The “Battle of Foothill Boulevard” began with a three-pointer and ended with a three-pointer, both made by the a marquee senior player.
With the St. Francis High and La Cañada campuses right next to one another, the Golden Knights and Spartans boys’ basketball teams squared off at St. Francis on Tuesday in the teams’ neighborly rivalry.
Throughout the night, St. Francis was led by its senior Andre Henry, while La Cañada turned to its senior Kyle Brown.
Behind 27 points from Henry, St. Francis came away with a 62-41 nonleague victory over La Cañada for its second win in as many seasons.
“It’s a good old-school rivalry and I feel like it’s the closest thing to a hometown rivalry,” St. Francis coach Todd Wolfson said. “Anytime you get to coach against a legend like [La Cañada coach] Tom Hofman, win, lose or draw it’s something you say, when you look back, ‘I coached against this guy.’
“It’s fun to coach against a guy who has won all the time for his whole career, so it’s fun to have a game like that.”
Henry scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and knocked down five three-pointers. The UC Irvine-bound senior also grabbed 11 rebounds. His La Cañada counterpart Brown finished with 22 points, including four three-pointers, and nine rebounds for the Spartans.
“We had a couple of big shots that we needed to make and a couple of defensive stances that we did not,” La Cañada coach Tom Hofman said. “I just don’t think we were very tough today. St. Francis outworked us. They played harder than we did. ... We just have to do a better job.”
The Golden Knights also received double-digit scoring from Buckley DeJardin and Jason Gallant, who each scored 11 points.
Brown started the scoring with a three-pointer for the opening basket at 7:26 before pair of free throws and a layup from Henry, along with a three-point play from Gallant, put the Golden Knights up, 7-3, at 5:13 in the first.
The Spartans kept pace with the Golden Knights, but a basket with 35.3 left in the first quarter from Darren Pung would be La Cañada’s final score for nearly eight minutes.
Brown ended the Spartans’ scoring drought as well as the Golden Knights’ 12-0 run with a three-pointer to cut the St. Francis lead to 27-14 at 2:14 in the second.
Henry responded with a three-point shot from the wing with 1:29 left in the half, before a pair of shots from Brown made it 30-18 at halftime.
Though the Golden Knights opened the third quarter with consecutive threes from Gallant and Henry, the Spartans went on a 9-0 run midway in the quarter to make it a single-digit deficit, 36-27, before the Golden Knights ended the quarter with a 43-34 lead.
“I started off a little slow and I just wanted to give my team a little spark,” said Henry, who hammered down a thunderous dunk to start the fourth quarter for a 45-34 lead. “I think I did a pretty good job of that and without them, I wouldn’t have been able to feed of their energy — the energy that they gave me. They told me to keep on going, and I went.”
Brown’s fourth three of the night made it a 50-39 deficit for the Spartans with 5:32 left.
“Kyle is a great offensive player and we need to get him easier shots,” Hofman said. “He creates a lot of stuff. We wear him out too much and we have to give him a break. Somebody’s got to step up. [Ryan Grande] has been doing a great job, but we need a third, fourth and fifth shooter. We don’t have that right now.”
After a put-back from DeJardin, Henry knocked down his fourth three-pointer as the Golden Knights jumped to a 7-0 run for a 57-39 lead.
“We [wanted to] keep the pace,” Wolfson said. “We use a lot of guys. We used nine, 10 guys, so we were hoping that our tempo would keep wearing them down. I think they kind of hit a little wall late because we kept using so many guys.”
With 1:35 left, Henry pulled up from three to score his fifth of the night, and the final basket of the game for a 62-41 St. Francis lead. Henry finished four of five shooting from beyond the arc.
“That’s all I did all summer,” Henry said. “I just shot. I just got in the gym and just shot.”