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

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By Matt O'Don­nell mod­on­[email protected]­al­don­line.com @mod­onel­lvth on Twit­ter

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.”

CHRIS RI­LEY — TIMES-HER­ALD

St. Pat’s Wil­fred Nado fights for the ball with Don­jae’ Lind­sey of We­ston Ranch Tues­day dur­ing the NorCal cham­pi­onship game.

CHRIS RI­LEY — TIMES-HER­ALD

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.

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