ALBANY -- The top-seeded Salesian High boys basketball team put an exclamation point on the North Coast Section Division IV playoffs with a 65-34 win over No. 2 Cardinal Newman (29-3) in the championship game Saturday night at Albany High.
The Pride (30-3) dominated this year's playoffs, which was its fourth title in five years. Salesian entered Saturday with a 29-point average margin of victory in its first three games.
Montana-bound Mario Dunn and Cal-bound Jabari Bird each scored 20 points for the Pride. Dunn scored 12 points in an instrumental third quarter that saw Salesian's four-point halftime lead balloon into a 51-26 lead after three quarters.
"He always has been a heart and soul kind of guy," Salesian coach Bill Mellis said of Dunn. "We go when he goes."
The Pride now turns its attention to the California Interscholastic Federation Northern regional playoffs. But unlike years past, the Pride will compete in the newly formed Open Division, which pits the top teams in Northern California against each other, no matter the size of the school.
"For us it's great," Mellis said. "We've already achieved a state title in Division IV, and it's the first time ever for California and that's exciting."
Mellis' Pride will bring a hefty résumé into the playoffs, the brackets for which will be announced Sunday.
Salesian is the defending state champions in Division IV and was NorCal champions and state runners-up
The Pride also won a state title in 2009.
Salesian will enter as one of the state's hottest teams, having won 20 in a row.
The Pride has also won 76 in a row against Northern California foes. The last time it lost to a NorCal team was a 57-54 defeat to St. Joseph Notre Dame on Jan. 19, 2011.
Ranked No. 1 in the state in Division IV by Cal-High Sports, the Pride is also ranked No. 3 overall having won 15 of its past 16 section playoff games.
Leading Cardinal Newman were senior guard Kenny Love with 10 points and senior forward Kyle King with eight points.
Corey Hammell, who came into Saturday's game averaging more than 17 points per contest, finished with seven.
St. Joseph Notre Dame 44, University-S.F. 38: Temidayo Yussuf scored nine points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Pilots (21-11) over the Red Devils (24-8) in the NCS Division V championship game at Albany High.
"That's what I pride myself off of -- rebounds and points," Yussuf said.
"I know that most of my points come off of offensive and defensive rebounds so I try to go for every one. When I'm going for every one and the team is going for every one, nobody can outrebound us."
St. Joseph used a dominating defense in the second quarter to build a 22-14 lead at halftime.
The Pilots forced eight turnovers and held University to 0 of 8 field goal attempts over the first six minutes, 14 seconds of the quarter before Will Carroll finally made a baseline jumper.
Those were the only points for the Red Devils in the quarter.
Yussuf said the Pilots switched to a 2-3 zone and that keyed the defensive run.
"We saw a couple of holes," he said. "Our players worked it to perfection. James Choyce played great minutes off the bench."
Said University coach Randy Bessolo, "It's all about a good defense against a shooting team. But with their size down low, they really extend it out, block the passing lanes and gave us a lot of trouble."
The Red Devils fought back and took a 33-32 lead early in the fourth quarter. However, the Pilots put together a 7-0 run to retake control of the game.
Yussuf tied for team-high scorer with Marc Voisenat. Justin Brown pulled down 11 rebounds.
Jack Gale led University with 14 points.
It's the third straight NCS Division V title for St. Joseph Notre Dame, and fourth in five years.
"Three of anything is not too shabby," Pilots coach Don Lippi said. "We work a lot on getting to shooters. And when shooters have guys coming at them, it's hard to get your shot off."
-- Damin Esper, correspondent