The Sacred Heart Prep boys basketball team did everything it needed to do to win its first Central Coast Section title in seven years, beating visiting The King's Academy 62-48 in capturing the Division IV crown Saturday night.
Offensively the Gators needed to play at their own pace. "They tried to slow us down," SHP senior post Harrison Carrington said. "We just tried to focus on ourselves."
Sacred Heart Prep (15-7) also need production out of their scorers. Carrington and junior Aidan Braccia combined for 39 points.
The Gators needed to slow down The King's Academy star athlete Noah Short, who earlier in the day qualified second in the 100 meters at the CCS track and field semifinals in Soquel. The 100 went off at about 3:15 p.m.
Short, who scored over 70 points in his previous two games, was limited to 12 points thanks to a rotating set of defensive players. Short, headed to West Point to play football, among other things, may not have had his legs but he played at full speed.
"The guy works hard," Braccia said. "I have no doubt he could do both."
The Gators also handled themselves with distinction in their willingness to take a charge. Braccia and Mat Bucher each took a charge at key moments of the fourth quarter, when TKA was showing signs of gaining some momentum.
And SHP did not panic when The King's Academy rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to tie the game at 37 with 2:43 remaining to play in the third quarter.
Braccia hit a 3-pointer, grabbed a key rebound and then hit another basket on a backdoor play and the Gators were never in trouble again.
"This is a great way to go out," Carrington said. "I can't ask for anything better, especially after such a weird year."
Carrington spent most of the past year bonding with his family at home, playing video games and doing a lot of basketball work around the net in front of his house.
"I was always hoping for a season," Carrington said. "At times I didn't think it would happen but I wanted to stay in shape in case we got the opportunity to play."
Carrington has received some attention from college scouts but has decided to spend a year at a prep school in Massachusetts to build up his muscle and his basketball acumen.
Braccia will be spending his summer traveling to basketball events across the country in hopes of gaining further exposure. He's already received four offers, including one from San Jose State.
"That's a new coaching staff and I love what they're doing, recruiting locally," Braccia said.
Until then, the Gators can celebrate a successful end to an eventful year.
The West Bay Athletic League was also represented in the Division V boys final, where Pinewood (6-9) fell to visiting Shasta Summit, 68-63.