SFC title hopes dashed

On Feb. 3, the Santa Fe Christian Eagles (19-8, 6-2) boys basketball team lost to the Army-Navy Academy 60-52. All SFC had to do on Senior Night, Feb. 20, at the Solana Beach school, was beat ANA in their rematch to be co-champions of the Costal League North.

But, in a back-and-forth contest that was still up in the air going into the last quarter, ANA Warriors’ Rafael Rodriguez and Derrick Buchanan put on a two-man show scoring a combined 53 points beating the Eagles 61-49.

The first quarter saw both teams playing tough man-to-man defense as Buchanan opened the game with a 2-point bucket. The lead changed four times until San Diego’s leading three-pointer shooter, SFC’s Karl Holmlund buried a trey giving the Eagles an 8-4 lead.

Holmlund would hit another three-pointer giving SFC a 15-8 lead. But, ANA stormed back as Buchanan scored a basket at the buzzer 15-12. Rodriguez and Buchanan had 6 points each for ANA, and SFC’s Tyler Davis 7 points and Holmlund 6 points that quarter.

With both teams using screens and picks to free up their shooters and cutters to the basket, the second quarter saw another back and forth contest. Neither team had more than a 3-point lead, until Rodriguez hit a trey putting the Warriors up 33-27.

But SFC’s Kyle Hubbard hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer giving ANA a 33-30 halftime lead. Rodriguez had 3 treys and 17 points in the second quarter. Buchanan’s 10 points and Rodriguez’ 23 points accounted for ANA’s 33 first-half points. SFC got two more 3-pointers from Holmlund and 4 points from Davis that quarter.

The third quarter started with Tommy Mallon draining a 3, knotting it up at 33-33. But, ANA closed out the quarter with a 6-0 run, outscoring SFC 16-8 with Rodriguez and Buchanan scoring 10 points to leave it at 49-42.

ANA finally took a double-digit lead with 3 minutes to play, as Rodriguez scored an old-fashioned 3-point play (2 point basket and successful free throw). As time started to run out, SFC started to reign treys, but only Holmlund hit one 61-49.

The playoffs begin next week and the SFC Eagles may get another chance at ANA down the road in the C.I.F. Division 4 Championship games.