HomeBlocksFront-GridSt. Francis Edges Spartans, 48-44

St. Francis Edges Spartans, 48-44

First published in the Dec. 22 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

The St. Francis High School varsity boys’ basketball team won its sixth consecutive meeting against intracity rival La Cañada, 48-44, in a nonleague game at LCHS last Friday.
“It’s great to compete against [La Cañada]. We’ve won six in a row but every single time it’s a four-, six-, eight-point game,” SFHS head coach Todd Wolfson said. “Hats off to coach [Tom] Hofman; he does a phenomenal job and I have the utmost respect for him and his program.”
Neither the Golden Knights nor the Spartans shot the ball particularly well as each team finished with a sub-.500 field goal percentage. The 48 points for SFHS and 44 points for LCHS were both programs’ second-lowest game totals this season. But much of the shooting woes should be credited to excellent defense by both teams.
“We couldn’t score. I think we only made one three, but we kept ourselves in it by playing defense and offensive rebounding. Those are big staples for us and it paid dividends in the end,” Wolfson said. “Defense is going to keep you in games. You might not win them all but it is going to keep you in them.”
SFHS claimed the lead in the fourth quarter on a basket by senior Brandin Dantzler to make it 42-41. Senior captains Jackson Mosley and Luke McGrath helped secure a victory on six consecutive made free throws which extended SF’s lead 48-41 and punctuated a 10-2 scoring run.

<sub>La Cañada High School junior Jack Reynolds No 10 white jersey racked up a game high 17 points with four rebounds and two steals against visiting St Francis in a nonleague game last week<sub>

LCHS junior Anders Petersen, who produced five points, seven rebounds, four steals and one assist, scored the final basket from near half-court as time expired to put the final score at 48-44.
“Todd does a good job up there and it is fun to play them. They have gotten better over the years, so it’s a little more challenging but I was happy tonight; we competed well and it was fun,” LCHS head coach Tom Hofman said. “It was a good game for us. We’d like to make some of those shots at the end but just to have a chance to win the game at the end against a team of that caliber shows that we’ve come a long way.”
In the second quarter, St. Francis and La Cañada traded leads seven times in the first five minutes. The Spartans found their rhythm as they shot a perfect 5-for-5 from behind the arc, including three in a row to maintain a narrow 24-22 advantage at halftime. Meanwhile, Mosley scored the visiting Knights’ lone 3-pointer in the second quarter to temporarily cut the deficit to 21-20.
St. Francis senior George Tupy, who recorded seven points and seven rebounds, opened the scoring in the second half with a slam dunk to tie the game at 24-24.
The Spartans answered with a 5-0 scoring run by junior Jack Reynolds, who racked up a game-high 17 points with four rebounds and two steals.“Jack’s a really solid point guard for us,” Hofman said. “He’s only a junior but he’s come a long way from last year.”
La Cañada was limited to just two field goals the rest of the third quarter while St. Francis responded with an 8-0 scoring to gain a narrow 34-33 advantage.
In the first quarter, it took nearly two minutes for either team to make the first basket of the game until LCHS senior Evan Mulcahey drained a 3-pointer. The Golden Knights responded on a three-point play by McGrath, who tied the game on his and-one free throw.
St. Francis quickly added a pair of field goals by Dantzler and senior Kj Fulgencio to capitalize a 7-0 scoring run and take the Knights’ first lead of the game in the process.

<sub>St Francis High School students wearing Christmas attire packed the stands at the Battle of Foothill Boulevard boys basketball game at La Cañada High School<sub>

La Cañada responded with its own pair of field goals by senior Samuel
Guerrero and Reynolds to produce the third of 19 total lead changes in a back-and-forth rivalry matchup. Guerrero finished the contest with eight points and two assists.
The score was knotted at 7-7 until SFHS junior Greg Gazarian, who scored 10 points, made a basket with less than a minute remaining in the opening quarter to give the visitors a 9-7 advantage.
“Greg Gazarian was phenomenal. We needed buckets early and he was great,” Wolfson said. “He stepped up huge for us the last couple of games and we’re going to continue to count on him.”
Mosley posted a double-double for St. Francis with 15 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and one block, Dantzler registered eight points, nine boards, two steals, one block and one assist, McGrath finished with four points, two rebounds, one block and one steal, and junior Ethan Childs had two points, six rebounds and one steal.
As a team, the Golden Knights shot 7-for-7 while the Spartans went 0-for-2 from the charity stripe.
LCHS junior Matthew Plocher registered six points, three assists and one rebound, sophomore Josh Pastor scored five points with one steal and one assist, and Mulcahey produced three points, three rebounds, one block and one steal. Senior Jacob Pastor collected two assists, two rebounds, one block and one steal while sophomore Josh Proctor had one assist, one block and one rebound.
“We don’t have a starter back from last year; this is a brand new team,” Hofman said. “I think they are all generally playing pretty well and I am happy with what I saw tonight.”
St. Francis (11-2 overall) and La Cañada (7-4 overall) will each compete in the Damien Classic in La Verne beginning on Monday, Dec. 26.


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