St. Joseph-Notre Dame steam-rolls over Renaissance Academy
Division V State Championship:
St. Joseph Notre Dame 57, Renaissance Academy 32By Gerry Freitas
SACRAMENTO- The St. Joseph-Notre Dame Pilots used a stifling 2-3 zone defense to completely dismantle the Renaissance Academy Wildcats 57-32 on Friday afternoon at Sleep Train Arena for the Division V State championship.
St. Joseph finishes the season 31-5 in winning their fifth state title in 10 tries. Renaissance closes out the year at 24-8 in their first finals appearance ever.
St. Joseph never trailed in the game and incredibly held the Wildcats to ZERO points in the second quarter to pull ahead 29-8 at the halftime break.
This one was never in doubt. St. Joe's was a team on a mission and was completely dominant. They shot a very impressive 61% on 27 of 44 from the field and held a 36-16 rebounding advantage.
Renaissance had no answers for the Pilots' zone and shot a miserable 25% (10-40) from the field for the game. Renaissance coach Sid Cooke said St. Joe's zone, playing in a big arena and jitters were all issues for his team. He felt the fact St. Joe's "had been here before" was also a big factor in the game.
St. Joseph had been here in the finals last season and lost on a 35-foot shot at the buzzer. It was something the Pilots did not forget. Head coach Don Lippi was asked how much last season's game meant in regards to his team's dominant performance in this one. "A lot." said the coach.
Interestingly, Lippi put a picture of last year's buzzer beating shot in St. Joe's gym. The team had to look at it each day as a reminder. That picture was burned in a garbage can at the school Friday morning. "We needed a new picture," said Lippi. Well coach, now you have one.
Long Beach State-bound Temidayo Yussuf (who also won a state title as a freshman) was a monster in this one for the Pilots, scoring 21 points and collecting 16 rebounds. Yussuf was asked how long it took him to get over last season's loss. He simply replied, "Until today."
Junior Lamont Banks chipped in with 14 points and 7 rebounds for St. Joe's. Renaissance was led by junior Marquise Mosley with 12 points and senior KJ Okmanas had 10.
St. Joseph-Notre Dame (57): Jade' Smith 6, Esteban Lovato 8, Lamont Banks 14, Temidayo Yussuf 21, Elijah Fisher 2, Miles Harris 4, Darne Duckett 2.
Renaissance Academy (32): KJ Okmanas 10, Marty Gaizauskas 4, Marquise Mosley 12, Steve Herve 6.