The big news of the night in East Bay basketball was No. 1 Salesian falling to No. 11 St. Joseph Notre Dame 57-54 in a Bay Shore Athletic League showdown. The Pilots’ 6-foot-10 Northern Colorado-bound senior center delivered 10 of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter and St. Joe’s went on a key 10-0 run in the third quarter to help spur the upset.
Beyond the upset of the top-ranked team, which is the second time in three days our No. 1 team has fallen after Bishop O’Dowd lost to Sacramento 86-85 in double overtime Monday, the Pilots’ win was notable for several reasons.
St. Joseph now takes over first place in the BSAL at 5-0, with the Pride falling to 4-1. The Pilots also now are in the drivers’ seat for the top seed in the BSAL playoffs, thanks in part to the league’s use of an unbalanced schedule. The nine teams play 12 league games, so each year a team only plays four of those teams once. This year, St. Joe’s and Salesian play just once in the regular season. So Salesian won’t have a chance at a rematch until the BSAL playoffs.
Another interesting point is that Salesian’s boys and girls basketball teams both entered the night undefeated and both suffered their first losses of the season to St. Joe’s as the Pride girls team also lost to the Pilots, 50-43.
Also of note, the game was taped by Comcast Hometown Network and will air on Thursday at 7 p.m. on Comcast Hometown Network, available on Channel 104 for Comcast subscribers. It will also be available on On Demand starting Friday.
Here’s a peak at my story for tomorrow’s paper:
St. Joseph Notre Dame High boys basketball coach Don Lippi encouraged his team to enjoy Wednesday’s opportunity to face top-ranked and undefeated Salesian.
The Pilots did more than that, impressing a packed house and television cameras with a 57-54 Bay Shore Athletic League upset win over the Pride, the No. 1 team in the Bay Area News Group-East Bay poll.
“I told them to seize the moment, this doesn’t happen very often,” Lippi said. “(Salesian) just got ranked No. 1, (the game’s) in their gym, on TV. How many time have you got a chance to do that, so let’s show them what we can do.”
St. Joseph’s 6-foot-10 senior center Brendan Keane scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and Dominic Lippi drained three critical second half 3-pointers to spark the victory for the No. 11 Pilots (14-5, 5-0 BSAL) in a game scheduled to air on tape delay Thursday on Comcast Hometown Network.
“This is big,” Keane said. “(Salesian is) obviously one of the best teams in Northern California. We had all the respect for them. … This is definitely a huge boost of confidence. We believe we can beat any team around.”
The Pilots stayed close in the first half despite foul trouble for the Northern Colorado-bound Keane, who picked up his second foul with 7:47 left in the second quarter and sat the remainder of the half. Salesian (16-1, 4-1) led 31-25 at the break.
A 10-0 run in the third quarter gave St. Joseph its first lead since the opening minutes of the game as Nick Lacy’s baseline layup made it 37-35. The Pride tied it at 39 entering the fourth quarter.
Dominic Lippi opened the final period with a 3-pointer and hit his third of the half with 3:28 to play to make it 51-46. The Pilots led 55-50 with 1:14 left after two free throws by Keane.
Salesian’s Mario Dunn scored, but St. Joseph answered with two free throws by Jacari Whitfield with 26.2 seconds left. The Pride’s Dominic Artis drove to make it 57-54 with 17.9 ticks remaining and a jump ball in the backcourt gave Salesian the ball with 12.3 to play.
Jabari Bird, who led the Pride with 13 points and 11 rebounds, missed a 3-pointer and a putback attempt by Markel Leonard also missed as the clock expired.
“(St. Joseph) defending us pretty well,” Salesian coach Bill Mellis said. “I thought they just made a few more plays than us.”