After starting the season with easy wins in three league games (27.7 points average margin of victory), Sacred Heart Prep faced a significant bump-up in level of competition Tuesday with a non-league game at home against St. Ignatius. The Gators trailed throughout in a 65-51 loss, but came away with some insight into what needs to take place to become a better team.
Harrison Carrington (21 points) and Aidan Braccia (20) combined for 41 of SHP’s 51 points. Head coach Tony Martinelli would like to see more players contributing in the scoring column.
“When we’re at our best we’ve had multiple guys that can score,’’ Martinelli said. “That’s the beauty of basketball. The story tonight was two guys carrying the load. The name of the game is efficiency and we weren’t very efficient.’’
St. Ignatius, even with a new coach and new system, gave the impression of being motivated by the memory of a 63-62 loss to the Gators last season. The Wildcats jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the game and were never headed.
A putback by Carrington brought SHP within 13-12 late in the first quarter, but back-to-back fastbreak baskets by St. Ignatius made it 20-12 at quarter’s end.
SHP was also hurt on the offensive boards on several occasions throughout the game.
“I knew we were giving up a little bit of size,’’ Martinelli said. “But giving up those over-the-top fastbreak baskets makes it so much harder on the offensive end.’’
A Braccia basket brought the Gators within 23-20 in the second quarter before a pair of 3-pointers gave SI a nine-point cushion at halftime. The lead was extended to 17 at 51-34 after three quarters and SHP was unable to cut much into that deficit during the final period.
The Gators return to West Bay Athletic League play Thursday against Menlo School. Non-league games remain on the schedule against Bellarmine (home and home), at St. Ignatius and home against Half Moon Bay and Palo Alto. But winning the WBAL title is a major motivation.
“I like what I’ve seen of Priory,’’ Martinelli said. “They have size and athleticism and David Moseley has done a good job coaching them.’’
Like every team returning to action this spring after the long pandemic-induced hiatus, objectives have to be decided. Is your orientation the same as in any other season, or are you playing more or less just for fun, just as an outlet for young athletes denied a precious segment of a very short high school career?
“I just miss coaching and being around the guys,’’ Martinelli said. “Being around them was priority number one. It’s so much fun. I just enjoyed being back in the gym.
“But once you start playing you get competitive. Winning a league title, qualifying for CCS, qualifying for NorCals, if they have one, are our goals. If we get back to playing good Sacred Heart basketball, wins will follow.’’
at Priory 64, The King's Academy 43
David Ajanaku-Makun and Zach Zafran each scored 15 points and Priory beat visiting The King’s Academy to remain undefeated in league play. Tayo Sobemehin and Roland Olama Abanda each added 10 points for the Panthers (5-1, 3-0), who host Harker on Thursday. Oliver Conn and Ashton Axe combined for another 14 points.
Menlo 65, at Crystal Springs Uplands 34
Austin Stull hit four of Menlo's 10 3-pointers on the night, helping the Knights (1-2) beat the Gryphons for their first win of the season.
Stull finished with 12 points. Seniors Chris Cook and Hunter Riley each had 13 points, and Lucas Vogel and Jake Bianchi combined for another 14 points.
Daniel Solomon, a junior, grabbed five rebounds, and had four assists and five steals while sophomore Ty Richardson pitched in with four assists and three points.