Overtime Fatigue Foils Boys’ NorCal Run


Colette Wright and Isabel Owens, Design Editor and Staff Writer

Archbishop Riordan prevailed 72-68 over the boys’ basketball team in the NorCal Division III regional semi-finals on March 18. The 2nd seeded Cougars could not hold off a final push by the visiting crusaders after sending the game into overtime on a last minute shot.

The Cougars were confident heading into the contest. “I thought we could go to NorCal this year because the number one seat just lost last week. I knew this would be a tough game but I thought we could win it,” said Renee Zolintakis, the mother of star player senior Andrew Zolintakis.

“Our expectations were to win and make it to Norcal finals. We didn’t execute as well in the 1st half, but we came back strong in the 2nd half,” said senior Justin Dunn. The Cougars trailed the Crusaders for most of the 1st quarter.

Coach Matt Watson believed the team played nervously in the first half. “We were almost 100% under our average which was very tough for u. We just had a bad shooting night,” he said.

“We missed a lot of good open looks, we had a lot of shots we normally make and they just didn’t go in. It was a bad shooting night for us and obviously it happened at the worst time,” said Watson.

Campolindo trailed at the half, 21-29.

According to Andrew Zolintakis, the Cougars’ strategy was to put a lot of pressure on Jiday Ugbaja, Archbishop’s best player.

At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Crusaders led 41-35.

The tide turned in the 4th quarter, with a 3 point shot from senior Andrew Cassidy bringing the score to 45-44. According to Dunn, unfortunately, fatigue was a factor in the closing minutes of the game.

In the last 2 seconds, Zolintakis scored a basket that tied the game. With the score 61-61, the contest went into overtime.

Campolindo continued to struggle and the Crusaders pulled ahead for good.  The overtime period ended with the score 72-68, in favor of Riordan.

According to Watson, Campolindo managed to produce on offense in spite of the absence of Matt O’ Reilly, one of the lead offensive players. “Andrew Zolintakis had 38 points, he had a huge game and really kind of carried us on his back, he did a tremendous job, as well as Walter Brennan and Isaac Christian. Defense did a great job tonight as well,” Watson said.

“We’ve been a dynamite team all year long and in the first half we just didn’t play the way we normally play, it’s just kind of the way it is. It’s the way it goes sometimes. High school athletics don’t always go the way you expect them to go, but they’re a great group of kids and they played hard,” Watson said.

The seniors were especially disappointed. “I don’t feel too good now. I’m a senior so this is it for me. I’m done with high school sports, so it’s pretty sad. Unfortunately, we lost but that’s how it is. I’m looking forward to watch the campo team next year,” said Dunn.

“I think we could have played a lot better because I think we were the better team,” said Andrew Zolintakis.

Watson was still proud of his players. “They ended with a loss, but what they did all season long was absolutely tremendous, these guys are league champions and they did a great job,” he said. “Obviously this loss tonight is a huge deterant on what we did, but the whole body of work and what they are, I couldn’t be more proud of what they’ve accomplished,” he added.

“I think [Christian] and the whole team played their hearts out. They never gave up. I’m disappointed for them that the season’s over, but they’ll bounce back,” Kathy Christian, Isaac Christian’s mother, said.