Matthew Cunningham’s game-high 23 points helped lead a balanced scoring attack for the Bishop Diego boys basketball team, which defeated de Toledo Saturday night by a score of 65-58.
Cunningham was one of five players for Bishop (19-11) to notch double figures in the CIF-SS Div. 5AA second round playoff game, while Tyler Williams, Bryan Trejo and Kai Morphy each finished with 11 points and Connor Streett added 10.
The Jaguars (14-10) were able to take a 29-28 lead at the half, as big men Yarden Leshem and Jonah Dobkin were able to give the Cardinals fits on the glass. The Cardinals outscored de Toledo 23-15 in the third to take control of the game.
“I felt like in the second half we really had to grow up a little bit on defense, and we really were able to get it done,” coach James Coronado told the News-Press by phone after the win. “We got the boards and the stops when they mattered the most.”
The Jaguars tried to slow Cunningham down in the second half by deploying a box-and-one defense, as they dedicated one defender to the junior sharpshooter and played zone with the other four guys. The Cardinals were able to use key screens and player movement to confuse the Jaguar defenders, with Williams and Streett knocking down clutch shots in the third.
Things are really coming together at just the right time for Coronado and company. Bishop has added several transfer players midseason and has dealt with its fair share of injuries to get to this point, though Coronado said the team’s belief has only gotten stronger as the season has unfolded.
“As we went through the year, I started seeing my guys had different skill sets and I had my idea on how to get things done and they had theirs, but we were able to come together and battle through injuries and guys sitting out due to eligibility issues,” he said. “We’re all just clicking at the same time and now that we’re on the same page we’re hoping to keep it rolling.”
Their chemistry will be put to the test in a big way Tuesday, as the Cardinals, ranked No. 9 in Div. 5AA, will host third-ranked Estancia. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.