Bruins fall in heartbreaker in NorCal final
Weston Ranch scores game-winning basket with 4.5 seconds left, tops St. Patrick-St. Vincent in NorCal Division II final
They say cats have nine lives. The St. Patrick-St. Vincent High boys basketball team had seven lives in the postseason.
The Bruins couldn’t figure out how to pull off No. 8.
Visiting Weston Ranch of
Stockton hit the game-winning bucket with 4.5 seconds left and senior guard Jalen Scott’s drive to the hoop fell short at the buzzer as the Bruins were eliminated 62-61 in the Northern California State Division II Championship game. No. 2-seeded St. Pat’s was trying to get back to the state title game for the second time in four seasons.
The No. 4 Cougars (24-12) advance to the Golden 1 Arena in Sacramento to play for the state championship against top-seeded St. Francis on Saturday.
“As a competitor you always show up with the mindset that you’re going to find a way to get a win,” St. Pat’s head coach Derek Walker said. “Tonight we
came up a little bit short. Like I told the boys we’ve put Sacred Heart, Maria Carrillo, St. Joe’s through this experience. We’ve put some teams out this way. (Weston Ranch) outplayed us today. They outcoached us.”
The Bruins (25-11) have handled deficits well this postseason. They were down by 14 points in the fourth quarter to San Ramon Valley in the first round of NorCals and came back to win. They rallied from an 11-point deficit in the second half to topple St. Joseph Notre Dame to win in the North Coast Section semifinals.
St. Pat’s trailed by double digits against Weston Ranch in the second half and made a late run to lead 61-60 with 15 seconds left on two Dishon Jackson foul shots. Weston Ranch did not call timeout and Gavin Wilburn found Jordahn Johnson under the basket for the go-ahead bucket with 4.5 seconds left.
“(Wilburn) just got the ball in his hands and made a play,” said Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan. “He also contested the final layup (by Scott), which was just as big of a play. If he doesn’t do that, this game is over.”
Walker gave credit to Weston Ranch on the game-winning play.
“It was a basketball play,” he said. “The kid got to the middle, dropped a nice bounce pass and the other kid finished. I mean, great offense beats great defense.”
Scott hit a game-winner by driving the lane against San Ramon Valley with 3.2 seconds left in regulation last week and the Bruins gave the ball to their senior in the final seconds again. Scott drove down the court but was met by several defenders in the lane and his shot rimmed out as the Cougars celebrated at midcourt.
“That was exactly what I wanted,” Walker said about Scott’s final drive.
Jackson led the Bruins with 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots. Junior Jaden Alexander had 17 points and five boards. Scott had seven of his nine points in the second half.
Weston Ranch guard Mison Coilton led all scorers with 21 points. Johnson had 16 points and Donjae’ Lindsey added 10 points.
The Cougars led just 14-13 after a quarter but a 12-0 run to start the second quarter put them up 26-13. Coilton hit two 3-pointers in that stretch and Walker called timeout in the middle of the run but Weston Ranch clearly had the momentum with eight steals in the period.
The Bruins finally broke their field goal drought with 2:49 left when Alexander had a steal and dunk. St. Pat’s eventually trailed 30-21 heading into the locker room.
“We just weren’t getting it done,” senior guard Izz Fifita said about the first half. “We were turning the ball over. We weren’t making good passes, they were scoring and we weren’t putting the ball in the bucket.”
St. Pat’s didn’t make up much ground in the third quarter. The Bruins got a lift with 1:52 left on a three-point play from Jackson to cut the lead to 46-39, but Coilton converted his own three-point play and Wilburn made a put-back to give his team a 51-43 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Bruins finally woke up in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter as a put-back from Alexander sparked a 10-2 spurt to close the deficit to 5453. Fifita hit two buckets in that stretch and six for the quarter to help keep St. Pat’s hopes alive.
“He’s a senior,” Walker said. “You tell the guys to empty the tank. Nothing to hold back. He went out there and made some plays. Great athlete and a good contributor to the team this year.”
Weston Ranch recovered itself after the Bruins’ rally. Wilson hit one of two at the line with 1:06 left for a 60-57 lead before Scott was fouled and made two free throws to again cut the lead to one. Jackson’s two free throws with 15 seconds left gave St. Pat’s its first lead of the game, but the Cougars came up a little bigger in the waning seconds.
Not bad for a team that began the season 0-4 and was 4-9 at one point.
“We were going through some things,” Teevan said. “We weren’t coaching well. We weren’t playing well. Internally we had to figure some things out. We did it step by step. These guys deserve everything they’ve earned.”
St. Pat’s Wilfred Nado fights for the ball with Donjae’ Lindsey of Weston Ranch Tuesday during the NorCal championship game.
St. Patrick-St. Vincent’s Dishon Jackson covers his head Tuesday as he sits with Justiz Wilson after the Bruins’ 62-61loss to Weston Ranch in the Northern California State Championship game in Division II.