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High school sports recap: Lincoln’s state championship opponent set

Lincoln running back Ricky Underwood (2) carries the ball during the first quarter of the Mustangs' 44-7 win over Balboa in the 98th Turkey Day Game, the Academic Athletic Association football championship, at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco on Nov. 24, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Football season is coming to a close while basketball is heating up. It’s a chaotic time of year, but The Standard has a handle on everything that’s been transpiring across the Bay Area.

Lincoln found its state championship opponent on Saturday after Crenshaw beat Whittier Christian 48-7 in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern California Division 7-A Championship. The Cougars, out of the Los Angeles City Section, started the season 1-6 but have now won six of their last seven. The Mustangs will host Crenshaw at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Kezar Stadium.

Other state championship matchups are headlined by the Serra-St. John Bosco showdown in the Open Division and Friday night’s Division 1-AA battle between De La Salle and Lincoln-San Diego. De La Salle held off Folsom in last Friday's Northern California championship. The top five state championship divisions will be played at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo; Northern California representatives are Serra, De La Salle, Pittsburg, McClymonds and San Ramon Valley.

The other 10 games, including Lincoln’s 7-A bout, will be hosted by the Northern representatives. Bellarmine, who beat St. Ignatius in the Central Coast Section (CCS) Division II Championship Game, ending the Wildcats’ season, will host the 3-A championship on Saturday night at San Jose City College against Laguna Hills. The Bells beat Vanden, 35-21, to win the Northern California Division 3-A title, a game they led 35-3.

Barry McLaughlin and Mike Hill’s bid for a second straight state championship fell short when their Menlo Knights lost to San Marin in the Northern California 4-A Championship, 29-21. McLaughlin was the head coach for Sacred Heart Cathedral’s 2021 championship run, while Hill was his offensive coordinator. Hill is now OC at Menlo, while McLaughlin is the offensive line coach.

Riordan forward Jasir Rencher (4) attempts a 3-pointer during the third quarter of the Crusaders' 69-63 win over San Ramon Valley in a non-league basketball game in San Francisco on Dec. 3, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

In basketball, Riordan won the championship game of its own tournament, the 63rd Crusader Classic, 69-63 over San Ramon Valley. A night earlier, the Wolves beat University 72-52 in a semifinal game. Later that night, Riordan beat Wilcox 90-39, with Nathan Tshamala draining six 3-pointers in a row during the third quarter. Tshamala, the cousin of Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga, was celebrating his 17th birthday that day.

The Crusaders will play in the prestigious Gridley Invitational this week, and will open the tournament against the host Bulldogs on Thursday night. Riordan will face either Campolindo or Branson on Friday night. Clovis North, Dublin, Oakland Tech and Salesian sit on the other side of the bracket.

University beat Piedmont 85-74 on Tuesday night, turning a five-point halftime lead into a 24-point chasm before emptying the bench. All five Red Devils starters scored at least 13 points, with Cole Boake tallying 20. Gus Parsons finished with 18, while Joey Kennedy had 16 points and eight rebounds. AJ Harris led the visiting Highlanders with 42 points on 14-of-22 shooting. Harris is committed to Division III Emory, where he will join University alum Max Fried.

The Devils have a quick turnaround with a Wednesday trip to Sacred Heart Cathedral (2-0). The Fightin’ Irish beat International on Tuesday, 74-44. RL Miller led SHC with 15 points and nine steals, while Michael Manfreda posted a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

St. Ignatius guard Caeden Hutcherson (1) shoots a 3-pointer during the first quarter of the Wildcats' 71-50 loss to Sacred Heart Prep in a non-league basketball game in San Francisco on Dec. 5, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

St. Ignatius (2-1) visits Northgate (1-4) tonight. The Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season on Monday, a 71-50 pummeling at the hands of Sacred Heart Prep. A 25-5 second quarter sent SI into the locker room down 37-12.

A year after a disappointing 9-16 season, Sacred Heart Cathedral’s girls basketball team has roared to a 6-0 start under second-year head coach Demetrius Jackson. The Fightin’ Irish won the LadyCat Classic at Marin Catholic, posting 10-point wins over San Ramon Valley and Acalanes before beating Central-Fresno 62-54 in the championship game. The Grizzlies had reached the final by defeating St. Ignatius and the tournament hosts. SHC followed that up on Tuesday night with a 70-5 thrashing of Fremont-Oakland. SI finished the LadyCat Classic in sixth, beating Mission Prep-San Luis Obispo but falling to San Ramon Valley.

Riordan’s girls look ready to enter the West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) after beating Valley Christian on Tuesday night, 50-39. Ashanti Dias led the Crusaders with 20 points. While Riordan’s boys programs are in the WCAL, the school’s newly formed girls programs currently play independent schedules.