St. Joseph Notre Dame 61, University-San Francisco 43
The Star: Dominic Lippi had 16 points, including four three pointers.
The Turning Point: The Red Devils were able to cut the Pilots lead to just nine at the end of the third quarter, but St. Joe’s went on a 15-2 run to punch their ticket to Sacramento next week.
The Quote: “One of our captains – Jacari Whitfield – said the other day ‘it’s just a basketball game.’ And sometimes if you’ve never been here before it gets to be this magical thing,” Pilots coach Don Lippi said.
The Bottom Line: St. Joe’s wins its seventh Northern California championship and looks to clinch its third state title next week at Sacramento’s Power Balance Pavilion. The Pilots will go against St. Bernard-Play Del Rey of Los Angeles Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Dominic Lippi made a statement from the start for the St. Joseph Notre Dame boys basketball team.
The Pilots’ guard – who finished with 16 points – scored seven straight points early in the first quarter, part of St. Joe’s 17-0 run to start the game. The early surge helped send the Pilots to their seventh state championship game apperance with a 61-43 blowout of University-San Francisco.
“I’m very proud of the way the kids - second half especially - started to go inside a little bit more,” St. Joe’s coach Don Lippi. “… I don’t think that team has ever seen the defense that we had. Hopefully the team in the next round won’t have seen it either.”
The Pilots will face St. Bernard-Play Del Rey of Los Angeles next Friday in Sacramento for Division V state championship. The Vikings defeated Sierra Canyon Chatsworth in a nail biter, 61-59 Saturday.
The Red Devils were able to close the gap – after trailing 32-16 at the half – to just a nine-point deficit at the end of the third.
University’s optimism didn’t last long. During the break in between periods, Coach Lippi told his team to settle down.
“One of our captains – Jacari Whitfield - said the other day it’s just a basketball game,” he said. “And sometimes if you’ve never been here before, it gets to be this magical thing. ‘All these people, what are they doing here? All these pressers (media) around, this must be important,” he said.
Lippi’s talk worked.
At the start of the fourth, St. Joe’s pulled away for good, going on a 15-2 run that sealed its ticket to the state capital next week.
The coach said that he sat with his son - Dominic - at dinner last night and told him just to hang loose on the court.
“Well I know him pretty well, and we talked yesterday at dinner,” the elder Lippi said. "And I told him - and told the team today - just have fun.”
Lippi credited telling the team to have fun on a book he’s been reading.
“The book I talked about was “Mental Toughness in Sports,” and it said your ideal performance state is achieved through six categories…and the last is if you’re ready to engage in fun,” he said.
The Pilots will be going for their fourth state title when they play St. Bernard next Friday at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento at 1:30 p.m.
St. Joseph Notre Dame 61, University 431 2 3 4 F
University8 8 15 12 43 St. Joe's 17 15 8 21 61 Individuals — (fg ftm-fta tp) University
Getz 3 5-7 11, Enriquez 3 2-2 11, Mah 1 0-0 3, Medoff 2 0-0 5, Schneider 1 1-2 4, Carroll 2 0-0 4, Springwater 1 0-1 2, Gale 1 1-4 3. Totals 15 9-16 43.St. Joe's Whitfield 3 2-2 8, Lippi 6 2-2 16, Woods 1 0-0 2, Lacy 2 0-0 4, Givens 2 3-4 8, Keane 8 1-1 17, Garrett 3 0-0 6. Totals 25 6-7 61. 3-point goals: University - Enriquez, Mah, Medoff, Schneider. St. Joe's - Lippi 4, Givens. Records: University 28-7, St. Joe's 26-8
NorCal Division V finals, boys basketball, 3/19/2011Follow Patch Sports East Bay on Twitter