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March 9, 2013The stage is set for one of the most highly-anticipated rematches in recent memory after Sheldon beat foul-plagued Serra of San Mateo in first-round action of the newly-formed NorCal Open division, 71-50.
The tone was set by the rugged play of 6-foot-5 post Matt Jajeh, who would foul out early n the fourth quarter, but the rough-and-tumble ways of the West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) were not to be in this one as Serra rang up eight first quarter fouls, including three on star forward Henry Caruso, and the Padres never recovered.
Down just four after one period, despite a solid first quarter by Sheldon star D'Erryl Williams (who would tie for team-high honors with Darin Johnson at 20 points each), Serra was still within striking distance.
The Padres, however, shot themselves in the foot as they couldn't hit open perimeter shots or attempts at point-blank range and the Huskies subsequently took full advantage as their lead literally grew by leaps and bounds as Sheldon got it's high-wire act on track with defense. The results included rim-rattling dunks by Dakarai Allen and Johnson and Sheldon put together a 25-8 stampede in the second quarter that staked them to a 40-19 halftime lead.
Sheldon had foul troubles of their own as Allen sat for a while in the second quarter, but 6-foot-6 freshman Ian Miller contributed valuable minutes to keep Sheldon on track.
Serra guards Jacqui Biggins, Sean Watkins, and Andre Miller had problems seeing over the taller Huskies, but nonetheless came out of the locker room in an aggressive state-of-mind in the second half as they either attacked the rim on every trip up the floor or fed the 6-foot-5 Caruso.
Caruso, headed to Princeton next fall, finished with a game-high 25 points and was a thorn in the Huskies' side in the third quarter as he converted opportunities in the paint and knocked down a couple of jumpers as Serra cut the lead to nine after two free throws by senior reserve forward Jeramey Fields at the conclusion of the third quarter, but on this night, Sheldon had an answer for any run Serra could muster.
Ryan Manning (who fouled out with 15 points) and Johnson both knocked down some long-distance three-pointers and guard Antonio Lewis added 10 for the four-time Sac-Joaquin champs.
The Huskies will now prepare to battle defending Div. IV champs Salesian at Albany high next Tuesday night in a rematch of a contest won by the Pride on February 2nd, 69-60.