The Mercury News
Clayton Valley edges Moreau in OT for another DI crown
DUBLIN >> After four quarters of heart-pounding and feverish championship basketball Saturday night that had spectators in the packed gymnasium on their feet, the two coaches — close friends and former college roommates — looked at each other and smiled.
The game needed four more minutes to be decided.
It ended with Clayton Valley Charter senior Jake King — his blonde hair soaked in perspiration — burying a go-ahead 3-pointer from the top of the arc and then finishing off Moreau Catholic with a breakaway layup as time expired.
“We never gave up,” King said.
Clayton Valley captured its second consecutive North Coast Section Division I championship by the narrowest of margins, rallying to win 82-79 at Dublin High.
Last season, Clayton Valley's Frank Allocco Jr. beat a Dougherty Valley team coached by his cousin, Mike Hansen, for the NCS Division I championship.
This time, he beat one of his best friends, Moreau's Frank Knight. They were teammates at Saint Mary's College in the late 1990s, so close that Allocco was in Knight's wedding.
“It's not fun,” said Allocco, who is in his third season at Clayton Valley. “I love Frank. I was thinking tonight that maybe next year they'll bring my dad out of retirement. Maybe play against him.”
Frank Allocco Sr., the legendary coach whose De La Salle and Northgate teams hung many banners, watched Saturday from behind the Clayton Valley bench.
When the game ended, King raced over to hug the retired coach.
Allocco Jr. said his father laid the foundation for everything they do at Clayton Valley, It took a strong foundation for the top-seeded Ugly Eagles (26-4) to survive Saturday.
Trailing 71-66 with 40.9 seconds left in regulation after Moreau's Joseph Cid made two free throws, the Ugly Eagles got what they needed — a three-point play.
James Moore drove to the hoop and made the bucket while also drawing a fifth foul on Moreau point guard Jesse Ybarra.
Moore's free throw cut the deficit to 71-69 with 32.2 seconds to go.
From there, Clayton Valley executed a frenzied halfcourt trap that led to a steal by King, who was fouled with 20.3 seconds remaining.
The normally deadly free-throw shooter made the first one but missed the second.
The Ugly Eagles still trailed 71-70.
Clayton Valley fouled Moreau star LeBrie GoudyLee with 10.3 seconds to play. The senior made the first free throw but couldn't knock down the second.
When second-seeded Moreau (23-6) was whistled for goaltending at the other end after Elijah Perryman drove to the basket, the score was tied 72-72 with 2.2 seconds to play.
“We did what we've done all year,” Allocco Jr. said. “We didn't lose focus and we kept sticking to our defensive fundamentals, and it came through.”
In overtime, Moreau held a two-point lead with 38.6 seconds left after Kellen Hampton sank two free throws.
Following a timeout, King got the ball at the top of the 33-point line and did not hesitate even with a defender closing in.
He nailed the shot with 31 seconds left that gave Clayton Valley an 80-79 lead.
Moreau turned over the ball on its next possession but got a second chance after Clayton Valley missed two free throws with 13.9 seconds to play.
Kevin Chapman's threepoint shot from the wing, which would have given Moreau the lead, didn't fall. Julian Plaza grabbed the rebound and passed the ball to King, who was already on his way to the other end.
King finished off the game with a layup.
Then came the celebration.
“I knew when we made that 3, we just needed to get one rebound and the game was over,” King said. “When I had the fastbreak, all the emotion just came to me. I just had to finish it off. We just knew that we've been down before and we could come back and win this game.”
All five starters accounted for every Clayton Valley point: King (21), Plaza (20), Perryman (19), Moore (11) and Austin Drollinger (11).
For Moreau, the loss stung.
The Mariners were aiming to add a Division I title to go with championships they've won in Division II, III and IV under Knight.
The longtime coach wondered about the foul calls against his team late in the game, given the stakes and the intensity with which both sides were playing.
Ybarra and Robert Morgan II fouled out for Moreau.
“It's one of those things,” Knight said. “You've got to be better than the other team no matter what the calls were.”
Goudy-Lee scored 23 points and Morgan had 22 to lead Moreau. The Mariners also got 17 points from Hampton.
They needed a few more. “I thought we put ourselves in a position to win it at the end,” Knight said. “It just didn't work out that way. It's one of those things where you've got to regroup and get ready for NorCal.”