DEL PASO HEIGHTS – When Sacramento High played Grant High in the CIF San Joaquin Section Playoffs on Feb. 27, freshman Devin Young hardly saw the basketball.
Young only scored two points, both free throws, and the Sac High Dragons ended up losing 72-69 at home to the Grant High Pacers. By Sac High’s standards, it was clearly an upset to a up-and-coming program from the neighborhood of Del Paso Heights.
Over the weekend, it was a different story two-fold: First of all, The Dragons beat Grant convincingly 77-52 on the Pacers’ home court, and secondly, Young had 20 points, 14 rebounds, and eight blocked shots. Senior James Hadnot had nine points, nine rebounds, and two blocked shots for Sac High.
“Man, we just wanted revenge,” Young told The OBSERVER shortly after the victory in front of standing-room only crowd at Grant. “We felt like we didn’t deserve that loss. We just came back strong and ready. All through our three practices we were focused and (March 8) we came out completely focused.”
Sac High also received a strong performance from senior De’Von Boyd who had 19 points and four 3-point shots off the bench. Grant trailed 33-22 at the half.
But with a couple key baskets from seniors D’Sean Parson and Malik Wren, the Pacers cut the lead 37-33 early in the third quarter. Boyd, who missed much of the season with a torn ligament, hit two straight treys on a 10-2 Sac High run. The Dragons never looked back.
Boyd, headed to Chaminade on a scholarship next fall, was expected to miss the entire season. He came back before the regular season ended and has slowly worked his back into rotation.
“De’Von came out and stepped up for us,” Young said of the senior guard. “It was big for him too since he came back from that knee injury.”
Grant senior De’Sean Parson had 27 points in the Feb. 27 shocker over Sac High. In the March 8 loss, the 6-foot-6 swing-man had a modest 21 points. Parson said Sac High’s defense was much more effective than the last meeting. The Dragons, at times, sent two defenders at Parson for most of the game.
“I would just have to say that their defense was the difference,” Parson said. “They shut me down. They did what they had to do. I can tell they worked hard in practice on everything they needed to do to stop me and how to stop some of my players. They told us they would come back and they did 100 percent.”
Wren and Kameron Bradley each had 11 points for the scrappy Grant Pacers. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and City Councilman of District 2 Allen Wayne Warren were in attendance. Johnson attended Sac High while Warren was enrolled at Grant.
Before the anticipated rematch, Grant took out Antelope 70-63 in the NorCal playoffs while Sac High had an easy 76-45 victory over Pleasant Valley.
Sac High will play Dublin on the road at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday March 12. The Dragons can thank Grant for helping them to increase their intensity as they vie for the NorCal Division II championship.
“They’re good but we are better,” Young said of Grant’s team. “Coach (Derek Swafford) told us to annihilate them and I was ready to do that from the time I heard they had beat Pleasant Valley.”
In other Boys Basketball news:
Elk Grove’s Sheldon High’s Huskies advances in the Open Division by beating Serra 71-50 at home. Seniors Darin Johnson and D’Erryl Williams each had 20 points for Sheldon (26-5). Henry Caruso had 25 points for Serra (25-6).
Sheldon, ranked No. 4, will take on No. Salesian of Richmond on March 12 in the semifinals.
Pleasant Grove (No. 2) of Elk Grove moved past Piedmont Hills of San Jose 60-36. Malik Thames had 18 points and Matthew Hayes scored 13 for the Eagles. Pleasant Grove will play No. De La Salle (26-4) on March 12 in the semifinals of the Division I NorCal playoffs.
Florin High Panthers beat Montgomery of Santa Rosa 41-37 at home. Junior Daylana Sampton had 16 points, 12 rebounds, and two steals for the Panthers. Daijah Joe-Smith added 10 rebounds, nine points, and two assists for Florin.
The Panthers (23-9) will meet the St. Francis Lancers (22-8) of Mountain View on Tuesday, March 12 in Division II action.
No. 5 Sacramento High lost to St. Mary’s of Berkeley 43-31 in the Open Division.
By Antonio R. Harvey
Photos by Antonio R. Harvey