The Salesian boys shocked top-seeded El Cerrito Thursday with a buzzer-beating three-pointer, while the Salesian girls coasted against Kennedy, sending both Pride teams to Saturday’s Tri County Athletic League tournament championship in Albany.
The eighth-seeded Salesian boys pulled off the huge upset over El Cerrito, 60-59, after freshman Marquel Johnson hit his third three-pointer of the game in the final seconds.
El Cerrito appeared to have control after the first quarter with a 22-7 advantage. Six El Cerrito players scored during this period: Jalen Walton, Anthony Sullen, Tyrell Alcorn, Sayeed Pridgett, Aaron Banks and Jovontae Carleton.
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But Salesian stormed back in the second quarter with 15 unanswered points. Johnson hit his second of three three-pointers during that run, while Bernard Ward, Brandon McGhee and DeMar Dunn also added points.
However, Salesian never had the lead in the game – at least not until Johnson’s magical game-winning three-pointer.
Salesian coach Bill Mellis told the San Francisco Chronicle it was the “best win of the year by far. Guys never quit.” The newspaper also said the team struggled this year after graduating top players last year.
Girls: Salesian 69, Kennedy 47
Louisville-bound Mariya Moore scored 17 points for the Pride, who will face St. Mary’s in the title bout at 7 p.m. Saturday at Albany High.
Moore, recently ranked as California’s third best player, sank three three-pointers and also contributed 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals for Salesian, which improved to 23-5 this season.
Fellow senior Deja Stallworth also had a solid outing with 12 points and 6 rebounds. Sophomore guard JulieAnne Martin added 11 points and 3 rebounds while junior Kian McNair had 10 points and 7 steals. Senior Taylor Crowder chipped in 9 points and 7 rebounds.
The statistics for Kennedy High weren’t immediately available. Community members who have access to them are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pride’s next opponent, third-seeded St. Mary’s, made quick work of second-seeded Hercules, 66-19. While Moore gives Salesian a McDonald All-American team member, St. Mary’s offers two in Mikayla Cowling and Gabby Green, who are both headed to Cal next season.