California Division 5 Final: St. Joseph Notre Dame Holds Off St. Bernard

It took five lead changes in the final quarter, but St. Joseph Notre Dame defeated St. Bernard 47-44 in the Division 5 championship game held at the Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento Friday afternoon. For St. Joseph Notre Dame, the win marks the first Division 5 championship in school history.

Tied at 42 with 2:17 left in the game, 5-foot-7 senior point guard Jacari Whitfield hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game to give St. Joseph Notre Dame a 45-42 lead with just one minute left.

St. Bernard guard Brandon Randolph had a chance to tie the game with 1.7 seconds left  after both teams exchanged free throws, but the sophomore's desperate 55-foot heave caromed off the rim as time expired.

A nail biter throughout, the teams remained deadlocked after the first half. St. Bernard led 36-35 at the end of three, but St. Joseph Notre Dame rallied behind key 3-pointers that were ,too much for St. Bernard to overcome.

St. Joseph Notre Dame (27-8) was led by 6-foot-10 center Brandon Keane as the Northern Colorado-bound senior scored 12 points, eight coming in the first half.

The Alameda-based team made it to the championship game after defeating San Francisco University 61-43 to win the Northern California Regional.

For St. Bernard (26-9), Randolph had a team-high 14 points while Thurman Thomas contributed a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Playa del Rey team escaped the Southern California Regional with a 61-59 victory over Sierra Canyon.

St. Bernard improved from 4-23 last season to  26-9 under first-year Coach Reggie Morris Jr.

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