Sacred Heart Prep and Priory each had two teams playing Saturday in Northern California playoffs and all of them can be proud of what they’ve accomplished this season.
The same goes for Menlo School, which had its one team nearly pull off yet another miracle.
The Priory boys basketball team has rewritten its history the past two seasons. Despite dealing with all the complications stemming from COVID-19, Priory raised its profile.
Priory traveled about 130 miles north to take on top seeded Cloverdale, a school with a rich history in basketball, in the CIF NorCal Division V regional semifinals.
The Panthers went about their business, beating Cloverdale 64-50 to qualify for their first trip to the regional final, one step from the state championship contest, under coach David Moseley.
Fourth seeded Priory (19-11) meets No. 34 Stuart Hall (20-12) at 6 p.m. Tuesday inside San Francisco’s venerable Kezar Stadium.
The winner advances to Friday’s noon state final against either La Quinita (22-11) or Chaffey (23-12), who meet in the SouCal regional final on Tuesday.
Priory and Stuart Hall share four common opponents this season: Hillsdale, Half Moon Bay, Menlo and Pinewood. Stuart Hall beat all four while Priory beat Half Moon Bay, Menlo School and Pinewood.
The Sacred Heart Prep boys basketball team reached the NorCal regional semifinal game for the first time in school, losing to Clovis North, 64-58.
The Gators (25-5) went one game further than their 2015 counterparts, who finished 24-5.
Sacred Heart Prep was within two points with under three minutes to play but couldn’t get a couple of shots to fall down the stretch.
Aidan Braccia scored 22 points to pace SHP. Sachit Sinha added 13.
The Menlo girls basketball team, which was 5-7 at one point this season, came within inches of reaching the Division II regional final, losing to Antelope 45-44.
Karen Xin, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer in Menlo’s previous win over Caruthers, again hit a 3-pointer to bring Menlo within 45-44 with 45 seconds remaining.
The Knights (18-8) had two chances to win, with both shots skimming off the front of the rim.
The Priory girls fell behind early and never recovered in a 72-34 loss at Oakland Tech in Division III.
“They were the better team today,” Priory coach Buck Matthews said. “Their speed, their energy, the way they pushed the ball, was too much for us. There’s a silver lining that the boys are still in it. Based on how our season went, I couldn’t be prouder of the team.”
Priory (19-10) reached the Central Coast Section Open Division semifinal last season and after losing two players who are currently on college rosters, managed to reach the Division III NorCal regional semifinals.
The Panthers lose four players this season. Valentina Saric, the team’s leading scorer and one of the top scorers in the CCS, is headed to Morehead State. Sunishka Kartik will likely be attending a national junior college; Sydney Donovan has been getting some interest from college schools and Bianca Shi will take on academia.
Shi may be the biggest success story. She didn’t want to shoot and was terrified against Mitty last season.
“This year she was a team captain and defensive leader,” Matthews said. “She never subbed out.”
Donovan dealt with knee tendinitis this season.
“She has done everything possible to get on the court,” Matthews said. “She can’t run and really never got into shape this season. We need to get her healthy.”
The Sacred Heart Prep boys soccer team reached its first ever NorCal regional final, losing at top seeded Vintage in Napa, 2-1, in Division IV.
The Gators (16-6-2) finished second in the West Bay Athletic League and beat Menlo-Atherton 3-2 to win the CCS Division II title.