The Catholic school with an enrollment of just 270 had two basketball teams competing for CIF championships | Credit: Victor Bryant

This past Saturday added to the lore of Bishop Diego athletics. In a rare feat, the Catholic school with an enrollment of just 270 had two basketball teams competing for CIF championships in a doubleheader for the ages.

Even in the era of California state tournaments, CIF section championships are still the primary goal for most programs. Winning teams leave a lasting legacy to be admired for generations to come. For the Cardinals to come so close to earning two banners in one afternoon is a success in itself.

HEAVENLY GREER HARD TO HANDLE:  The Bishop Diego girls’ basketball team knew it would have the ultimate challenge trying to contain Ganesha High’s Heavenly Greer in the CIF-SS Division 5A championship game.

Greer is one of the top high school players in the country and holds several college offers to Power Five programs. At 6′3″, Greer towered over everyone on the Bishop Diego roster, but even more impressive than her size was her incredible skill set. The ability to pass, dribble, and shoot so effortlessly makes her a truly unique prospect for this Pomona high school. 

“We knew before the game that she was probably going to get 20 points. If we hold her under 20 points, we have a great chance,” said Bishop Diego coach Jeff Burich of Greer. “It was the other people. In the first half, [Ra’Nell Harrison] got nine points, and that was a killer for us.”

The future remains extremely bright for the Cardinals as they only have two seniors on the roster. Of the players that will be returning, five are currently freshmen. The experience of playing in a CIF championship game will undoubtedly pay dividends in the future.

“I think for our program overall, it really helps us,” said junior point guard Elliott Redkey of the playoff run. “I know for our freshmen, them getting an opportunity to be in a CIF [championship] game, that’s crazy. I know that will just give them motivation, and if we can’t get back next year, I know that they will get there in their junior year or their senior year, and it will help Bishop Diego as a team to progress and keep getting opportunities later on.”

DOWNED AT THE BUZZER:  Trailing 56-47 midway through the fourth quarter of its CIF-SS Division 5AA championship against Arrowhead Christian, the Bishop Diego boys’ basketball team scratched and clawed its way back into the game. That persistence paid off for the Cardinals when Kai Morphy found Matthew Cunningham for a game-tying three-pointer with just over a minute remaining. 

A jump ball with 2.8 seconds remaining gave possession to Arrowhead, and the Eagles executed off the inbounds play as David Howerzyl collected his own miss from point-blank range and put it back in the hoop as the final buzzer sounded.

“In the second half, [shots] didn’t fall,” said Bishop Diego coach James Coronado. “If you would have told me we’d get all the same shots that we got, I would have said that we would have won by 20, but that’s how it goes.”

Much like the girls’ team, the future is bright for the Bishop Diego boys’ basketball team. The Cardinals’ top six players will be returning next season. 

“We lost by two, so one shot and we win this game,” Coronado said. “We’d all have smiles on our faces, and everybody is happy and we’re talking about what we did.”


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