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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Serra Erases 14-Point Deficit in Fourth Quarter To Beat St. Ignatius


For the fourth time in less than a month, the Sierra Padres pulled back an inning after facing a double-digit deficit in the second half.

Unlike the previous three, they got the job done and won.

Sierra rallied after trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter to beat the St. Ignatius Wildcats 58-57 in the annual beach game Tuesday night. Aidan Carlson made two free throws to give the Padres the lead with 8.8 seconds left, and SI rookie Raymond Wheatley missed a free throw that would have tied the game with 2.2 seconds left.

“We were a fourth-quarter team,” said Marcel Elicagaray, who scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the final quarter. “Let’s go down early and come back.”

Ten of those points came in a 17-2 run that gave the Padres their first lead since the first three minutes of the game. Elicagaray hit a pair of 3-pointers around Steele Labagh’s basket, then followed up a Ryan Pettis drive with one of his own. Pettis then hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 51-48 with 3:40 left.

“It’s like a wave,” Sierra coach Chaklap said. “We started shooting, SI calmed down a bit, and then we stopped. One thing led to another, and it was like a little tsunami.”

Elicagaray stole an inbounds pass, drew a foul and made two free throws to keep Serra (9-6, 2-4 West Catholic Athletic League) within one point while missing the front end of 1-and-1 at Kreekor Karageuzian Then, Alex Naber’s reverse layup gave the Padres the lead with 1:41 left.

Sierra guard Alex Naber (22) passes St. Ignatius guard Caden Hutcherson during the fourth quarter of a Western Catholic Athletic League basketball game on January 24, 2023 in San Francisco, CA (1 year old) driving by.Ethan Cassel/Standard

“It was a very emotional game,” said Nabel, who joined Sierra from St. Ignatius in the summer. I know everyone in the stands, everyone from the other teams. It’s a very competitive environment. “

Naber assisted on all three of Elicagaray’s field goals in the crucial game.

“He’s been a great addition,” Rapp said of Naber. “He’s a WCAL type of player. He plays hard, he competes and engages, he shoots tough shots.”

A Whitley drive through traffic gave St. Ignatius (9-7, 3-4) the lead again 17 seconds later, but Erica Garay hit a jumper with 1:04 left. Wildcats rookie Kaden Hutcherson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 52.6 points, and sophomore Alton Robinarte made two free throws to give Sierra a three-point lead.

Fueled by a section of raucous students in Hawaiian shirts, the Wildcats made a last-ditch effort. Whitley tied the game with a 36.9 3, but Sierra was ready to hit the final shot. Rapp called a timeout with 11.5 seconds left when Carlson caught an inside pass and fouled three SI defenders.

Sierra forward Aidan Carlson (21) leads the free throw during the fourth quarter of a Western Catholic Athletic League basketball game against St. Ignatius on January 24, 2023 in San Francisco, California.Ethan Cassel/Standard

By then, he had made just one of four free throw attempts, but he calmly made both.

With no timeout remaining, Whitley drove across the field and made contact with Pettis. He made his first free throw but missed his second after a timeout. Carleson grabbed the rebound, a jumper was called at 0.3, and Serra closed the game with a simple inbounds pass. Fittingly, the game ended with the ball in the hands of Erica Garay.

“Last year, I played behind (Miles) Klapper and Brady Smith. I learned a lot from them,” said Elicagaray, who tore his ACL and MCL in February. “This year is the time for me to be the leader of this team.”

“He’s a natural shooter,” Rapp added. “He’s a fitness freak. He’s always outside. First on the floor, last out.”

St. Ignatius led 29-18 at halftime and held a double-digit lead for most of the third quarter. Labagh’s steal led to a layup by Kreekor Karageuzian before the buzzer to give the Cats a 44-33 lead going into the fourth quarter, and Labagh’s 3-pointer to start the quarter extended the lead to 14.

The advantage was kept at 49-35 after two free throws by Theo Lamb with 6:23 left, but the hosts failed to score in the four minutes and 15 seconds between Labag’s basket and Whitley’s layup. Score.

Between the timing of the drought and the size of the lead, Tuesday night’s loss was very similar to the Jan. 13 game against St. Francis. In both games, the Wildcats were without Pepperdine player John Squire, who suffered an ankle injury in the Jan. 10 win over Sacred Heart.

“When you lose arguably the best player in the league, you need to reevaluate what you’re trying to do,” St. Ignatius coach Jason Greenfield said. “We’ve got a good young team and they’re going to go through their ups and downs. We have to look at this as a process, not as the game comes in and the game ends. Look, we want to win, we all hate losing, but as we learn Before we win, we lose some.”

Sierra guard Ryan Pettis (2) dunks during the second quarter of a Western Catholic Athletic League basketball game against St. Ignatius on January 24, 2023 in San Francisco, California.Ethan Cassel/Standard

Hutcherson and Whitley each had 17 points. Hutcherson scored 14 of his team’s first 18 points, while Pettis scored Sierra’s first 10 points, also with 17. Hutcherson got one of Karageuzian’s seven assists for a transition layup at halftime; Karageuzian also had eight points.

“We moved players on him,” Rapp said of how his team defended Hutcherson in the second half. “I think we might have squeezed him a little bit, so we gave him a standard and let him go a step ahead, while still putting other guys in front of him.”

Carlson scored nine points, including two free throws that put his team ahead forever. After going 0-4 in WCAL for the first time since 2009, Sierra has now won back-to-back matches.

“We’re in the car, we’re on full throttle,” Naber said. “We’re about to face the big blue problem that everyone faces.”


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