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March 19, 2014

Semi-Final Recap

Following three rounds of NorCal playoff action, six rematches from the regular season and section playoffs are on tap for Saturday. Will it be déjà vu this weekend?

Open Division: Bishop O'Dowd vs. Capital Christian 8:00 PM at Sleep Train Arena
Division I: Monte Vista vs. Freedom 4:00 PM at Sleep Train Arena
Division II: Folsom vs. Cosumnes Oaks 12:00 PM at Sleep Train Arena
Division III: Riordan vs. Drake 8:00 PM at American Canyon High School
Division IV: Moreau Catholic vs. Salesian 4:00 PM at American Canyon High School
Division V: Central Catholic vs. St. Joseph 12:00 PM at American Canyon High School

When Spencer Rust is firing on all cylinders, Monte Vista is a tough team to beat.

On Tuesday night, McClymonds found out just how tough as Rust led the Mustangs to a decisive 72-47 victory over the Warriors. Rust, who led all scorers with 32 points, was impressive inside, hit a couple of midrange jumpers and was nearly perfect from the free throw line as well. As well as the center played, he was quick to give credit to his supporting cast.

"We play as a unit," Rust said. "I was just in the right spot at the right time a lot and my teammates got me the ball. We play really well together and tonight I had a big night."

It was clear from the opening tip that Tuesday's semi-final match-up was going to be a favorable one for the Mustangs. Monte Vista scored the game's first 11 points and opened on a 15-2 run while McClymonds struggled to hit shots as a theme that would continue throughout the night.

Senior Trevor John, who finished with 17 points, several of which came from beyond the arc, jumpstarted the Mustangs offense with a pair of deep threes early in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Mustangs turned the ball over to Rust and let him dominate from the post. Rust scored 19 points in the first half and added eight more in the third to put the Warriors away.

McClymonds senior Deion Ellis tried his best to keep his team in the game, but his efforts were to no avail. Ellis finished with 17 points including 15 in the second half, but could not keep up with the Mustangs.

Monte Vista not only finished off the 2014 season with a perfect home record, but is now one step closer to a Division 1 State Championship.

"It's a dream come true," Rust said. "Me and these guys have been dreaming about playing in the Kings stadium since we were little. It hasn't really hit me yet, but we're really excited."

The Mustangs will face Freedom on Saturday in a rematch of the North Coast Section Division I finals. Freedom eliminated Jesuit 78-65 behind 30 points from Rodney Pope and 26 points from Elliott Smith. Lake Lutes had 25 points in the loss. William Boor

Open Division

Ivan Rabb had 14 points and 12 rebounds as Bishop O'Dowd continued to roll along with a 74-51 win over Modesto Christian. It is the Dragons' second win over the Crusaders and it marked the end of the career of Gary Porter, who finishes with more than 500 wins.

Tyler Jennings had 18 points, six assists and five steals to help Capital Christian oust defending Open Division champion Mitty 70-57. Connor Peterson had 20 points in the loss for the Monarchs.

Bishop O'Dowd won the much hyped January 20 meeting 86-60 at Cal-Berkeley.

Division II

According to the Sacramento Bee, Jordan Ford had 25 points (17 points in the fourth quarter) to help Folsom beat Serra 58-57. The Bulldogs haven't lost in the calendar year and knocked off its second straight West Catholic Athletic League team.

Folsom will play Cosumnes Oaks for the second time in two weeks after the Wolf Pack beat Grant 87-67. Junior L.J. Reed had 19 points and 19 rebounds in the win. The Wolf Pack have scored more than 80 points in each of their two NorCal games.

Division III

Jesse Hunt had 25 points and Malik Huff had 17 points to send Drake to the regional finals with a 70-61 win over Miramonte. It is the program's first regional final since 1995. To reach the championship game, Drake had to withstand 30 points from Miramonte senior Drew Anderson.

Senior guard Jiday Ugbaja had 29 points to help the Crusaders beat Campolindo 72-68 in overtime. It is the second straight year the Crusaders have reached a regional final. Not to be outdone, Campolindo senior Andrew Zolintakis had 38 points.

Division IV

It took two overtimes, but Moreau Catholic advanced to the regional finals with a 91-78 win over St. Patrick/St. Vincent. Brandon Lawrence had 25 points and Damari Milstead had 20 points in the win.

With a late venue shift from El Cerrito to Albany, Salesian beat Half Moon Bay 60-43 to book a return trip to the Division IV regional finals. The Pride had made four straight Division IV title games prior to last year. Bernard Ward had 23 points for the Pride.

Division V

Joe Hamilton had 12 points in Central Catholic's 52-49 win over Branson on Tuesday. The Raiders were down double digits in the second half, according to the Modesto Bee. It is the second close loss in less than two weeks for Branson, which fell in the final seconds against St. Joseph in the section finals.

20 points and 10 rebounds from Temidayo Yussuf led St. Joseph past Brookside Christian 71-51 for its fourth straight regional final appearance. Lamont Banks added 17 points for the Pilots.


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