Boys' basketball: Four years after exodus, St. Bernard is playing for state title

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider

In the summer of 2012, St. Bernard hit rock bottom. Reggie Morris Jr. resigned as basketball coach and athletes throughout the sports program started a mass exodus after changes were made to the financial aid system. The school was in turmoil.

Fast forward to Thursday at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. St. Bernard will be playing Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame at noon for the state Division V championship.

Stability has finally returned under fourth-year Coach Mitch Runco, who was an assistant coach in 2012-13, then took over the program with seven games left.

"I try to forget about that year," he said  "It sounded like financial aid was given out that shouldn't have and once those players didn't receive financiial aid anymore, they went running."

Students have returned. The sports program is starting to have success again.

St. Bernard (19-16) finished second this season in the tough Del Rey League behind Bishop Montgomery. Guards Adam Amanuel and Robert Fuller are averaging close to 17 points a game, and guard Julian Ross is also a key player. Freshman Romelle Mansel, who's 6-feet-6, and 6-6 senior Damian Landry also make major contributions.

They'll be underdogs to the school that produced Jason Kidd, but St. Bernard has already produced a worthy turnaround story. 

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