By Ray Hamill — The Little 4 is standing tall in the North Coast Section playoffs, with three of the four teams advancing to the Division-VI semifinals.
And that means all three of them will now also advance to the NorCal tournament.
No. 1 seed St. Bernard’s had to battle against No. 8 Credo, but held on for a 66-58 win, while No. 4 Ferndale beat No. 5 Emery 54-51, and No. 3 South Fork got the better of No. 6 SF Waldorf 65-48.
And that sets up an all-Little 4 semifinal showdown on Wednesday night with Ferndale playing at St. Bernard’s, while South Fork will travel to play at No. 2 California School for the Deaf.
St, Bernard’s 66, Credo 58
The Crusaders pulled away from a competitive Credo team in the third quarter of Saturday’s game, but had to withstand a late rally to avoid the upset.
Lane Thrap was sensational in the win, with the Crusaders relying on him perhaps a little too much early on.
The senior guard scored a game-high 24 points including his team’s opening 14 points of the game.
Remy Campbell, who has become an integral part of this year’s team, added 16 points.
“We had some outstanding defensive play by all the boys, and that’s what made the difference,” head coach Steve Thrap said.
After a tight first half that saw little to separate the two teams, the Crusaders outscored the visitors 18-7 in the third to lead by 14.
Credo, however, rallied late to make a game of it.
Ferndale 54, Emery 51
The Wildcats trailed by three heading into the fourth quarter of a tight game, as you would expect between the fourth and fifth seeds, but closed out the stronger of the two teams to pull out the win.
Javier Lopez scored a team-high 12 points in the win, while Emmitt Albee finished with 10 points.
Garrett Christiansen and Cody Sampson each added 10 points for Ferndale.
Jayden Cummings scored a game-high 21 points for Emery.
In girls action on Saturday, No. 7 Ferndale barely lost at No. 2 Calistoga in the Division-VI bracket, falling 46-45.
South Fork 65, SF Waldorf 48
The Cubs broke open a tight game with a big third quarter, outscoring the visitors 25-8 for the period to open up a 15-point lead.
Alex Harding continued his outstanding season for South Fork, finishing with 22 points, while Oliver Tatton added 14 points and Cameron Messenger 13.
“Our pressure defense made a lot of the difference in the second half,” South Fork head coach Dave Bushnell said.
Calder Appel scored 18 for Waldorf and Justin Smith 17.