Basketball

Crusaders finding an identity on both sides of the ball

Submitted photo – The Crusaders celebrate their tournament championship on Thursday.

The St. Bernard’s Crusaders are building plenty of momentum ahead of league play.

On Thursday afternoon, the No. 1 ranked Division-6 boys basketball team in the state capped a big three days at the Berean Christian tournament with a 71-48 win over San Domenico in the championship game.

Owen Shanahan was named tourney MVP after three big performances, while Drew Vizenor and Seth Dyer were each named to the all-tournament team.

All in all, it was a very good performance for the Crusaders, who continue to improve and appear ready for league play.

“We played great tonight,” head coach Issac Gildea said. “We cleaned up so much stuff and we’re finding an identity offensively and defensively.

“I think at the end of the tournament, we’ve turned a page.”

Vizenor scored a game-high 22 points in Thursday’s win and had a big all-around performance.

“There was nothing out there he didn’t do,” Gildea said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with his play.”

Several players impressed in the victory, including Aaiden Burris, who finished with 13 points, and Aidan Dorsch, who chipped in 10.

Dyer added nine points, Shanahan eight and Peyton Smith seven.

Smith, according to Gildea, did “anything and everything I asked of him.”

“It was a great performance by our team,” the head coach said.

With the win, the Crusaders improved to 9-0.

Next up, they play at the Fort Bragg tournament next week.

Girls

San Domenico 41, St. Bernard’s 21

With three starters missing through injury, the Crusaders closed out play at the Berean Christian tournament with a loss to San Domenico.

“We lost, but I thought the kids played very hard,” head coach Augie Valdez said. “San Domenico is a very good team.”

The Crusaders were without Lele Tanuvasa, Laila Florvilus and Emma Wilson, each of whom has played a pivotal role for the team early in the season.

A couple of players stepped up to the challenge in their absence, with Rihana Fontenot and MayTaya Sherman each scoring a team-high eight points in the loss.

Madelyn Shanahan also had a big game and continued to be a force and lead the way for the St. Bernard’s girls.

“Maddie Shanahan just continues to be a rock for our team,” Valdez said of the sophomore standout who played well defensively against their opponents’ chief offensive threat. “Even though she didn’t score a lot she’s just doing everything else.”

Overall, the team played well defensively.

“We did really well on defense, and we rebounded the ball pretty well,” Valdez said. “Offensively we just have to get better at executing and passing the ball around.”

Next up, the 6-2 Crusaders will play at the West Coast Jamboree next week.

Valdez is hoping to have his three injured starters back for the big tournament.

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