The story lines coming into the West Catholic Athletic League showdown between Serra and Archbishop Riordan were that both teams had four game winning streaks and could the Crusaders avenge a 64-63 double overtime loss to the Padres earlier in the season.
The results were positive for Riordan as it pulled away in the fourth quarter to a 52-44 victory after the third quarter ended in a 33-33 tie. The win pushes the Crusaders to 12-6 (5-3 WCAL) while Serra drops to 13-5 (6-2 WCAL).
After losing their first three league games, Riordan has won its last five by outscoring those opponents by 58 points or close to 12 points a game. The win puts the Crusaders in fourth place and in the upper half of the league. A road win against league leader Archbishop Mitty in the next game could tighten the league standings.
Most successful basketball teams have at least three scoring options in order to be successful as Riordan's offense continues to run through their primary two scorers in Chiefy and Jiday Ugbaja as they accounted for 41 points in the victory. The team missed several free throws in the fourth quarter to keep the game interesting. Riordan had not defeated the Padres since they swept the 2008-2009 season series.
Serra had defeated St. Ignatius and Sacred Heart Cathedral in their previous two games but could not pull off the trifecta of San Francisco WCAL teams. The Padres look to bounce back with their next game against St. Francis before taking on Mitty next week.
The Padres are guard oriented as 39 of the points came from that position. Expect Serra to live or die by the perimeter game the rest of the season. Senior guard Danny Mahoney led the team with 15 points.
Players of Note
Jiday Ugbaja 6-foot-0 G Riordan (2014): The senior had 23 points as he was able to score with both his dribbling and his pull up perimeter shooting. Ugbaja goes to the basket hard and displayed good upper body strength when getting off shots in the paint. Defensively, he battled screens and was able to hound the Serra backcourt.
Chiefy Ugbaja 6-foot-5 F Riordan (2014): Ugbaja had 18 points as all his scoring was on drives to the basket or shots in the paint. His length and athleticism will allow him to have an advantage in most man-to-man situations. His perimeter shooting development will keep defenses honest and increase his recruiting stock.
Danny Mahoney 6-foot-0 G Serra (2014): Mahoney played in control and crafty as he had 15 points that was a mix of perimeter shooting and drives to the basket. The senior uses his body well to get positioning in different situations.