BBK: Saddleback Valley Christian reaches CIF final over Bishop Diego

Bishop Diego vs Saddleback Christian Valley CIF Basketball

Miles Seward elevates for a jump shot over Bishop Diego’s Grant Sexton in Friday night’s CIF semifinal. (Presidio Sports Photos)

Eric Rwahwire and Miles Seward scored 21 points each on Friday night as Saddleback Valley Christian defeated Bishop Diego 70-48  in the semifinal round of the CIF Division-5AA playoff.

Saddleback Valley Christian (25-5) advances to the championship game next weekend. The Warriors will play winner of Saturday’s game between San Gabriel Academy and Pacifica Christian.

DIVISION 5AA CIF BRACKET

Irshaad Hunte - Saddleback Valley Christian

Irshaad Hunte, a sophomore from Saddleback Valley Christian, gets up to block a shot attempt by Bishop Diego’s Thomas Lash.

The top-seeded Warriors have won 15 straight and led by double digits for most of the second half.

“We would have had to have played perfect tonight and they would have had to be off a little bit,” said Bishop Diego head coach Dean Prophet. “(Seward) wasn’t off, and we didn’t play perfect, so that was the result we got tonight.”

Most of Rwahwire’s points came in transition while Seward barely missed from the perimeter. In the paint, 6’8″ sophomore Irshaad Hunte contributed 17 points and a handful of blocks.

“I’m more of a shooter, so when I feel it, I get hot, it’s just there,” Seward said.

One of just two seniors that played on Friday for SVC, Seward knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 19 of his 21 after the first quarter.

Bishop Diego held its own in the first quarter, leading for much of the period. After SVC took a 4-0 lead, the Cardinals went on a 9-2 run sparked by Peter Kwock.

The senior guard drove into the lane and kicked out to Grant Sexton for a three-pointer. Kwock then scored the next two baskets, followed by a Thomas Lash baby hook that made the score 9-5 Bishop Diego.

“They gave us a good fight, they competed,” said Warriors head coach Tom Lewis. “I have to give the other team’s coaches credit, they had them prepared.”

“We had to show up and we really had to work for the win.”

Bishop Diego made another run at the Warriors in the third quarter. Down 12 at halftime, Kwock made a steal and a layup to start the quarter. Nick Busch then got hot, scoring five straight Cardinal points to shrink the lead to nine points twice.

But Busch picked up his fourth foul, sending him to the bench, and SVC pushed its lead to a game-high 16 points soon after.

Kwock, who led the Cardinals with 13 points, was impressed by the way SVC handled itself on the road in a big-time game.

“They executed really well. When we started getting momentum, they stayed poised,” Kwock said.

The Warriors also had superior strength, quickness and length, putting it to great use on the defensive end. Bishop Diego never seemed comfortable in its half-court offense all night.

“Scoring is one thing, but our defense was the reason why we’ve done well this season,” Lewis said.

Saddleback Valley Christian is especially confident in the second half.

“What we try to do is make it a full-court game so that fatigue becomes a factor,” said Lewis.

The Warriors ended up scoring a game-high 21 points in the final quarter to Bishop Diego’s 12, making it a 20-point margin.

“We felt prepared for this game and we thought the score didn’t really reflect how hard we played,” Kwock said.

Bishop Diego’s season ends with a record of 18-11. The Cardinals won three CIF playoff games after finishing tied for second in the Tri-Valley League.

“It was pretty touching inside there,” Prophet said of the vibe in the post-game locker room. “They were hugging each other and thanking each other for the season. It was a real positive thing to see. I think these guys bonded more as a team than any other I’ve had at Bishop.”

SADDLEBACK VALLEY CHRISTIAN 70, BISHOP DIEGO 48

SVC – Crutchfield 1, Edwards 3, Seward 21, Rwahwire 21, Bearder 7, Hunte 16.

BD – Kwock 13, Sexton 3, W. Busch 10, Lash 11, N. Busch 10, Agnoli 1.

SVC  18 15 16 21 – 70
BD    11  10  15 12 – 48

 

Irshaad Hunte and Miles Seward - SVC Basketball

Saddleback Valley Christian’s Irshaad Hunte, left, and Miles Seward, right, who combined for 38 points, mingle at mid-court during a free-throw attempt in the fourth quarter.

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