SAN FRANCISCO — Sean Quanico is playing with confidence again, and that’s great news for the St. Ignatius Wildcats.
It’s also terrible news for anyone in his team’s way. The St. Francis Lancers were the victim on Wednesday night as the host Wildcats shot 9-for-12 on 3-pointers in the first half and rolled to a 77-49 win.
“We’ve been really trying to get him to rip downhill on our DHOs (dribble handoffs), and his athleticism shows,” SI head coach Jason Greenfield said of Quanico, who scored a game-high 17 points. “He’s either getting to the rim, creating for somebody outside or giving it to a big, and it makes his shot selection better too because it’s getting him easy corner threes.”
Those easy shots were open for Quanico and his teammates throughout Wednesday night’s romp. St. Ignatius (15-4, 6-3 WCAL) went 13-of-24 on threes for the game and recorded assists on 24 of 29 made baskets. Quanico hit a deep three off an Alex Rike assist to close out a 10-2 run that put the Wildcats up 33-15 early in the second and hit another to make it 38-19.
Rike scored all eight of his points in a second quarter where SI scored 29 as a team, hitting a three off a John Squire assist to give the hosts a 46-26 lead and another to send the second-ranked Wildcats into the half up 52-31.
“We were confident from our last win over St. Francis and came in with a good mentality today,” Rike said.
The Wildcats led 10-4 after an early 8-0 run and closed the first on a 10-2 surge, closing the quarter with a 23-13 lead behind Rory Kenneally’s passing. The senior forward recorded five of his seven assists in the opening eight minutes.
Quanico and GC Toledo Rivera reprised their role as SI’s splash brothers, an identity that they had taken on as juniors. Toledo Rivera finished with 13 points, all in the first half, and the duo each dished out three assists.
“If they all collapse on me when I drive, I know someone has to be open, and I’m just being aware of that,” Toledo Rivera said of his passing. “We know each other’s game and feed off each other’s movement.”
John Squire finished with 12 points and seven rebounds on his 17th birthday while Ryan Conroy, Tyler Kelly and Kenneally each scored six. Eleven different players scored for the hosts, with Felix Tomaneng-Kim draining a stepback three for a 67-39 lead early in the fourth quarter and reserve Riley Hines banking in a 3-pointer in the final minutes.
As successful as the evening was for the Wildcats, it brought a strong three-week stretch by the Lancers to a screeching halt. St. Francis (12-8, 4-6) had entered Friday with back-to-back wins and had played first-place Mitty and second-place Riordan close, losing three games to the top two teams in the league by a combined seven points.
“We didn’t practice well last night, and you play how you practice. Our last six games had been really good, and maybe we got a little satisfied with ourselves,” St. Francis head coach Mike Motil said. “We’ve been going six days a week for the last month and we’re gonna take tomorrow off, which we had already planned.”
Isaiah Kerr scored 13 for the fourth-ranked Lancers, who scored 18 in the second quarter as a team but couldn’t put anything together on the defensive side to complement the offensive prowess.
“We just didn’t defend the way we had been defending over the last three weeks,” Motil added.
Tim Netane scored eight points for St. Francis and Gavin Everett scored seven on a night where neither team’s starters played the fourth quarter. Bola Erogbogbo, whose playing time had decreased after missing the final week of December and first week of January, scored 10 of his 12 in the final quarter, including six points on putbacks.
No. 1 Mitty 63, No. 8 Sacred Heart Cathedral 56
The Sacred Heart Cathedral Fightin’ Irish were officially eliminated from playoff contention with a loss on Wednesday night, but true to the resilient form they had shown all year, they took first-place Mitty down to the wire before ultimately falling short, 63-56.
The visiting Monarchs led 56-47 after Jaiden Paran’s 19-foot jumper with 3:37 left, but Sacred Heart Cathedral (4-12, 2-8) never folded, getting 3-pointers from Jerry Mixon Jr. and Ray-John Spears before closing to within two on Eli McCarty’s putback with 31.9 left. From there, Mitty (15-4, 8-1) finished the game off at the line, getting two free throws apiece from Aidan Burke and Isaiah Cabebe and one from Derek Sangster.
Burke and Sangster paced the Monarchs in their fifth straight head-to-head win over SHC. Burke scored 24 with nine rebounds and Sangster finished with 16 points and 16 boards. Cabebe scored 15 for the Monarchs, who trailed 24-20 with 3:58 left in the second after surrendering a 17-3 run but went into halftime up 28-27 on a Tyler Jones putback. The Irish trailed just 40-39 after three Michael Manfreda free throws with 4:02 left in the third quarter, but top-ranked Mitty countered with a Sangster layup on an inbound play and 3-pointers from both Sangster and Cabebe.
After being held scoreless for the first half in Monday’s loss at Riordan, Spears came out on fire, scoring 19 of his team-high 22 before the break. Mixon finished with 12 points despite not playing the first quarter, while Manfreda and McCarty each scored nine. McCarty also gathered eight rebounds (six offensive).
No. 10 Bellarmine 52, No. 6 Serra 44
With Serra center Garret Keyhani sidelined with a hand injury, Bellarmine’s Nick Corbett went to work.
The 6-foot-5 sophomore center scored 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, leading all players in both categories, as the Bells led wire-to-wire and beat the Padres 52-44.
Corbett’s putback sent the Bells into the fourth with their first double-digit lead at 36-25, and he scored twice off Theoren Brouillette inbound passes in the final quarter, putting Bellarmine (10-8, 3-6) up by 14 both times. Half of his rebounds were on the offensive glass, and he made five of six free throws.
Brouillette’s final line reflected his selfless play, scoring just two points but dishing out six assists (three to Corbett) and pulling down eight rebounds. In all, the Bells outrebounded the visitors 39-24. Serra (13-6, 6-4) wasn’t just missing Keyhani; head coach Chuck Rapp and assistant coach Sean Dugoni were unavailable for Wednesday’s game as well. Brian Carson, who served as the interim coach when Rapp was sidelined by hip problems for the 2019-20 and 2021 seasons, served in Rapp’s place once again.
Brody Pearson scored 11 for the Bells, who connected on their first three 3-point attempts to take a quick 9-3 lead. They led by eight after a Corbett putback, went into the second with a 17-8 lead after going on a 6-0 run to close the opening quarter and led 26-18 at halftime as Brouillette scored his lone basket of the night in the final moments of the second.
Sophomore Ryan Pettis scored 10 of his 12 in the fourth quarter to lead the Padres. Brady Smith added nine.
No. 3 Riordan 66, No. 9 Valley Christian 54
Compared to his prior two games, Wednesday was a quiet night for King-Njhsanni Wilhite.
By almost anyone else’s standards, he still had an excellent game, scoring 25 as his Riordan Crusaders won 66-54 at Valley Christian.
Marcellus Edwards’ ferocious one-handed dunk put Riordan (13-6, 7-2) up by 20 late in the third quarter, though the Warriors did manage to get within nine in the final 90 seconds behind the efforts of Pasha Goodarzi, who scored 18 and gathered seven rebounds. Marcus Washington led Valley Christian (7-13, 2-8) with 19 points and fellow sophomore Tzahari Trevino scored eight, all in the second half.
Edwards, Brendan Passanisi and freshman Jasir Rencher each scored nine for the Crusaders. Rencher, making his first career start, recorded six rebounds. Wilhite hit five 3-pointers, giving him 12 in his last two games.