Wong’s late 3-pointer wins game for Lowell 

Ten minutes after the biggest shot of his life, Jordan Wong was still searching for the right words to describe it. The Lowell senior guard had just buried a 3-pointer with 10.3 seconds remaining in a San Francisco Section boys’ basketball semifinal against Wallenberg, the winning shot in the Cardinals’ thrilling 41-39 victory Wednesday at Kezar Pavilion.

Eventually, he settled on a smile.

"I can’t describe it," Wong said. "I mean, it was pure adrenaline, incredible. There’s nothing I can say to explain how good that felt."

With the win, Lowell (27-4) clinches a spot in the NorCal playoffs and advances to play Mission in the section final Friday at 7p.m. back at Kezar.

Wong’s 3-pointer was the final momentum shift in a game that featured eight ties and five lead changes. Wallenberg (22-8) had just regained the lead from an unlikely source, as reserve guard Travis Resendiz made his first 3-pointer of the season with 59 seconds remaining to put the team ahead 39-38.

The Bulldogs had led 36-30 with 2:30 left, only to see the Cardinals go on an 8-0 run sparked by the clutch play of Travis Hom and Arthur Jones. Hom scored Lowell’s first 11 points of the second half, including a driving layup to make it 36-32. Jones then scored six points in 6 seconds, nailing a 3-pointer with 1:21 left and stealing the ensuing inbounds pass and converting a three-point play to give Lowell a 38-36 advantage. Hom finished with a game-high 16 points, while Jones chipped in 13.

"I don’t feel any nerves out there," Hom said. "I always want the ball in big situations and as a team we always feel confident we can pull things out."

Wallenberg had a chance to tie at the end, but could not get off a clean shot. Chibuzo Emeka led Wallenberg with 10 points and the Bulldogs outrebounded Lowell 30-13, ending a season in which it set the school record for victories.

"It’s the hardest speech in the world to give when it’s over," Wallenberg coach Patrick Mulligan said. "I know they’ll be at the gym tomorrow asking me when practice is. They put so much of themselves into it, and they had a wonderful year, the best in school history."

Mission 84, Lincoln 76

Demaree Hampton sprinted to the Mission bench with his right index finger in the air to join his teammates in celebration.

After an up-and-down year, the Cinderella Bears are finally hitting their stride.

Hampton had 19 points as Mission (14-11) earned its second straight postseason upset win, knocking off Lincoln in a section semifinal at Kezar Pavilion. The Bears beat favored International Studies Academy in the quarterfinals and will try for one more surprise in Friday’s 7 p.m. final against Lowell, back at Kezar.

"We’ve been waiting all year for this," Hampton said. "We knew if we could limit our mistakes and just play our style we could do it."

The Bears trailed by 11 points early on, but finished the third quarter on a 15-4 run to earn a double-digit lead they would not relinquish until the final moments. Hampton was joined in double figures by Ronell Foster (15 points, 11 rebounds), Harry Howard (15 points) and Darnell Hadley-Garrett (13). Just eight days ago, Mission committed 33 turnovers in a 74-64 loss to the Mustangs, but this time forced as many turnovers (18) as it made.

Kevin Robinson had 24 points to lead Lincoln (21-12), while Aaron Hall added 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

— Matt Elliser


CCS DIVISION III

Riordan 44, Cupertino 28

Riordan will face rival St. Ignatius in Saturday’s 4 p.m. final at Santa Clara University.

The Crusaders were unable to break away from Cupertino in the first half, leading just 21-20 at halftime despite eight points and seven rebounds from Jones.

After the break, Riordan clamped down defensively and Cannon sparked an 11-0 run with a couple of key plays in the third quarter.

With Riordan struggling to score and leading just 24-22, Cannon came up with a steal in the backcourt and sped in for a breakaway left-handed layup. On the Crusaders’ next possession, the junior point guard, inbounding underneath his own basket, bounced a pass of a defenders’ back and retrieved the ball for a reverse layin.

Leading 28-22, Riordan would score seven straight points to go up 35-22 and the Crusaders would not lead by less than 13 for the rest of the game.

"I didn’t have a real good first half," Cannon said. "I wanted to come out in the second half and play with energy and get my teammates going."

— Will Reisman

St. Ignatius 52, Burlingame 45

Third-seeded Burlingame (19-9) ended the first half on a 12-6 run to take a 23-20 lead on a 3-pointer from Mitchell Edwards (24 points, six 3-pointers) with 3 seconds left to play in the second quarter.

Undaunted by the Burlingame run, SI staged a 10-2 run to open the third quarter, getting four points each from Brown and Bull and three from Toboni during the spurt. For the quarter, the Wildcats outscored Burlingame 15-4 to head into the final period up 35-27.

Despite four 3-pointers from Edwards, SI was able to hold on down the stretch, thanks in large part to 12-of-14 effort from the foul line.

"We came out after halftime and applied more cerebral pressure," Wildcats coach Tim Reardon said. "We were kind of flying all over the place in the first half, and we came out more composed in the second half, and executed better on offense and defense."

— Will Reisman


GIRLS CCS -DIVISION III

Sacred Heart Cathedral 73, Notre Dame 38

Lauren Bell chipped in with 13 points for the Irish.

Notre Dame stayed close for most of the game, coming within seven points midway through the third quarter. This was Sacred Heart’s wakeup call. Jackson and sophomore Ashley Boggs began taking turns hitting threes and the Irish quickly opened up a 20-point lead.

— Larry Rosen

St. Ignatius 74, Burlingame 47

Maggie McCarthy, Rachel Hatch and Nicole Canepa joined Schivo in double figures, scoring 15, 13 and 12, respectively.

"We’re not happy just getting to the finals," Mulkerrins said of their impending clash with Sacred Heart Cathedral. "We want to win it."

Sacred Heart Cathedral has defeated SI twice already this year, once in overtime.

The Wildcats are eager for the rematch. Said Mulkerrins, simply: "We’re ready."

— Larry Rosen


NCS DIVISION V

Branson 51, Gateway 34

Dominique Hunter and Alyson Szeto both scored 10 points for Gateway, which trailed just 21-17 against the two-time defending section champ.

Tough defense and sharp outside shooting kept the Gators in the game until the Bulls exploded in the third quarter. Branson outscored Gateway 18-6 in the third quarter and all but shut down the Gators’ offense. Bilney opened the quarter with five consecutive rebounds, getting eight of her game-high 13 boards in the period. Bilney also led both teams in assists (four).

"[Branson is] an extremely well-coached team," Gateway coach Michael Coffino said. "Their height hurt us in the guard position. Our girls had a lot of difficulty finding the passing lane."

— Amanda Stupi

Rincon Valley Christian 56, University 39

Eve King scored 17 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to lead No. 11 University (17-14), which had claimed three consecutive games in the Bay Counties League West tournament to reach the NCS playoffs and followed that up with two upsets in the section tournament. The Red Devils trailed by just five points at the half before powerful Rincon Valley Christian turned up the defense in the third quarter.

"I’m very proud of the girls for what they accomplished, especially from where we were," University coach Marvin Lui said. "It was a pleasure to coach them."

— Staff report

SANTA ROSA — Carrie Higgenbottom scored 19 points as the second-seeded Eagles (29-2) ended the Red Devils’ surprising postseason run in the semifinals.Sam Bilney scored 17 points as the top-seeded Bulls (28-3) beat the fourth-seeded Gators (27-3) in the semifinals.Belmont — Addie Schivo scored 16 points and the Wildcats (22-7) played what coach Mike Mulkerrins called his their "best effort this year" in beating the Panthers (23-8) in the semifinal game.Belmont — Jazmine Jackson hit four 3-pointers, including three in the third quarter, en route to a game-high 23 points as the defending state champion Irish (27-2) defeated the Tigers (11-19). Sacred Heart Cathedral advances to the CCS Division III final against West Catholic Athletic League rival St. Ignatius on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Santa Clara University.Victor Bull scored 16 points, Paul Toboni chipped in with 11 and Alex Brown added 10 to help the second-seeded Wildcats (22-7) reach the CCS Division III final. Rob Jones scored 16 points and pulled down 16 rebounds, Daniel Cannon added 12 points and five assists and the top-seeded Crusaders (28-3) held the Pioneers (23-7) to just eight second-half points in advancing to the section final.

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