Basketball St. Anthony

CIF Basketball: St. John Bosco Edges St. Anthony In Open Finale

On its surface, there wasn’t much at stake in St. Anthony and St. John Bosco’s CIF-SS Open Division pool play clash on Friday night in Jack Errion Gym. State seeding implications, bragging rights, that was about it. But you wouldn’t have known it from the intensity of the crowd and both teams in a defensive battle that eventually saw the Braves prevail, 56-52.

“I thought we played great defense, they got a lot of their points on free throws,” said Bosco coach Matt Dunn. There has been a lot of talk about the various formats the Open Division has had over the years–single elimination, consolation brackets, and now pool play. “I’ve been in the Open five times, it’s never been the same. I don’t know how I feel about it. I guess one lesson is don’t start with a loss.”

The Braves got big 3-pointers from Brian Camper and Isaiah Holm in the first quarter, which helped them quickly built a 16-7 lead, which they never relinquished. The Saints kept it close at the free throw line in the second quarter, as Jadon Jones scored five to make it 31-25 Bosco at halftime.

Jones hit five free throws early in the third quarter to make it a one-point game, but Bosco closed on a 10-1 run to take a commanding lead into the fourth quarter, where the Saints chipped away at the lead  to come within three with 21 seconds left. Camper made a free throw to end the game and give Bosco the edge going into State, where Dunn is hoping his team will end up in Division 1, not the Open Division.

“I hope they take some teams from other sections for the Open Division, otherwise we’e made a farce of the state tournament,” he said.

Wynton Brown led Bosco with 15 points, backed up by Camper’s 14.

Saints coach Allen Caveness said his team just didn’t have the scoring Friday to hang with Bosco.

“We had stretches where we didn’t make shots and they did,” he said. “It just came down to they knocked down shots. We held them to 56 which is a decent number but our three best shooters go 6-for-25. It’s on me, on us as coaches to find out ways to get us easier baskets.”

The Saints were led by Jadon Jones’ 18 points.

Both teams await the state brackets, which will be released a week from Sunday.

VIDEO: St. Anthony vs St. John Bosco CIF Basketball

PHOTOS: St. Anthony vs. St. John Bosco CIF Basketball

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.