Bruins slam Hercules in quarters of playoffs
Alexander, Jackson, Contreras propel St. Patrick-St. Vincent to win over Hercules
The section semifinals seem like a rite of passage for St. Patrick-St. Vincent High boys basketball players.
The No. 2-seeded Bruins advanced to that stage again after blowing away No. 7 Hercules 78-45 on Friday in the North Coast Section Division III quarterfinals at the Bruin’s Lair. The win also guarantees St. Pat’s it will make the Northern California State Playoffs.
The frantic and rough pace by the Titans never seemed to bother the Bruins.
“We try to practice pretty physical and Hercules was a physical and athletic team,” Bruins head coach Derek Walker said. “It’s the playoffs and they have nothing to lose so why not lay it all on the line and be extra aggressive and physical? I think it worked for a while. Once we settled down, we had to pick our spots.”
The Titans had no answer for St. Pat’s junior Jaden Alexander, who finished with a game-high 24 points, including a breakaway dunk in the fourth quarter. Senior center Dishon Jackson, who stands 6-foot-11, added 14 of his 16 points in the second half and added three dunks, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Walker gave some credit to Hercules for holding Jackson to two points in the first half.
“No. 35 (Price Amajoyi) was being really physical on defense and he made things kind of difficult for D.J.,” Walker said. “In the second half, I’m glad he responded though.”
St. Pat’s (20-10) led practically from start to finish even though Hercules stayed within
striking distance in the first half.
A three-point play from John Robinson cut the Bruins’ early lead to 7-5, but Esai Contreras responded with three straight buckets to up the lead to 13-5 and force the Titans to call timeout. Contreras finished with 10 of his 12 points in the first half to help complement Alexander, who had seven points in the first quarter, as the Bruins led 20-7 after a period.
The Bruins scored six of the first eight points in the second quarter to increase the lead to 26-9. Izz Fifita, who had eight points, had two buckets in that spurt.
The Titans (22-8) did whittle the lead down to 13 points again by the end of the half as Ajani Monroe hit an inside shot with 33 seconds left. The Bruins settled for the 34-21 lead heading into the locker room.
The two teams each scored 14 in the second quarter and Contreras noted that was talked about at halftime.
“We knew going into the half that we gave up too many points,” he said. “We were still beating them by a lot but we still shouldn’t be allowing that many points.”
That minor issue was quickly solved in the third quarter as a 12-6 spurt extended the lead to 46-27. Alexander had six points in the run. The Bruins eventually led by 20 points at 51-31 after a three-point play from Alexander. St. Pat’s led comfortably at 55-31 after three and Walker emptied the bench in the fourth quarter.
St. Pat’s has two blowout wins in the playoffs without point guard Jalen Scott, who sat out his second straight game with an injury. Walker wasn’t sure when he would be back.
The road gets much tougher from here though. On Tuesday, the Bruins will host rival and No. 3 seed St. Joseph Notre Dame, a 5840 win over Drake. On the other side of the bracket, top-seeded Branson and No. 5 Miramonte face off in the other semifinal.
“The first two games are usually kind of different but the last two you really have to earn it and buckle down,” Walker said. “We told the kids that they’re probably not going to win by 30 on Tuesday so we have to do what we have to do to get ready for that.”
St. Patrick-St. Vincent’s Dishon Jackson slams down a dunk for two of his 16points in Friday’s 78-41win over Hercules in the playoffs.
St. Patrick-St. Vincent’s Jaden Alexander elevates to the hoop for a dunk for two of his 24points in Friday’s 78-41win over Hercules in the playoffs.