Two championships, one night

February 29, 2020

For the second straight season, both the Cathedral Catholic High School boys and girls varsity basketball will compete in the championship round of the San Diego Section California Interscholastic Federation Playoffs. 

However, it is the first year in history both boys and girls basketball will compete for an Open Division title in the same season.

“It’s extremely special that both the boys and girls basketball teams are in the Open Division Championship because it shows how at CCHS, we have the best coaches and always aspire to be the best,” CCHS center Nick Narcy ‘21 said.

 

Boys basketball

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Photo by Alex Woodmansee

Beon Riley '20 dribbles down the court.

The Cathedral Catholic High School boys varsity basketball team takes on Torrey Pines High School today at 7:30 p.m. in the Rimac Arena at the University of California, San Diego in the San Diego Section California Interscholastic Federation Open Division Championship.

CCHS (23-7) (7-1) has met TPHS (26-4) (10-0) once this season, achieving a 58-51 victory.

The Dons are excited and prepared to face off with TPHS on the biggest stage of the season.

“We are very much looking forward to this rematch to be able to show our talent and hopefully have a strong showing,” Narcy said.

CCHS respects its neighbors on Del Mar Heights Road.

“TPHS is a fantastic team and they’re playing in this game for a reason,” CCHS shooting guard Scotty Prunty ‘20 said. 

CCHS, boasting San Diego County’s top seed, has cruised through the playoffs defeating Christian High School and the Francis Parker School at home.

The TPHS Falcons took down Poway High School and showed grit defeating St. Augustine High School by two points on the road last Wednesday. 

The preparation of the Dons proved critical during the season and playoffs.

“The biggest thing has been our ability to execute consistently at a high level,” Prunty said. “By the time the games come around, we are prepared for our opponent because of the game plans our coaches have put in place.”

The Dons, riding a four-game win streak must play solid on both sides of the ball to be successful in the finals.

“Defensively, we have to be locked in with their personnel and understand what their guys do as far as tendencies,” Prunty said. “On offense, I think it comes down to getting good shots due to our defense and taking care of the ball.”

Offensively, CCHS and TPHS compare, contributing 2,053 and 1,927 points, respectively.

The Dons have been united all year and are beginning to play their best basketball of the season. 

“The whole team is mentally prepared for the game,” CCHS team manager Kellen O’Donnel ‘21 said. “The team has played the strongest in these past couple games.”

CCHS fosters valuable experience, as many of the players contributed to winning the San Diego Section California Interscholastic Federation Division I title last season. 

The Dons took down the Francis Parker School 47-46 in the finals last year, thanks to a game saving putback layup by Obina Anyanwu ‘21. 

CCHS hopes for a similar result today, but it knows the task at hand.

“Having the opportunity to compete in a CIF Championship game, especially in the Open Division, is something we’ve worked so hard for all season,” Prunty said. “We’re honored to be a top two program, but we know the job isn’t finished yet and there is a tough challenge ahead.”

CCHS head coach Mr. Will Cunningham will be coaching in his second San Diego Section California Interscholastic Federation Open Division Championship as he looks to add CCHS’ 12th Section Championship.

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Girls basketball

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Photo by Caroline Sutton

Isuneh "Ice" Brady '22 goes up for a shot.

The Cathedral Catholic High School girls varsity basketball team is defending its San Diego Section California Interscholastic Federation Open Division title against the La Jolla Country Day School today at 5:30 p.m. in the Rimac Arena at the University of California, San Diego.

CCHS (19-10) (8-0) lost an overtime thriller 66-63 in its only meeting with LJCDS (29-1) 4-0) more than two months ago. 

LJCDS ranks number one in the nation according to MaxPreps, and the Torreys boast a 13-game win streak.

The Lady Dons have won its last nine contests and rank 53 in the nation, according to MaxPreps. 

Rankings aside, CCHS has generated its energy for the upcoming heavyweight brawl.

“The team needs to really focus in practices to figure out how to shut the opponent down,” CCHS player Mazatlan Harris ‘20 said. “We also have to believe in each other and let each other know that we can do this and keep our heads held high.”

Oregon-bound point guard and 2020 McDonald’s Girls All American Te-Hina Paopao ‘20 will be a focus point for the Lady Dons.

The Lady Dons are led by its center and University of Connecticut commit Isuneh Brady ‘22, point guard Itzel Navarro ‘22, Harris, the senior captain.

CCHS contributes 61.9 points, 36.8 rebounds, 17.2 assists per game, offensively.

Offensively, LJCDS adds 69.1 points, 33.1 rebounds, and 16.3 assists per game.

The Lady Dons, coming off of a San Diego Section California Interscholastic Federation Open Division Championship from last season, have continued solid play to defend its throne

“What the team has done well this season is winning enough games to place us in this division for the championship game and working hard in practices to prove that we deserve to get another CIF title,” Harris said. 

CCHS defeated The Bishop’s School and Christian High School soundly at home to compete in Saturday’s contest.

LJCDS defeated Mater Dei Catholic High School and narrowly took down Bonita Vista High School 48-46 last Wednesday in the semifinals.

As CCHS prepares for its biggest game of the season, it reflects on the hard work and goals the team had for the season.

“Playing in this game was definitely a goal since the beginning of the season,” Harris said. “We started lifting weights and training for this moment literally on the second day of school.”

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