Pure dominance: SRV blows out Monterey Trail, advances to CIF NorCal Division I semifinals

Pure dominance: SRV blows out Monterey Trail, advances to CIF NorCal Division I semifinals

DANVILLE — With 1:28 left in the fourth quarter, San Ramon Valley’s crowd gave the Wolves a standing ovation.

For four quarters, the Wolves never trailed and thoroughly outworked their opponents. The home crowd couldn’t do anything but give them their flowers.

SRV dominated from start to finish as the No. 2 seed Wolves beat No. 10 Monterey Trail 85-66 to advance to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) NorCal Division I regional semifinals where they will face No. 3 Archbishop Mitty on Saturday.

Five different SRV players scored in double figures. Luke Isaak had 18 points, Seamus Deely scored 16 and Elliot Conley added 14.

Monterey Trail guard Brandon Gibson Jr. scored a game-high 33 points.

“We talked about making a run at state earlier in this season and the things we can accomplish,” said SRV point guard Mason Thomas who scored 13 points in the win. “We think there’s nothing we can’t do.”

The Wolves had an injury scare early in the first quarter as Thomas hobbled off the court after twisting his ankle on a layup attempt.

In need of a point guard to run the offense, SRV coach Brian Botteen inserted senior guard Miles Jones — a player who hasn’t seen the floor often this season — in place of Thomas.

Jones took over ball handling duties for SRV and scored two huge buckets, including an and-1 layup that pushed the SRV lead to eight in the second quarter. Jones led the bench unit until Thomas made his way back into the game in halfway through the second quarter.

“Mason Thomas is the guy who gets a majority of the minutes in that situation, but when the injury took place, we had to go to the next guy in line,” Botteen said. “In this instance it was Miles. Miles is a guy who practices hard every day. As a senior, he’s unselfish and it was a great time for him to shine in a moment like that.”

SRV had 24 bench points with 13 coming in the second quarter alone.

“I can’t say enough about our bench in the second quarter,” Deely said. “Guys like Sean McDonnell and Miles Jones always provide a spark for us.”

The Wolves led by as much as 14 in the second quarter, but Gibson kept Monterey Trail in the game with an array of finishes at the rim.

Coming out of halftime, Monterey Trail looked like it was starting to turn the momentum in its favor. A 5-0 run to start the third quarter got the Mustangs to within three points of the Wolves.

But that’s as close as they would get all night.

SRV stifled Monterey Trail’s momentum by slowly but surely breaking down the game at the free throw line.

The Wolves were in the bonus three minutes into the third quarter. The Mustangs committed 11 fouls in the period and SRV made nine of its 10 free throw attempts.

“We knew they were out rebounding us in the first half, so we had to make a change,” Deely said. “We just had to be strong at the rim and shoot free throws. Once we did that we started rolling.”

The aggressive attack at the rim worked in SRV’s favor. The Wolves had a lead as big as 16 in the third quarter, draining the life out of Monterey Trail’s defense.

SRV outrebounded Monterey Trail 27-21 and converted its offensive rebounds into 20 second chance points for the game. The Wolves also forced 13 turnovers.

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Coming into Thursday’s game, Monterey Trail coach Robert Fields knew his team would have to play a near-perfect game to beat the East Bay powerhouse.

“You can’t have lapses,” Fields said. “You fall asleep, they’ll score on a backdoor cut. You fall asleep, they’ll score on an out of bounds play. If you’re not executing on a high level, you can go minutes without scoring, which we did in the third quarter.”

SRV’s win sets up a NorCal semi final meeting with South Bay juggernaut Archbishop Mitty on Saturday. The Monarchs defeated Clayton Valley at home 48-37 Thursday.

The quick turnaround doesn’t bother SRV, but the Wolves will use its one day of practice to get everyone on the same page. Despite his injury in Thursday’s game, Thomas said he plans to suit up Saturday.

The matchup with Mitty is one the Wolves have been waiting for since the playoff schedule was announced last weekend. SRV will be looking to go to its first state championship game since 2015.

“(Mitty) is one of the teams we’ve been wanting to play,” Thomas said. “We played other great teams, but Mitty is the one that’s been on our list.”