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See Riordan’s Buzzer-Beater Victory over Rival Serra

Written by Nathan Porter, Ethan KasselPublished Jan. 11, 2023 • 2:30pm
Riordan guard Achilles Woodson drives to the basket during the first quarter of a West Catholic Athletic League basketball game against Serra in San Francisco on Jan. 10, 2023. | Courtesy Ryan Garcia/Riordan Athletics

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In a basketball game that was likened to a boxing match, Riordan senior Achilles Woodson landed the final blow.

Woodson’s contested fadeaway at the buzzer bounced off the rim before falling through, giving the Crusaders a 44-42 win over the Serra Padres to stay perfect in West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) play.

Serra (7-5, 0-2 WCAL) had tied the game at 42 on sophomore Mikey Ballout’s 3-pointer with 27.4 seconds left. Riordan (10-2, 3-0) called a timeout with 16.3 on the clock, and Woodson, who’s started at point guard since King-Njhsanni Wilhite left for a Las Vegas prep program, drove to the right and delivered the winning shot.

“He had one read on that side,” head coach Joey Curtin said of the play. “If it was there, he was gonna give it up, and if it wasn’t, he was gonna keep it. I’m glad he kept it.”

It’s Woodson’s second buzzer-beater with Riordan. Last year, he closed the regular season with a game-winning 3-pointer at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

“I knew it was my time,” said Woodson, who scored a team-high 13 points. “Last year, I had a couple game winners. We were trying to run a play for Kaia (Berridge), get him off the pick-and-roll or a double screen. He didn’t have it, so I knew I had to go inside and make something up.”

Berridge, who hails from New Zealand, nearly blew the roof off the Crusader forum with an enormous dunk in the third quarter.

Riordan guard Kaia Berridge (10) dunks during the third quarter of a West Catholic Athletic League basketball game against Serra in San Francisco on Jan. 10, 2023. | Courtesy Ryan Garcia

The Crusaders entered the game averaging 68.8 points per game, but were largely held in check by a physical Padres team.

“We had to take some boxing classes, ‘cause they like to fight out there,” center Christian Wise joked. “We just made sure we were grabbing a lot of rebounds in practice, making sure we knew how to cover their switches and back doors. We had to be physical, and we had to make the easy buckets.”

Riordan led 22-13 at halftime before Aidan Carleson and point guard Ryan Pettis caught fire for Serra (7-5, 0-2). Carleson scored the first five points of the third quarter, and Pettis scored the next eight for the visitors as the Padres outscored the Crusaders 13-6 over the eight-minute span.

Riordan forward Jasir Rencher (4) dunks during the fourth quarter of a West Catholic Athletic League basketball game against Serra in San Francisco on Jan. 10, 2023. | Courtesy Ryan Garcia

Serra then took a 34-30 lead with an 8-0 run, capped off with back-to-back threes by Pettis and Marcel Elicagaray. Another Elicagaray 3-pointer with 2:53 left gave the Padres a 39-36 lead, but Riordan pulled ahead on a Jasir Rencher dunk with 1:51 left.

Pettis scored 13 to lead Serra, but fouled out with 2:31 remaining. Carleson finished with eight. Freshman Andrew Hilman scored 10 for Riordan.

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