The championship game of the 63rd Crusader Classic will be a San Francisco versus East Bay showdown, not a crosstown clash.
University entered Riordan’s annual early-season tournament with hopes of meeting the Crusaders in the title game on Saturday night, but lost 72-52 to San Ramon Valley.
“They’re a veteran team. They’re big, they’re strong and we got in a funk for too long,” head coach Randy Bessolo said. “We came back with some fight and got back into the game, but they were just too much for us.”
A 16-6 second quarter sent University (2-1) into halftime down 37-22, and the Red Devils could never get closer than within eight points in the second half. They trailed just 54-46 with 5:03 left and appeared to catch a break when Wolves leading scorer Luke Isaak missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but fumbled the rebound out of bounds. San Ramon Valley (3-0) then fired off an 11-0 run to put the game away, capped off when Seamus Deely drove into the lane and passed to Will Ambidge for a corner-pocket three. A minute earlier, Deely passed up an open mid-range jumper to feed Jack Moxley for a 3-pointer.
“He’s big, he’s strong, he’s agile, he’s skilled,” Bessolo said of Deely, who finished with 17 points, seven assists and five rebounds. “He’s a heck of a player.”
Deely also managed to make life difficult for University star Joey Kennedy, limiting the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps commit to 10 points and nine rebounds.
“My hands were really tied with him, especially with how he can shoot,” Deely said. “It’s nice to get a good competitor like that early in the season.”
Deely shared high-scoring honors with Isaak, who single-handedly outscored the Devils 12-6 in the second quarter, a span in which University shot just 2-for-10 from the field. Ambidge’s block and stretch pass to Isaak for a transition layup stretched the lead to 31-19, forcing a University timeout, but the break did little to stop SRV’s momentum. Elliot Conley punctuated the run with a one-handed dunk, and stared Kennedy down afterwards to drive the point home.
The 6-foot-5 Deely made two 3-pointers, the latter of which put the Wolves up 54-41, and though a Luke Bradley 3-pointer cut the deficit to eight, that was the closest the Devils would get.
Bradley and Cole Boake each scored nine in the losing effort. Parker McClaughry scored 13 for SRV, Ambidge finished with nine points and nine rebounds and Moxley scored all eight of his points in the final frame to go with his eight boards.
Nathan Tshamala had an unforgettable 17th birthday, draining six 3-pointers in a four-minute span in the third quarter as Riordan advanced to a fifth straight Crusader Classic championship game.
Riordan (3-0) already held a comfortable 57-30 lead before Tshamala took over. The 6-foot-5 Congolese junior and cousin of Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga helped extend the lead to 42 by the end of the quarter. He scored a game-high 21 points, while King-Njhsanni Wilhite added 19. Jasir Rencher had 15 points and nine rebounds, while Christian Wise finished with 12 points and nine boards. Andrew Hilman scored just four points, but the freshman gathered 12 rebounds and eight assists.
Wilcox (3-2) came out swinging behind junior sharpshooter Miles Bonilla and trailed just 32-21 early in the second quarter, forcing Riordan head coach Joey Curtin to use a timeout to whip his defense into shape. Bonilla scored a team-high 18 points for the Chargers, all on 3-pointers, and Semaj Clark hit a trio of threes to score nine. The teams combined to hit 19 threes, with the visitors knocking down 10.
Mission came out on the losing end of a bizarre game of massive runs. A game that saw Tamalpais jump out to an 18-0 lead before the Bears fired back with 19 consecutive points finally swung in favor of the Red-Tailed Hawks in the fourth quarter when the Marin County side went on a 13-0 run to take a 62-51 lead.
Even after falling behind by 11 with three minutes left, the Bears weren’t done. They cut the lead to five on a Chris Floyd 3-pointer and Da’marco Reed layup before Tamalpais (1-3) landed the final blow on a Brayden King 3-pointer.
King scored 10 of his 13 points in the final period and finished with eight rebounds for a Hawks team that went 7-for-8 at the line in the final two minutes. Quinn Schaefer led Tam with 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Thomas Boyle scored 14. Nabhi Abbushi chipped in eight and Auvin Cole checked in with seven points and seven rebounds.
Floyd led the Bears with 16, while Reed and Jhaunte Helton each finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Zaden Cato had a strong all-around performance with 10 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Mission (0-2) trailed 18-0 six minutes in after a Schaefer 3-pointer, but scored the final six points of the first quarter and took a short-lived 19-18 lead on a Reed putback halfway through the second. The Bears trailed 31-24 at halftime but won the third quarter 23-15, taking their largest lead at 45-40 after a 7-0 run where Cato scored twice and Sean Coleman somehow banked in a 3-pointer from the corner.
Atherton’s battle of Valparaiso Avenue made its way to San Francisco, where Sacred Heart Prep (1-1) jumped out to a 28-point halftime lead before Menlo (0-2) got within 11 in the fourth quarter.
LJ Quattlebaum scored 16 of his game-high 22 in the first half for the Gators, who led 42-14 at the break behind a 22-7 second quarter, but Menlo won the third 25-10 behind Lucas Vogel. The Washington University in St. Louis commit scored 16 of his team-high 18 points in the quarter, and the Knights trailed just 58-47 on Will Eggemeier’s 3-pointer with 5:16 remaining before the Gators put the game away.
Sam Norris scored 21 for SHP, fueled by his 9-of-12 performance on free throws, and completed his double-double with 10 rebounds. JP Kerrigan and Erick Osterloh (6-8 FTs) each scored eight.
Eggemeier scored 10 of his 12 in the second half for the Knights, while Brooks Mead scored seven of his nine in the final two periods. Adam Karr scored all of his eight points in the second half as well.
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