The first day of the Gridley Invitational played out as expected on Thursday, which means that Friday's semifinals should be must-watch basketball for any fan close enough to make the drive and see some elite match-ups from across Northern California's top teams.
Dublin, Riordan, Salesian and Campolindo all reached the semifinals, which means that Salesian and Campolindo will square off in a rematch of the NCS Division III title game, which was won by the Pride last year.
Dublin used a big third quarter to down St. Patrick-St. Vincent in the opening game, turning a six-point halftime advantage into a 14-point lead before continuing to pull away for the 61-45 victory. 6-foot-4 senior wing Anthony Roy led the way for the Gaels with a game-high 23 points, while guard Devon Jackson chipped in 12 points. Dublin, which handled Weston Ranch in its season opener two weeks ago, improved to 3-0 with the win.
The closest game of the day came in the second match-up, which featured Riordan and Capital Christian. Capital Christian led after each of the first three quarters before the Crusaders tied the game late and then pulled away in overtime, winning 63-58. Je'Lani Clark had 14 points to lead a balanced Riordan effort, while Bryce Monroe added 11 points.
It was the second straight overtime win for the Crusaders, who held off Weston Ranch in extra time two days earlier. 6-foot-6 sophomore guard Darrion Williams had a game-high 18 points in the loss for Capital Christian, which fell to 1-2 overall, with its lone win coming against Salesian last week. Riordan improved to 6-0 with the victory.
Salesian, meanwhile, exploded to an early lead against host Gridley, leading by 25 points at halftime before posting a 72-32 victory. Last year's Prep2Prep NCS Junior of the Year, Shane Bell, had 14 points for the Pride, as did 6-foot-8 senior Te'jon Sawyer.
The Pride will now face Campolindo, which has won four straight after falling by two points to Archbishop Mitty in its season opener. The Cougars trailed after one quarter and were tied at the half with Weston Ranch before a big third quarter resulted in a 60-49 victory. Sophomore Aidan Mahaney had a game-high 20 points for the Cougars, while senior Carter Mahaney had 17 points. Senior guard Gavin Wilburn led Weston Ranch with 16 points.
Dublin and Riordan face off at 7 pm on Friday, followed by the Salesian vs Campolindo semifinal. Meanwhile, the possibility of a Capital Christian vs Weston Ranch game could still happen in the consolation bracket, if each of those teams wins on Friday.