First published in the Feb. 24 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
A fine season for the St. Francis High School varsity boys’ basketball team came to a close as the Golden Knights fell to visiting JSerra Catholic of San Juan Capistrano, 65-56, in a CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinal game last Friday at SFHS.
St. Francis head coach Todd Wolfson perhaps put it best: the Golden Knights “ran out of gas” in the final quarter as they were outscored 20-8.
“All of a sudden, shots were short, short, short, which usually means tired legs,” Wolfson said.
With the score knotted 48 apiece with 7:50 remaining in the final quarter, the two schools traded baskets until JSerra drained a 3-pointer to take the lead for good, 53-52. That basket sparked a deciding 12-2 JSerra scoring run to send the Golden Knights home.
SFHS was led by senior captain Buckley DeJardin, who collected a team-high 23 points and nine rebounds.
The Golden Knights gained their first lead to open the third quarter and maintained the advantage throughout the period. Junior Brandin Dantzler, who registered eight points and seven boards, took the lead on a 3-pointer with 7:40 remaining to make it 36-35.
With 1:28 remaining in the first quarter, St. Francis finished on a 7-2 scoring run to tie the game, 15-15, capitalized by junior Luke McGrath’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. He finished with seven points and five rebounds.
“That was a great shot; we got a little confidence in the first quarter,” Wolfson said. “Any shot you close a quarter with is a big shot because it gives you momentum moving forward, so I was very happy about that.”
Senior Jake Goldberg posted 13 points and five rebounds while junior Jackson Mosley finished with five points and seven rebounds.
The Golden Knights, who placed third in the highly competitive Mission League with a 4-2 record, finished with a 25-6 overall mark.
SFHS 53, HERITAGE CHRISTIAN 49
The Golden Knights defeated visiting Northridge Heritage Christian in a second-round game on Feb. 15.
DeJardin, who surpassed 1,000 career points, posted a team-high 18 points and seven rebounds. He became Wolfson’s second player to exceed 1,000 career points, while DeJardin is second in total points to only former SFHS standout Andre Henry — the school’s all-time leading scorer, according to assistant coach Chris Acker.
“I started on the freshman team. It’s always about moving up,” DeJardin said. “You aren’t going to be on varsity right away, but it’s all about progressing, getting better and working hard. Those things are going to translate to everything in your life.”
Dantzler and McGrath each scored 11 points. Goldberg collected nine points and two steals, while Mosley finished with four points and seven boards.
SFHS 47, SANTA CLARITA CHRISTIAN 35
The Golden Knights opened their postseason by logging a road victory over Canyon Country Santa Clarita Christian. DeJardin had 10 points, four rebounds and two steals while Goldberg and Mosley each scored 11 points. Dantzler registered two points, six rebounds and five assists, while McGrath posted three points and five boards.
DeJardin, one of four seniors graduating this year, led the Golden Knights in three major categories, posting averages of 19 points, eight rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Goldberg was SF’s second-leading scorer, averaging 15.1 points, 5.6 boards, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
“It was fun, and I’m going to miss the seniors and all they gave our program,” Wolfson said.
Mosely posted averages of eight points, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game, while Dantzler registered 6.1 points, seven rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals. McGrath and junior George Tupy averaged 5.4 and 5.3 points per game, respectively.