Timing is key in sports, a lesson the Bishop Diego girls basketball team learned the hard way on Friday night in its Frontier League play-in game against Villanova Prep.
After erasing a 10-point deficit in the second half, the Cardinals’ offense went cold over the final 2½ minutes, allowing the Wildcats to put away a 53-38 victory and claiming the vital third-place spot in the Frontier race.
“This was a game we really needed, and we just couldn’t get it done,” Cardinals coach Jeff Burich said. “We’re under .500 (8-14 overall), so we couldn’t petition CIF(-Southern Section) for an at-large berth. So this was it for us.”
With Thacher and La Reina claiming the top two spots in the league standings, and Bishop Diego tied with Villanova Prep for third at 3-5, the play-in game was needed to decide the final CIF-SS playoff berth.
The teams played the first half to a draw, but Villanova Prep pulled out a lead as big as 10 points in the third quarter. Bishop Diego fought back, cutting the gap to five (43-38) with 2:24 to play, but they went scoreless the rest of the game, allowing Villanova to pull away.
Taylor Pate had 17 points to lead Bishop Diego, while Julia De La Cruz added seven points.
VILLANOVA PREP 56, CATE 53
The Rams lost the Frontier title with 28 turnovers in a loss to the Wildcats.
Mason Oetgen and Parker May had 12 points each for Cate (11-4, 6-2), which will still qualify for the CIF-SS Division 5A playoffs.
Joey Kula led Villanova Prep (11-10, 7-1) with a game-high 18 points.
WESTMONT 5-2, CORBAN 0-0
The host Warriors held the Oregon-based Warriors to six hits over the doubleheader at Russ Carr Field, racking up 24 total strikeouts.
Grant Gardner threw seven scoreless innings in the opener, scattering four hits and striking out eight with one walk.
Westmont (2-0) got on the board with a Luke Coffey sacrifice fly in the fourth, followed by Taylor Garcia’s sac fly in the seventh to make it 2-0.
Taylor Bush then broke it open in the eighth with a two-run double, coming around to score later on a pinch-hit single by Lucas Still.
Isaiah Leach factored into both runs in the seven-inning nightcap, tripling home Coffey in the fourth for the first run, then immediately scoring on a Bush sac fly.
Corey Dawson threw five scoreless in the second game, allowing one hit and striking out 10.
NO. 12 SBCC 8-2, NO. 4 SADDLEBACK 3-1
The Vaqueros needed late-inning heroics twice to score a doubleheader sweep of the Gauchos in Mission Viejo.
SBCC (4-0) opened the day with an 11-inning victory, highlighted by a five-run 11th inning. Jacob Bravo went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the opener, including an RBI double in the 11th that started the rally. Benjamin Martz then added a three-run triple to break the game open.
In the nightcap, SBCC didn’t manage a hit through seven innings, but Bravo broke up the no-no with a leadoff double in the eighth. Nicholas Prainito drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth with a single to score Alex Holets.
Ian Churchill allowed one run on five hits over five innings in the second game, striking out 10.
RIVERSIDE 6, SBCC 3
The Vaqueros got singles wins from Jakob Rinschen and Ronan Casteleyn, and a doubles win by Rinschen and Casteleyn, in a non-conference loss to the Renegades.
CS LOS ANGELES 5, WESTMONT 2
The Warriors got singles wins from Isabel Lee and Emily Peterson in a road loss to the NCAA Division II Eagles.
RIVERSIDE 9, SBCC 0
The Renegades landed a complete sweep in singles and doubles over the Vaqueros.
The closest match of the day came at No. 1 singles, where Riverside’s Torrey Mateljan scored a 6-4, 6-4 win over SBCC’s Joica Buyse.
UCSB 3, BYU 0
Corey Chavers had 17 kills for the Gauchos (8-3) in their 25-22, 25-22, 25-20 non-conference victory over the Cougars at Rob Gym.
Keenan Sanders added five kills for UCSB, while Randy DeWeese dished out 23 assists.
SBCC 3, SAN DIEGO MIRAMAR 2
Calvin Sanborn had a match-high 23 kills to lead the Vaqueros to a 21-25, 25-18, 25-17, 26-28, 15-9 non-conference road victory over the Jets.
Blake Lockhart and Trenth Lingruen added 15 kills each in the win for SBCC (1-1), while Aaron Levin dished out 45 assists.