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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

SF’s Most Storied Trophy Could Be Won Wednesday Night

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One of the few high school trophies of significance its own wikipedia article Can win on Wednesday night.

St. Ignatius currently leads the Sacred Heart 2-1 in the 2022-23 Bruce Mahoney series, and if the Wildcats women’s basketball team beats the Fightin’ Irish on Wednesday night, the trophy will stay in the Sunset Zone for another year.

Simple as the requirements may be, the task at hand is far from easy.

Sacred Heart (15-2, 3-1 WCAL) currently sits second in the Western Catholic Athletic League (WCAL). Fightin’ Irish have lost just two matches this season, one to defending state champion Salesian and one to Mitty, the past seven WCAL champions and the defending California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Open champion.

“Two games against them last year were fights, they got everybody back and they’re better now,” Wildcats head coach Maya Fok said.

SHC is currently on a resurgence, something people outside the Ellis Street campus might not have expected, but head coach Demetrius Jackson isn’t surprised. Fightin’ Irish has three returning starters in Leilani Blecha, Reza Po and Malea Scobie, while Inez Gallegos would have started last year were it not for his shin injury.

“As naive as it sounds, I think we can compete like this,” Jackson said after his Dec. 13 loss to Salesian. “We believe we can win every game.”

The Wildcats also had a chance at the trophy last year, winning 60-47 at the Kezar Pavilion, though the team was led by now graduated Sabrina Ma and Soon Ja Elzey.

Amy Ennis (3) will try to help St. Ignatius win the Bruce Mahoney Trophy. | Supplied by Paul Gilelli

This year, St. Ignatius (9-8, 2-2) is led by seniors Emmie Ennis, Brigitte Mahoney and Jaclyn McDonough.

“I told our captain, I remember the Bruce Mahoney game in 1998,” Ho said. “I got a and -1 and the crowd went wild. There’s no better feeling than that.”

Wednesday’s game will be at USF’s war memorial at 7:30 p.m. Until the 2021-22 season, the girls typically played before the boys’ games, but with the girls now competing for trophies, and with the construction of the Sobrato Club on the west side of the building, USF’s capacity has been reduced to approximately 3,300, boys’ and girls’ programs Each had their own separate night in the spotlight.

“This is a great opportunity for young ladies from both schools,” Jackson said. “Both teams, win or lose, will be able to share these memories with their families for the rest of their lives.”

If the Irish win, the series will take place at Oracle Park, where the two schools will meet in a baseball game. That game is tentatively scheduled for March 25.

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