Imagine what Ivan Rabb can do on two good ankles.
The Bishop O'Dowd High junior, playing with a sprained left ankle, had 26 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks as the Dragons beat Capital Christian-Sacramento 70-60 in the California Interscholastic Federation Open Division Northern Regional championship game on March 22 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
The Dragons (28-4), now 8-3 in regional title games, will face Mater Dei-Santa Ana in the Open Division state championship at 8 p.m. March 29 at Sleep Train Arena. Mater Dei is 34-0 and was ranked No. 1 in the nation at press time in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national ranking. Bishop O'Dowd was 23rd in that ranking.
The 6-foot-10 Rabb said he injured the ankle in the Dragons' win over Modesto Christian on March 18 in the regional semifinals and didn't practice much the past few days.
"I came down real bad. It wasn't really swollen, but it was really painful," he said. "I got it taped up really tight, I got an ankle brace on, and I'm just happy that my teammates stepped up. I'm proud of them. That's what they're supposed to do."
O'Dowd, which beat Capital Christian 86-60 on Jan. 20 at Haas Pavilion, raced to a 41-25 halftime lead. Dragons guard Paris Austin had a dazzling first two quarters and finished with 18 points. His 3-pointer increased the Dragons' lead to 18-9 in the first quarter, and Jackson Kalmbach's trey made it 21-12.
Seemingly every time the Cougars made a charge, Rabb stopped them in their tracks. He was 13 for 21 from the floor and even had two assists.
The Cougars' D.J. Wilson, bound for Michigan, also put on a show. He had 29 points, tying the boys Open Division scoring record, with an array of dunks and acrobatic moves.
Bishop O'Dowd kept on going in the second quarter, opening it on a 14-7 run as Rabb had an electrifying sequence of three consecutive baskets, including a dunk off a rebound and a nifty steal in the open court and a layup. Rabb had 12 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and that steal in the first half alone.
"Our coaching staff prepared us very well for the game," Austin said. "We knew D.J. was their best player. Last time we played them at Cal (on Jan. 20), he didn't have a good game, but we knew he was going to come out and play today."
The Dragons had to keep pushing because Wilson seemed to bask in the game's fast pace, scoring 14 in the first half. Capital Christian (28-4) stunned the Dragons with a 9-2 run to open the second half, but Rabb helped O'Dowd reassume control when he scored his team's next four consecutive baskets, including three jams.
The Dragons' lone state title was in 1981 in Division I under then-coach Mike Phelps.
In this year's semifinals on March 18, Austin scored a team-high 16 points and Rabb added 14 points and 13 rebounds as the Dragons beat Modesto Christian 74-51.
Arcata 50, Piedmont 38: The visiting Highlanders trailed by just five points with just over six minutes to go in the fourth quarter of this Division IV semifinal on March 18, but that would be the closest they would get that quarter to the Tigers. Lauren Seyranian produced a team-high 16 points, including two 3-pointers, for Piedmont in the game.
-- Lorrie Reyes, Times-Standard