Village Chr. makes most of opening act

SACRAMENTO -- Jon Shaw has spent the past two weeks with a broken foot after coaching Village Christian through the CIF-Southern Section and state boys' basketball playoffs.

His players broke a leg in their opening act in the Division V playoffs, knocking off St. Joseph Notre Dame, 62-51, in a physical final at Power Balance Pavilion on Saturday.

Sophomore Bryan Alberts scored a game-high 17 points in an otherwise low-scoring affair. Village Christian won its first CIF state championship in its first trip. St. Joseph was denied its fifth state title in its eighth trip to the championship game.

Shaw said his players embraced the chance to play on the biggest stage in high school basketball. But he refrained from making any predictions about what the future holds for his team, even with two talented sophomores on his roster.

“Be happy with today,” Shaw said. “Live in the moment. We are very blessed.”

Geremy Givens scored 14 points and made four 3-pointers for St. Joseph Notre Dame. He had a different opinion about how the final scene of his team’s season played out.

“I think we gave our all,” Givens said. “We didn’t get the movie ending that we wanted, but this ain’t Hollywood.”

Alberts was the scoring star for Village Christian, but it was Joe Shashaty’s 3-point shooting that put St. Joseph Notre Dame away in the second half.

He scored 12 points, took only four shots, all 3-pointers, and came up with some big plays at key moments of the game.

He hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. The first gave his team a 50-43 lead right after senior Marquis Salmon fouled out of the game.

Shashaty’s next 3-pointer gave Village Christian a 53-45 lead with three minutes to play in the game. He opened the second half with a 3-pointer that put Village Christian up 23-18.

“That really hurt us,” St. Joseph Notre Dame coach Don Lippi said. “They have some nice players.”

Neither team reached double figures until the second quarter. Village Christian held an 8-4 lead after the first quarter. Both teams struggled to score in the first half. Village Christian made only six field goals and shot 35 percent (6-for-17). St. Joseph Notre Dame was even worse, taking nine more shots, but shooting only 23 percent.

Village Christian held the Pilots (29-5) to 28 percent shooting from the field. Meanwhile the Crusaders (32-3) shot 50 percent (21-for-42) from the field and made 46 percent (6-for-13) of their 3-pointers.

Four players from Village Christian scored in double figures. Salmon finished with 12 points and five rebounds. Marsalis Johnson scored 11 points.

“I can’t say enough about these young men and how much they’ve grown,” Shaw said. “We knew it was going to be a street fight. We go to work and prepare them to beat the best.”

Temidayo Yussef had a double-double for St. Joseph Notre Dame with 15 points and 13 rebounds. He was 9-for-10 from the free-throw line.

“These kids played tremendous,” Lippi said. “We don’t see that in the Bay Area much. It was a lot to their size and their length. It’s hard for these kids to adjust on the fly like this.”