By Ray Hamill — The St. Bernard’s boys will have to quickly put the disappointment of losing Wednesday’s thrilling NCS playoff game against Ferndale behind them, as they get set for next week’s NorCal tournament.
The Crusaders were the No. 1 seed in the NCS Division-VI bracket, but lost to their Little 4 rivals 46-45 on a Javier Lopez basket with just two seconds on the clock.
The loss, however, doesn’t end their season, with next week’s NorCals still to play for, and no one knows that better than the Crusaders, who lost in an NCS semifinal in 2016 only to go on to win that year’s NorCal tournament.
“I told the players, ‘we just got dumped at homecoming, but we’ve still got a date to the prom,’” head coach Steve Thrap said.
On Thursday, St. Bernard’s held a short practice.
“There were a a lot of upset kids today,” Thrap said. “But the last thing we needed was to not get back in the gym.”
The St. Bernard’s players will take Friday off to watch the College of the Redwoods games, and return to the gym on Saturday before finding out their NorCal seed on Sunday.
And Thrap is hoping for a home game, and hoping the Wildcats can do him and his players a favor on Saturday by winning the NCS championship against California School for the Deaf.
A good result by Ferndale will look good for the Crusaders, who defeated the Cats twice this year and only lost to them on a last-second shot.
“We’ll just have to wait and see,” the coach said.
They may even get a rematch with the Wildcats somewhere along the line, or a game against another Little 4 rival, South Fork, which also qualified for the NorCals.
Wednesday’s performance, however, was a disappointing one for the Crusaders, who lost to the Cats for the first time since December 2015.
“I think we can play better,” Thrap said. “But that’s certainly taking nothing away from Ferndale. They certainly played a heck of a game, mainly shutting us down defensively.”
A senior-laden and composed SB team has the experience to be able to put this disappointment behind them and focus instead on finishing strong.
After all, they’ve still got the prom to look forward to.