By Ray Hamill — A senior-heavy St. Bernard’s roster took care of business with a veteran-like composure on senior night, getting the better of visiting South Fork 60-52 in boys basketball on Thursday.
The win closes out a perfect Little 4 campaign for the Crusaders, who clinched the title outright with the win, while denying the visiting Cubs a share of the championship.
The Crusaders certainly came to play, and showed no ill-effects from all the hoopla of senior night as they rolled out to a quick 13-0 lead and held a 19-2 advantage after the opening quarter.
“I thought they played great,” head coach Steve Thrap said of the senior contingent, each of whom saw action early in the game. “We definitely came out with a ton of energy.”
Will Omey finished with 13 points and was instrumental in setting the early tone, as was Lane Thrap, who finished with a game-high 16 points.
Fellow seniors Justin Hagler, Conner Petrusha, Hunter Davis, Louis He, Logan Petrusha, Ayden Hamanaka, Elijah Moon and Cole Petrusha each also were honored before tip-off.
“It’s just a special group,” Steve Thrap said of this year’s senior class, most of whom also played a big role in the school’s state football championship late last year. “Their love for each other, and their enthusiasm for the game, they want to win. You don’t have to pump them up.”
The seniors weren’t the only ones to impress on Thursday.
Freshman Owen Shanahan continued to show why he has a big future with the team, scoring nine points, while juniors Bode Joyner (eight points) and Jake Fairfield (seven points) each also had an impact.
The win was the ninth in the last 11 games for the Crusaders, who are now 13-7 overall.
They are the No. 1 seed from the Little 4 for next week’s Dick Niclai tournament and will open at home against either Arcata or Eureka on Wednesday night.
South Fork closes out league play 4-2 and earns the No. 2 seed for the Niclai tournament, opening at home against either Ferndale or Hoopa on Monday night.
Riley Gallagher scored a team-high 11 points in the loss, as the Cubs began to heat up in the second quarter.
Teammate Oliver Tatton added 10 points, while Alex Harding scored eight, all of them in the fourth quarter. Cameron Messenger chipped in seven and Tyler Bates six.
The Cubs are now 13-10 overall.