is all opinion.

      • wcalsf says:

        Too bad not many people get a look at SHC’s new gym as this place is pretty empty for most of its games. Pretty disappointing to see a lack of support for a top tier WCAL team. Come out next week IC Stars and see a CLASSIC HS gym packed with a raucous student section; lots of alumni, friends, and fans; a great band; all the while enjoying some great food in the comfort of your seat.

        • Ari Gold says:

          I think what youre missing is that high school gyms are used everyday by the school, teachers, coaches, and students. Not just the athletes on the sports teams. PE classes, lunch gatherings, intramurals etc take place in the gym.

          Youre emphasizing it a bit much is that high school gyms are like NBA arenas that need to be sold out to make money and the lack of fans attending games means its going to waste.

          • wcalsf says:

            ALL the high school gyms are used by the school, teachers coaches and students – not just at SHC.
            My point is the lack of school support of a very good basketball team. Do they only come out for the B-M?

  3. Dukes says:

    SH builds a beautiful new gym with no lockers rooms? How does that happen?

    • Ari Gold says:

      Im pretty sure the old locker room from the old gym is still there. Again, you build a facility so the whole student body can use it, not just 12-15 players on a team.

      What do you want? Personalized name plates above each locker? Lockers the size of Barry Bonds corner in the Giants clubhouse equipped with massage chair?

    • Just some facts says:

      Well I thougth there are two gyms at SHC – in fact my sons went to summer camps there years ago, I am pretty sure that there are two gyms. I think that there are locker rooms as well. What SHC lacks is a true playing field for football – and soccer, right? I forgot – is there a baseball diamond?

      • IC Stars says:

        So close to getting that Presidio field but somebody dropped the ball.

      • IC Stars says:

        They have some practice and batting facilities on campus but I’m not sure where they practice otherwise. I think soccer practices at Kimbell nearby. They must be doing something right after winning some soccer hardware last season.

    • Ari Gold says:

      Dukes, if you must, its the same ill-logic that makes one scratch their head when you live in SF and wonder, how come muni doesnt have more underground lines? Wouldnt that create less congestion on the surface streets? Or why did LA build everything before building a underground subway transit that stretches from downtown all the way to the coast? #headscratchers

    • Sandy says:

      There’s actually a special room above the gym where the team gathers that has personal lockers for game days.

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