Prep hoops: Central Catholic trio guides Raiders to semifinals

Bee Staff ReportsFebruary 28, 2014 

Three players scored 20 or more points for Central Catholic and the Raiders ran away to an 88-58 victory over Rite of Passage/Sierra Ridge in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 boys basketball playoffs Friday night.

With the victory, the third-seeded Raiders (24-5) advance to the semifinals — which guarantees them a berth in next week’s Northern California regional tournament — where they’ll face No. 2 Brookside Christian (Stockton) on Wednesday at Galt High School in a 5:30 p.m. tilt.

Neither Brookside Christian nor Central Catholic have lost since the calendar changed to 2014 — the Knights have won 21 straight, while the Raiders have run off 15 wins in a row.

Swingman Joe Hamilton led the Raiders with 25 points, while center Jonahtan Boddie finished with 24. Point guard Jourdan Johnson added 22.

“They got the ball to the open man on the perimeter and shot the ball really well,” said CC coach Mike Wilson. “They hit 10 3-pointers on us, which kept them in the game.”

Central Catholic also was hot from long range, hitting 11 shots from beyond the arc. That opened up things for Boddie around the basket.

Guard Donovin Townsend, the former quarterback for the Raiders’ state championship football team, did a good job of getting CC into the right offense and recognizing the open man.

“The biggest compliment I can pay Donovin is that he’s become a real leader on the court,” said Wilson. “He communicates on the court, with respect, and the kids respond to him really well.”

Riverbank 62, Lathrop 56 – Led by a double-double from senior guard Rolaun Dunham, third-seeded Riverbank High overcame a nine-point halftime deficit for a win over No. 6 Lathrop in the second round of the Division 4 boys playoffs.

The Bruins (23-3) reach the D4 semifinals for a second year in a row. They’ll face No. 2 Natomas on Wednesday at Tokay High School in Lodi, the site of last season’s semifinal loss to eventual champion Summerville.

Dunham, still hampered mildly by an ankle injury suffered Feb. 14, led Riverbank with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while senior Guard Reilly Nabors added 18. Curtis Porter III joined them in double figures with 13 points.

By reaching the semifinal round, the Bruins gain an automatic bid to the Northern California regional tournament.

Rodriguez 69, Golden Valley 64 – When your season suddenly comes to an end, it’s hard not to point the finger at yourself.

That was the scene in the Golden Valley locker room after the seventh-seeded Cougars fell short in a 69-64 loss to No. 2 Rodriguez (25-2) in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 quarterfinal playoff game on Friday night.

Cougars center Josh Sykes sat in a corner with his face buried in a towel. Senior point guard Christian Carroll was sprawled on the floor with his head resting on his bag, staring at the ceiling.

Others wiped away tears.

“I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight,” Carroll said. “I’ll think about missed jumpers in the fourth quarter, a couple missed free throws or a couple defensive breakdowns I had that gave them layups. I’m going to have to live with this feeling for probably three months.”

It’ll be a while before the Cougars (22-7) will be able to truly understand the game for what it was – a tough loss against a very good team.

Golden Valley hadn’t faced a team that pressed from start to finish with the speed Rodriguez ran out on the court this season.

The Mustangs game plan was simple: Attack the basket.

Sykes (16 points) picked up two fouls in the first quarter and was in and out the lineup the rest of the game with foul trouble.

“Josh is a game-changer,” Golden Valley coach Keith Hunter said. “He does a lot of what other guys can’t do. He mush have had eight or 10 blocks tonight. He was fabulous. Unfortunately he had to do everything on the floor.”

Rodriguez will face No. 6 Merced on Wednesday at Sleep Train Arena at 4 p.m. in the semifinals.

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