Late run leads to Knights' loss

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — With just 5:56 left, it was a three-point game.

St. Francis High junior guard Zack Gardea had just hit a pair of free throws.

By all accounts, it would be a finish that would go down to the wire.

But then came Northview. The visiting Vikings convincingly put an end to any hopes of a comeback rally by St. Francis.

Northview cruised to a 66-54 second-round CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA playoff win Friday night on the strength of a 13-1 run late in the game.

"After we got close and they jumped ahead, I thought we tried to immediately catch up," said St. Francis co-Coach Ray O'Brien. "We stopped running the offense. We started going one-on-one. That really hurt us. I thought that was really the end right there. We didn't keep our composure at that point."

What also hurt the Golden Knights (11-17) was Northview power forward Treavon Francis. He scored a game-high 29 points and added 10 rebounds, three blocks and a steal. Francis scored 15 points from the free throw line alone.

"He's a tough match-up," O'Brien said. "He's tall. He gets inside and we knew it was going to be a tough match-up."

Added St. Francis junior guard Emerson Castaneda: "He's just a ball handler and a post-up player. It's very difficult. We should've just double-teamed him when we had the chance."

Castaneda scored a team-high 17 points for St. Francis. He scored 15 points in the first half and hit three three-pointers, which kept the Golden Knights in the game.

"It's not really good if I do [well individually] and we lose," he said. "I didn't play hard enough to win the game."

At the end of the first quarter, Northview (23-6) was ahead, 19-17.

Shooting guard Danny Johnson was two of two from three-point range for Northview. Castaneda countered with two treys of his own.

However, the Vikings ended the first half on a 17-7 run and went up, 36-27.

"One of the main reasons they had that run was just rebounding," Castaneda said. "They had so many offensive boards. We should've just boxed out [Francis]."

By the end, St. Francis was out rebounded, 27-21.

"It was one of the main differences," Castaneda said.

Brian Johnson scored 11 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for Northview.

The Golden Knights were down, 44-40, heading into the fourth quarter. O'Brien said he thought Castaneda was fatigued down the stretch, which hampered St. Francis' offense.

"I think he just ended up getting tired by that point," O'Brien said. "He kinda took some shots that maybe we'd want back."

Senior guard Sevan Zarifian contributed 13 points for St. Francis in the loss.

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