The Score: St. Patrick/St. Vincent 49, Sacred Heart Prep 48.
The Star: St. Patrick/St. Vincent High’s Robbie Herndon nailed a game-winning basket in the final seconds to hand host Sacred Heart Prep a heartbreaking loss in the second round of the California Interscholastic Federation Division IV playoffs. The senior guard scored nine of his game-high 17 points in the final seven minutes as he engineered a comeback from a seven-point deficit in that span on Thursday night.
The Turning Point: The final 30 seconds. Sacred Heart Prep, which had led since the 5:23 mark of the second quarter, saw St. Patrick/St. Vincent of Vallejo (26-8) pull to within 48-47 when J.R. Davis hit a layup with 28 seconds left. The Gators (25-3) had a chance to add to their lead when Colin Terndrup was fouled on the ensuing inbounds pass and headed to the free-throw line for a 1-and-1. But the senior guard missed his attempt and St. Patrick/St. Vincent’s Danny Souza hauled in the rebound and got the ball to Herndon. At the other end of the court, Herndon drove and released a runner in the lane that rolled in to give his team a 49-48 lead with just over eight seconds left. SHP didn’t call timeout and instead quickly advanced the ball to Reed McConnell, who fired a 3-pointer from several feet beyond the arc on the right wing. But the shot missed to the left, and the Gators couldn’t manage to get off another shot before the final buzzer sounded.
The Quote: “It was so tough. I was in disbelief really for the first few minutes. … It was really just disbelief. I thought we had it.” – Sacred Heart Prep senior Reed McConnell, on the emotions of seeing his high school career end in a dramatic finish.
What’s Next? The Gators’ season is finished.
The Bottom Line: Sacred Heart Prep’s fantastic season came to an abrupt end in the Gators’ first game in the CIF Division IV playoffs. SHP, which won last week, had high hopes of a deep run in the state playoffs after taking a 21-game win streak into Thursday’s second-round game. … St. Patrick/St. Vincent – a member of the Bay Shore League, which also boasts small-school powerhouses St. Mary’s (Berkeley), St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) and Salesian (Richmond) -- has plenty of experience in tight games, and it showed. … SHP took a 48-41 lead when Cal Baloff hit a 3-pointer with 3:31 remaining, but the Gators never scored again. Meanwhile, St. Patrick/St. Vincent overcame a three-point deficit in the final 30 seconds to eliminate SHP on the Gators’ court for the second straight year. “We knew Sacred Heart had never really been in this type of situation. They’re used to winning by double digits,” Herndon said. “We’re used to it. We like this type of situation.” … SHP’s defense, a laid-back press that rolled into a 2-3 zone, kept the visitors in check well into the third quarter. (The Gators took their largest lead at 36-25 on a Terndrup layup with 56 seconds left in the third period.) But St. Patrick/St. Vincent started to navigate better down the stretch with more aggressive drives. The visitors went to the line nine times in the fourth quarter, making seven. … Despite being dwarfed by SHP (the 6-foot-3 Herndon was the only regular taller than 6-0), St. Patrick/St. Vincent enjoyed a huge advantage in free throws, making 16-of-26. SHP was just 4-of-7. … St. Patrick/St. Vincent coach Derek Walker said he graduated six players – each taller than 6-3 – from the team that blasted SHP 65-48 last year. “We’ve never been taller than anybody all season,” Walker said. “(But) we’re scorers. We’re strong. We play together. We play hard.” … The Gators were held below 50 points for just the third time all season, and the first since a 52-48 loss to St. Mary’s on Dec. 18 – their last defeat. No SHP player scored in double digits. … Reed McConnell wore jerseys with three different numbers during the game. The senior suffered a bad cut above his left eye when he collided with an opposing player when diving for a loose ball late in the third quarter. McConnell left the game for about two minutes, and returned wearing the No. 24 jersey (his No. 10 had blood on it). When the cut reopened in the final minutes, reserve Duke Moran gave McConnell his No. 40 jersey to complete the game. McConnell said he was headed to the emergency room for stitches afterwards. ... St. Patrick/St. Vincent advances to meet St. Mary’s, the 2010 Northern California champion, in the regional semifinals on Saturday. … Despite qualifying for the state playoffs each of the last four years, three times as a section champion, SHP never won a NorCal game in that span, including a 0-3 mark at home.
St. Patrick/St. Vincent 49, Sacred Heart Prep 48
SP/SV – 10 9 12 18 -- 49
SHP – 7 16 13 12 -- 48
SP/SV: Herndon 6 3-6 17, Souza 2 0-0 4, Webster 2 5-6 9, Woodford 1 4-6 6, Rojas 1 0-0 2, Davis 3 2-4 9, unlisted 0 2-4 2, Totals: 15 16-26 49.
SHP: R. McConnell 4 0-0 9, C. McConnell 2 0-0 6, Terndrup 3 2-5 9, W. McConnell 4 0-0 8, O’Donnell 3 2-2 8, Watterson 1 0-0 2, C. Baloff 2 0-0 6. Totals: 19 4-7 48.
3-point goals: SP/SV: Herndon 2, Davis. SHP: C. McConnell 2, C. Baloff 2, R. McConnell, Terndrup.
Records: St. Patrick/St. Vincent 26-8. Sacred Heart Prep 25-3.