St. Ignatius boys and girls blaze different paths in pursuit of their state title dreams


Four San Francisco big-school basketball teams hit the road Saturday night in hopes of keeping their state title dreams alive. Only half of them did, and both wore the red and blue of St. Ignatius.

The third-seeded Wildcats boys and girls teams, each led by a second-year coach, hit the road against top seeds to earn two points in the California Interscholastic Federation Northern California Regional Semifinals , although in a completely different way.

The St. Ignatius boys quickly took a double-digit lead, thanks in large part to the efforts of 6-foot-6 pole John Squire (25 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks), then held on for a victory of 69-67 at second-seeded Inderkum-Sacramento (28-3). The Wildcats (23-7) will host No. 13 seed Clovis North (21-11), a 64-58 winner over No. 1 seed Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton, in Tuesday’s NorCal Finals at 6 p.m.

“We had just enough gas to pull it out,” SI coach Jason Greenfield said. “We played really well against a ridiculously talented team and then we held on.”

In contrast, the SI Girls trailed 24-10 at halftime but regrouped in a big way, beating second-seeded St. Mary’s-Stockton 38-22 in the second half to win 48- 46 behind 14 points from Claire Untalan and a winning bucket from the 6-foot post Soon Ja Elzey.

“We got hit early, we fell apart a bit, but we did everything we needed in the second half,” St. Ignatius coach Maya Fok said. “The determination, especially from our seven seniors, was incredible. They overturned everything. »

St. Ignatius (21-6) is targeting his first regional title Tuesday at 8 p.m. at San Rafael Dominican University against top seed Salesian-Richmond (19-5), a 64-37 winner over Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland .

• Riordan (20-9) couldn’t get over the loss of point guard Quinton Bundage, out with a medical issue, or more specifically, the overall play of top-ranked Campolindo-Moraga, who took the 62-44 win in Boys Open Division Game. Senior props Aidan Mahaney and Cade Bennett had 24 and 17 points respectively, leading the hosts Cougars (28-1) to their 22nd straight win and 47th of 48.

The Crusaders, with road wins over Mitty in the Central Coast Section Finals and De La Salle-Concord to open the NorCals, simply ran out of gas. King-Njhsanni Wilhite, averaging nearly 30 playoff points, was limited to 13. The Cougars host Modesto Christian (28-5) in Tuesday’s Finals.

“Mahaney and Bennett have been phenomenal,” Riordan coach Joey Curtin said. “We had to play an ‘A’ game to beat them and it just didn’t happen. They seemed fresh. We had an incredible season. »

• The Lincoln boys also had an incredible season, and Saturday was no different. But ultimately, the Mustangs (22-4) also ran out of juice in a 63-51 overtime loss to top seed Pleasant Valley-Chico (30-3) despite 16 points from Jeremyah Aquino and a total of 18 from his brothers Justin and Jordan Aquino.

In front of a packed house in Chico, the Mustangs led for much of the second half over the bigger Vikings, who won two previous regional games by a total of 73 points and gave up just two points in overtime. . A hotly contested 17-footer by Justin Aquino at the buzzer sent the game into overtime.

The Mustangs played overtime — and the final three minutes of regulation time — without Jeremyah Aquino due to severe leg cramps. Jordan Aquino was fouled in overtime.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more from our guys or the load of fan buses that made the long trip,” Lincoln coach Carl Jacobs said. “It was a great environment. Even better game. We fought. We never gave in. If we had our closer, we might still be playing. No excuses. We have 11 guys coming back next year so they haven’t heard the last of us.

Open Girls: Noémie Bariteau had 17 points and Morgan Cheli added 15 points and nine rebounds as No. 2 seed Mitty (29-1) won 53-45 over Clovis West. The Monarchs will face Carondelet-Concord (26-2), seeded 63-42 against Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills, on Tuesday. Nya Epps had 17 points and Talana Lepolo 16 for Carondelet.

More games: Fourteen Metro teams have qualified for Tuesday’s league games. Tuesday’s NorCal title winners will face the Southern California champions Friday and Saturday at the Golden 1 Center to determine the state titles. … Two other San Francisco teams advanced to Division 5, the Stuart Hall Boys (20-12), who beat second seed Head-Royce-Oakland 50-33, and the University Girls ( 17-9), a 56-51 winner over Trinity-Weaverville. Isabella Perez had 28 points for University, which hosts San Domenico-San Anselmo (22-11), a 57-51 winner over Crystal Springs Uplands-Hillsborough (12-12), on Tuesday. … On Saturday, Jackson Jung and Brandon Lum scored in double figures for Stuart Hall, who host Woodside Priory-Portola Valley (19-11), a 64-50 winner over top seed Cloverdale.

MaxPreps lead writer Mitch Stephens covers high school sports for The San Francisco Chronicle.


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