Central Catholic boys reach NorCal semifinals

ragostini@modbee.comMarch 15, 2014 

Jonathan Boddie, Central Catholic’s 6-foot-6 post, waited his turn for this season.

Before his senior year, Boddie was toughened by years of workouts against former teammate John Fenton, the 6-9 enforcer who just wrapped up his freshman year Colgate. Today, Boddie is a year older, a year wiser and – as we learned Saturday night – a year better.

Boddie put his personal stamp on the Raiders’ rousing 73-58 win over University of San Francisco with 23 points, 15 rebounds and two blocked shots. He all but autographed the paint with a dominating inside performance that guaranteed CC’s advance to the Northern California Division 5 semifinals for the second time in the last three years.

Central Catholic will remain at home for Tuesday night’s semifinal game against Branson of Ross.

“He (Boddie) is maturing and taking the game serious and he has goals in mind after high school,” CC coach Mike Wilson said. “He feels like he has something to prove.”

Boddie and his teammates were motivated by two not-so-good memories – their recent loss to Capital Christian in the Sac-Joaquin Section D-5 final, and last year’s 79-69 loss to University in the same NorCal round. The Raiders were stung by the Red Devils’ full-court press and 16 3-pointers at historic Kezar Pavilion, not far from the University campus.

The rematch was conducted in a far different venue, CC’s cozy home, and under different terms. University (25-8), younger than last year’s senior-led lineup, often struggled against the Raiders’ power in the paint and improved back-court depth. Jourdan Johnson, a senior guard who transferred this season from St. Mary’s, flashed his all-around skills for 18 points.

“This is far away from Kezar. This is their homecourt and they came out like they owned the place,” University coach Randy Bessolo acknowledged. “Their strength and experience taught our young guys a lesson.”

Boddie’s impact tilted the game toward Central Catholic. He ripped a free-throw rebound from a University defender’s hands for a layup and, two minutes later, stole a pass and stepped down the court for a throwdown. Those plays punctuated a 12-2 run for a 33-19 halftime lead.

When CC went scoreless during the first five minutes of the second half and University pulled to 33-27, it again relied on a pushback from Boddie. He responded with seven straight points and nine during the Raiders’ 16-2 answer for a 49-29 lead. Their lead reached 24 points during the fourth period.

“We were going way harder this time (over last year). We move the ball more,” Boddie said. “We want to be the first team to win a state (basketball) championship for our school.”

The Raiders own more weapons this season with 6-5 sophomore Peter Hamilton (12 points) and a clawing defense that can extend and bother perimeter shooters. University hit nine triples, including its first three, but the home team induced more than a few misses.

“Lessons learned from last year,” Wilson said. “We were a little more physical and disrupted the dribble portion of their game.”

But the biggest disruptor was Boddie.

Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at ragostini@modbee.com or (209) 578-2302. Follow him on Twitter @ModBeeSports.

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