If Cortevious Taylor was rusty from sitting Lincoln’s first six games due to transfer rules, he shook it off quickly.
The Riordan transfer was nearly flawless after bricking an early 3-point attempt, scoring a game-high 28 points to lead the Mustangs past hot-shooting Urban in the opening round of the 26th Bambauer Classic, 82-63.
Taylor’s personal 15-3 run that bridged the end of the third quarter with the start of the fourth helped Lincoln (6-1) pull away, turning a four-point lead into a 16-point chasm. His dunk off a Quentin Kennedy steal made it 56-48, and he threw down an alley-oop from Justin Aquino, who scored 42 a week earlier in a thrilling win over University, to serve as the exclamation point.
While Taylor adds size for the Mustangs, his team largely looked like it had before he gained eligibility. Lincoln’s run-and-gun style lends itself to high-scoring games, creating a scenario where giving up 29 points in the first quarter was no cause for alarm.
Owen Brown and Kyle Neece each hit a pair of 3-pointers in a first period where Urban (8-3) simply couldn’t miss, posting 29 points in just eight minutes. Lincoln responded by outscoring the Blues 27-11 in the second quarter, taking a 43-40 lead into halftime after Taylor’s steal and lay-in.
Urban trimmed the lead to 52-48 on two of Jake Rodriguez’s 18 points when Taylor took over. Between teammates firing stretch passes, a lob play that kept working and his ability to finish in the post, Taylor scored Lincoln’s final nine points of the third quarter and first six of the fourth before a Kennedy layup.
Kennedy, like Taylor, started his high school career at Riordan. He transferred a year ago, and on Monday, he finished with 13 points. Jeremyah Aquino racked up 16 points and seven assists, while twin brother Justin totaled 11 points. Nikita Kartsev grabbed 10 rebounds, one shy of Taylor’s game-high mark on the glass. He also scored nine points.
Brown, fueled by his four first-half 3-pointers, matched Rodriguez with 18. Rodriguez had nine assists; Brown was a rebound away from a double-double. Four Blues reached double digits, with Siraj Saker scoring 12 and Neece adding 10.
University Red Devils 68, Central Catholic Raiders 44
Over the first month of the season, physical teams like Central Catholic had been a difficult matchup for University, a common theme in recent seasons.
For the Red Devils to blow past the Raiders in the second half, outscoring the Modesto power 36-16, shows that University (9-2) might have had a breakthrough.
“That’s textbook Runnin’ Red Devils basketball,” head coach Randy Bessolo said. “We played 12 guys in the first half, and that set the table for the third quarter.”
Central Catholic (5-4) trailed just 32-28 at halftime, riding big second quarters from Malachi Miller and Wesley Payne, but the Devils ratcheted up the pressure to open the third quarter. Cole Boake’s 3-pointer capped off a 19-6 run to open the second half, a surge that could have been even stronger had University been able to make a free throw. The Red Devils were 0-for-5 from the line during that span and made just five of their 16 foul shots for the game.
What Bessolo’s players lacked in solid free-throw shooting, they made up for in balanced scoring. All five starters reached double figures, led by Will Perkins’ 15 points. Boake finished with 13, while Luke Bradley, Joey Kennedy and Gus Parsons each finished with 11. Perkins also dished out six assists, while Bradley collected a team-high eight rebounds. Despite hitting 15 3-pointers and largely living on the perimeter, University was only outrebounded by one, 38-37.
“The rebounding starts with Joey, but it’s got to be by committee. We’ve got some length, and it translates to rebounds.”
Payne scored a game-high 21 for the Raiders, and he secured 12 rebounds to round out a double-double. Miller scored 13.
St. Ignatius Wildcats 74, Heritage Patriots 30
St. Ignatius had no trouble with a Heritage program currently in the midst of a rebuilding year, opening up a 38-12 halftime lead despite turning the ball over 15 times in the first two quarters.
Thirteen different players scored for the Wildcats, led by Pepperdine commit John Squire’s 13 points and seven rebounds. St. Ignatius (5-2) also got 12 points from freshman Raymond Whitley and nine from Davis Wong, while Marcus Bast registered six points and six assists.
Teyo Campbell led Heritage (4-8) with nine points. Daionni Marshall, Dominic Mills and Jordan Ratchford each checked in with six apiece, and Marshall collected a game-high eight rebounds.
Serra Padres 70, St. Joseph Notre Dame Pilots 37
Like rival St. Ignatius, Serra cruised against a program that’s typically a serious North Coast Section (NCS) contender, but is currently restocking the shelves.
The Padres outscored the Pilots 18-5 in the second quarter to take a 29-12 halftime advantage, That gap widened with a 27-11 third quarter, and all 16 players who suited up for Serra (5-2) got in the game, with 15 registering points. Sophomore Mikey Ballout led all scorers with 13, while junior point guard Ryan Pettis dropped in 12, including a fastbreak dunk in the third quarter.
Jai Joshi led St. Joseph Notre Dame (4-4) with nine points.
Marin Catholic Wildcats 67, Huntington Park Spartans 44
Between replacing an excellent senior class and waiting for football players to round out the roster, it’s been a rocky start to the season for the Bambauer Classic hosts, but Marin Catholic (3-6) played a strong second half to round out Monday’s action with a win over a foe from the Los Angeles City Section.
The Wildcats held a 26-15 lead after winning the second quarter 14-6, then pulled away by replicating that first-half score within the third quarter. JR Bosch, a defensive back and wide receiver for Marin Catholic’s football team, scored 13 points, while Charles Williams, a running back and defensive back who holds a gridiron scholarship offer from Oregon State, finished with 12 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Six-foot-seven center Rene Ponce scored a game-high 19 points for Huntington Park (4-4), and Joshua Cruz chipped in 12. Ponce also led all participants with seven rebounds.
Miramonte Matadors 64, Mills Vikings 35
A Matadors team that stumbled out of the gate to a 2-5 start, including a ghastly 51-point loss to University, is starting to round into form.
Monday’s 64-35 win over Mills in the first round of the 26th Bambauer Classic was Miramonte’s third victory in a row, fueled by Chase Miller’s massive first half.
The Matadors took a 33-13 lead into the locker room, with Miller scoring all 21 of his points in the first two quarters. Miramonte (5-5) also got 10 points from Preston Rguem, while Charlie Haas finished with eight points and five assists. Matt Bakonyvari scored all eight of his points in the second half for the Matadors.
Mills (5-4) played without two starters, but got eight points apiece from Donovan Lofton-McGlaun, Jonathan Shim and sophomore Jefriel Bacorro.
Folsom Bulldogs 60, Montgomery Vikings 58
Folsom (10-1) used an 8-0 fourth quarter run to stave off upset-minded Montgomery (7-4) and set up a quarterfinal matchup with St. Ignatius at the 26th Bambauer Classic.
The Bulldogs trailed 53-49 before tying the game on a Mitchell Rawlins putback, and Justin Ard’s drive from the elbow gave Folsom the lead. Ard followed with a steal to set up a Chase Rawlins contested layup in transition, and the Sac-Joaquin Section (SJS) side held on despite missing three of four free throws in the final minute.
Izeyah Wright’s putback with five seconds left cut the Bulldog advantage to two, but a perfect out-of-bounds play killed off all but the final 0.4 seconds. David Young’s free throw didn’t matter, as Montgomery only had time for a full-court heave that missed the rim.
Young scored a game-high 18 points for the Bulldogs, while freshman Myles Jones scored 11, all coming in a second quarter where Folsom outscored the Vikings 21-16. Wright finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Donovan Hawkins scored a team-high 17 for the Santa Rosa side. Will Grafe scored 13 and Bobby McGovern added eight, while Caden DeVries finished with six points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Ethan Kassel can be reached at [email protected]