It was a successful title defense as the Priory boys rolled to a 54-35 victory over Eastside Prep in the Central Coast Section Division V championship game Friday night at Notre Dame de Namur University .
Top-seeded Priory moved to 14-8 while No., 4 Eastside Prep dropped to 15-12. Both teams qualify for the NorCal state playoffs next week and will wait for seedings on Sunday.
"We want to be the kind of team that plays until March 25," said Priory head coach David Moseley, who's won two out of four CCS finals. "That's kind of where we're headed. Today was the first step in that. I'm really getting these guys conditioned to play to a state tournament. Just to get there, that's what we're trying to do."
In the fourth quarter, junior Nico Arslaner found Scotty Harris in the air for the ally-oop layup and Priory took the 38-25 lead, setting the tone for the fourth quarter.
The game started with Priory going on a monstrous 13-0 run with eight points from 6-foot-9 sophomore Emmanuel Ajanaku-Makun, who finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and six blocks. Ayo Aderoboye, a 6-6 sophomore, had 11 rebounds. The Panthers took a 16-5 lead going into the second quarter.
Harris and junior Zach Weiss led off the second quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers.There was only a total of five 3-pointers between both teams. Priory had a 31-18 advantage going into halftime.
Eastside Prep couldn't get it going offensively as Priory used its press defense for most of the whole game. Eastside Prep turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and 16 times overall.
The third quarter was very light offensively for both teams as each had only five points. Prep and Priory scored its first field goals within the closing minute of the quarter. Sophomore Lucas Harris layed one up and got fouled. He converted the free throw and Priory went up 36-23 to end the third.
"It was zero to zero at half for us," said Moseley. "We just wanted to win the second half, that's one of our mottos. That matchup zone is not easy to break. That's why they beat Pinewood and Menlo; they're a good team."
The Eastside Prep offense still couldn't stay in any kind of groove in the fourth quarter as it knocked down only four field goals. Prep was outscored 18-12 in the quarter.
"I'm very excited, I mean we're going to NorCals," said Scotty Harris, who had 10 points in the fourth period to help seal the victory. "It's going to be a while till it sinks in again; we're very happy."
Division V girls
Eastside Prep gained momentum for the NorCal playoffs with a big 65-44 over Priory in the title game at Notre Dame de Namur on Friday night.
Top-seeded Eastside Prep improved to 16-11 while No. 2 Priory dropped to 18-6. Both teams qualified for NorCal State playoffs as well. It was the first time both schools have played each other in both the boys and girls finals in the same year.
"They were fired up for it with high energy," said Eastside Prep head coach Donovan Blythe, who won his third CCS title while the Panthers won their fourth overall. "We had to use our height, they were a lot taller than we are. This is March Madness now, you've got to let it all hang out."
"It's a really big win for us," said Eastside freshman Zion Gabriel, who led her team with 18 points. "Especially coming out with a really young team. For all the seniors graduating we really had to redeem ourselves, for us freshman it was a big step for us.
"Our confidence is really high," added Gabriel. "We know that although we're small we have speed and we can run down and we know how to execute."
Freshman center Kiki Humphrey scored 11 of her 14 points in the first eight minutes as Eastside sped to a 21-7 lead. Kayla Tahaafe finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds for Eastside Prep and Alayah Bell finished with 10 points and 11 boards.
Priory's 6-3 freshman Ila Lane had 20 points and 15 rebounds while sophomore scoring leader Tatiana Reese was held to 12 points before fouling out with 2:45 left in the game.