St. Bernard High School is proving that it is a very good basketball school after its boys and girls swept Southern California Division V championships last Saturday at Colony High in Ontario and will be vying to do the same in the California State Division V Championships on Friday at the New Balance Arena in Sacramento.
St. Bernard’s boys defeated Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, 61-59, on a buzzer beater by Thurman Thomas.
The Lady Vikings avenged their CIF-Southern Section Division VAA loss to Oxnard Santa Clara with a 60-45 victory.
St. Bernard’s boys overcame an eight-point deficit with just over three minutes left in the game and pulled it out as Thomas rebounded a missed shot and scored on a 10-foot floater right before the buzzer.
Thomas led the Vikings with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Daniel Cordoba added 13 points.
Sophomore Brandon Randolph contributed nine points and eight rebounds, while Emani Gant chipped in nine points.
St. Bernard, which is in the state final for the first time since 2000, will face St. Joseph-Notre Dame, which defeated San Francisco University High 61-43 in the Northern California Division V final, Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the New Balance Pavilion in Sacramento.
On the girls side, the Vikings played solid defense and had good clutch plays in downing the Saints.
St. Bernard was able to hold down Santa Clara’s leading scorer, Cynthia Hernandez, very well. Hernandez, who had 23 points, in her team’s 52-49 win over the Vikings on March 5 at Santa Ana Mater Dei High, was held to only 14.
Leading St. Bernard was 6-foot-3 forward Kacy Swain with 15 points, six rebounds and two steals. Six-foot-2 freshman forward Lajahna Drummer had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Destini French tallied 10 points and six rebounds. Chayanne Butler put in 11 points.
The Lady Vikings will be seeking their first state title since 1998, when they won the Division IV crown as they face Pinewood for the Division V title at the New Balance Pavilion Friday at 3:30 p.m.
It is the second time in St. Bernard history that both its boys and girls squads advanced to the state final. They did it in 2000 but both teams lost.
Serra was on the other side in last Saturday’s Southern California Division III girls final at the University of Southern California Galen Center.
The Lady Cavaliers won the Southern Section Division IIIAA championship over Santa Maria St. Joseph, 66-58, on March 5 at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena, but the Knights were able to turn that around in the regional game.
St. Joseph surged out to a 33-15 lead early in the third quarter and held on for a 54-45 victory, ending Serra’s season at 29-6.
Entering last Saturday’s showdown, the Cavaliers were seeking not only their first ever California state championship since the one-time all-boys Catholic school first admitted girls in fall of 1991, but the first ever team title for any Serra High girls sports.
A poor first half, particularly in the second quarter where the Saints outscored the Cavaliers 18-3, ended that dream.
With 2:49 remaining in the game, a basket by senior guard Bria Richardson, got Serra within three points at 46-43, but Alyson Bebee (ranked one of the top high school junior players in the United States) came back with a basket and Heather Madrigal added two free throws with 1:09 to go to give St. Joseph a seven-point lead.
The Saints put the game away, leading by as many as 11 with six seconds remaining.
Richardson, a four-year starter and already a two-time all-CIF player, played her last game and led the Cavaliers with 15 points and six rebounds. Six-foot-2 junior center Rejane Verin totaled eight points and eight rebounds, and Nicole Collins had seven points and six rebounds.
Beebe led St. Joseph with 17 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and four blocked shots. Madrigal added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Kelsi English finished with 11 points.