Sacred Heart Prep saw its 16-game win streak end in a 64-59 loss to St. Francis in the Central Coast Section Open Division boys' basketball semifinal at Independence High School on Tuesday night.
The No. 4-seeded Gators dropped to 23-3 overall while top-seeded St. Francis improved to 22-4. Sacred Heart will place for third place and will visit No. 3 Mitty (16-9) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Monarchs lost to to No. 2 Serra, 55-52, in overtime on Tuesday.
"We had a lot of people think we'd get beat by 20," said SHP senior Corbin Koch, who led all scorers with 28 points. "Everyone underestimates the heart and determination that our team has. As long as we keep buying into our system and what's going on, I think we'll be fine."
With five seconds left in the fourth quarter, St. Francis senior Joseph Mihanovic sank two clutch free throws to make it a five-point lead and seal the win for the Lancers.
Mihanovic led the way for St. Francis with a team-high 22 points.
In the first quarter, Lancers junior Gabe Adzich slashed through the lane for a layup and 15-10 lead to end the period. Sacred Heart started off sloppy and committed six turnovers, finishing the game with 16.
St. Francis junior Noah Stapes connected from the corner for his third 3-pointer of the second quarter and put the Lancers up 31-23. Stapes finished with 18 points, all on 3-pointers.
Sacred Heart senior point guard Mitch Martella nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to bring the Gators to within 31-26 at the half.
The Gators went on an 8-2 run in the third quarter with six points from Koch. Sacred Heart cut it to 44-39, but couldn't hold on to the momentum. Curtis Witt hit a jumper and pushed the Lancers' lead to 47-39 heading into the fourth.
In the fourth quarter, Sacred Heart came storming back when Koch hit a huge 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 60-57 game. The Gators, however, never got any closer since taking the lead with 4:45 left in the first quarter.
With six seconds left in the game and St. Francis up 62-59, Martella got an open look at a 3-pointer, but it rattled off the rim and the Lancers took possession -- leading to two converted free throws.
"That's going to be a statement game," said Koch. "We came up short in this one, so hopefully we have a good day at practice tomorrow and get back at it on Thursday. Hopefully pull out the 'W' and make more plays than we did in this one."
Sacred Heart Prep most likely will drop into Division IV for next week's CIF NorCal playoffs. The Gators will learn their seed on Sunday.
Menlo School rolled to a 62-37 victory over Terra Nova at Kaiser-Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz on Tuesday and into the Central Coast Section championship game this weekend.
The No. 2-seeded Knights (18-7) will face No. 1 Santa Cruz (22-6) on Saturday, at a time and site to be announced. The Cardinals advanced with a 55-48 win over No. 4 Pacific Grove (19-6).
Menlo senior Liam Dunn paved the way, scoring 13 of his game-high 22 points in the second quarter. The Knights led by 27-21 at the half. Menlo pulled away with a 22-8 third quarter.
Dunn sank three 3-pointers, and Charlie Roth contributed 15 points for the Knights.
2015 BOYS' CCS BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS
At Santa Clara University
No. 2 Serra (21-5) vs. No. 1 St. Francis (22-4), 8 p.m.
Third place (Friday)
No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep (23-3) at No. 3 Mitty (16-10), 7:30 p.m.
B Consolation finals (Thursday)==
No. 6 Palma (22-4) at No. 5 Archbishop Riordan (16-10), 7 p.m.
At Independence High
No. 11 Milpitas (15-12) vs. No. 7 Salinas (21-5), 5:30 p.m.
No. 4 Homestead (17-7) vs. No. 1 Bellarmine (15-10), 7:30 p.m.
(Site and time TBA)
No. 6 Los Altos (13-14) vs. No. 1 Leland (22-4)
At St. Ignatius High
No. 6 Burlingame (16-12) vs. No. 2 Aptos (21-6), 5:30 p.m.
No. 4 Mills (22-5) vs. No. 1 Sacred Heart Cathedral (14-11), 7:30 p.m.
(Site and time TBA)
No. 2 Menlo School (18-7) vs. No. 1 Santa Cruz (22-6)
At Santa Clara High
No. 7 Eastside Prep (14-12) vs. No. 6 R.L. Stevenson (18-7), 7:30 p.m.
No. 4 Priory (15-9) vs. No. 1 Pinewood (17-8), 5:30 p.m.