Charley Moore scored 15 points and Max Fried scored 14 and grabbed 19 rebounds to lead University over Monterey 44-41 Tuesday at Kezar Pavilion in the CIF Division 3 Northern California regional final.
The Red Devils (27-9) won their fifth NorCal title to advance to face La Jolla Country Day at 4 p.m. Friday in a state-title game at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. University will be after its first state crown.
University built a 15-point lead early in the fourth quarter only to see it cut to two, because of full-court pressure by the Toreadors and some missed free-throw tries.
“They’ve been coming back all tournament,” Moore said of Monterey. “We knew they would battle.”
University led 36-21 early in the fourth quarter before the Toreadors (25-5) went on a 17-4 run. The Red Devils struggled against the pressure, committing six turovers in the quarter and 17 in the game. To make matters worse, University made just two of eight foul shots in the final period.
“That was super sloppy,” Fried said. “Hopefully, we can clean it up for the final.”
Monterey had the ball in the final minute but couldn’t convert. Mohammed Adam dribbled the ball off his foot. Fried then scored on a drive at the other end to make it 42-38 after University was stuck on 40 for what seemed like half an hour.
Suheil Ibrahim hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to cut the deficit to 43-41, but the Toreadors pulled no closer. Adam attempted a 3-pointer for the tie in the closing seconds, but it hit iron and Charlie Kennedy secured the rebound.
“Crazy,” Fried said when asked how he felt about going to a state final. “I feel like I’m dreaming right now.”
James Logan-Union City 54, Branson-Ross 49: At Logan, Malcolm Steadman had 17 points, Brahjon Thompson 15 and Brett Thompson 14 as the top-seeded Colts (27-6) remained patient while winning their second Division 1 title in three years. The second-seeded Bulls (31-3) got 20 points from Viktor Rajkovic and 14 from Kwentyn Wiggins. Branson had won 28 straight games. Rajkovic, a 6-foot-6 senior, hit four straight buckets, the last one a jumper from the right wing to put Branson up 42-41. From there, the game see-sawed, before two free throws by Rajkovic gave Branson a 48-46 lead with 2:27 left. Brahjon Thompson then made a beautiful driving layup en route to a three-point play with 1:28 and Logan was ahead to stay. Logan will play defending champion Chino Hills at 8 p.m. Friday state-title game at Golden 1. “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” Brett Thompson said.
Campolindo-Moraga 59, Serra 38: In the Division 2 title game at Campolindo, Carter Mahaney scored 18 points and Aidan Mahaney added 16 as the second-seeded Cougars (26-7) won their second NorCal championship by breaking open a close game with a 20-8 run in the second quarter. That gave Campo a 14-point halftime lead. Serra (20-10) struggled to get on track offensively against Campo’s smothering defense. The ninth-seeded Padres trimmed the deficit to 12 points early in the fourth quarter. Then the Mahaney brothers took control, hitting jumper after jumper. David Ahazie scored 10 points and Emmanuel Callas had nine for Campo, which reached the state final for the second time in five seasons. The Cougars will face Colony-Ontario (31-5) at 4 p.m. Saturday. Cade Rees led Serra with 16 points.
MaxPreps senior writer Mitch Stephens contributed to this report.
Damin Esper is a freelance writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/5th-NorCal-title-puts-University-in-state-final-13666255.php.