Dominant play by Isaac Veal in the second half helped Bishop Diego to a 58-48 come-from-behind win at Santa Clara in the team’s last Tri-Valley League game Monday night.

The Cardinals trailed 33-27 at the half, even after a tough basket by Veal and a buzzer-beater 3 by senior Lui Fernandez.

After regrouping at halftime and rising to James Coronado’s challenge, the Cardinals came out with an 18-2 third quarter run on the way to the win. The quarter ended with another buzzer-beater, this one by Bishop Diego freshman Dame Krautmann. 

“I felt like we needed that little run to give us confidence going into the second half,” Coronado said. “We have had a couple of tough losses so our confidence hasn’t been the greatest, but at halftime we had a chance to regroup.” 

Veal led Bishop Diego with 23 points

“Another big shout out to Isaac Veal,” Coronado said. “He dominated the boards in the second half. I challenged him in a big way and he produced and exceeded my challenge. We definitely couldn’t have won without him stepping up.” 

Bryan Trejo added 10 points for Bishop Diego, now 15-10 overall and 5-3 in the TVL. Santa Clara’s Tony Barrera led all scorers with 26.

“All the credit goes to the guys,” Coronado said. “We haven’t been playing our best ball of late, so it would’ve been easy to check out and let these guys run away with the game. 

“We stayed together through the tough times and came out a better group because of it. I have been hard on these guys lately but I love the way they fought tonight. True character is revealed during the toughest of times, and they should their character tonight.” 

The coach also had praise for Krautmann.

“Dame has been getting better and better in practice and I feel the game is slowing down for him. He now has the confidence that belongs on the court with these guys and it showed tonight.

St. Bonaventure 62, Cate 55

Babacar Pouye scored 26 points and Cate gave Tri-Valley League leader St. Bonaventure a battle before falling 62-55 Monday night.

The Rams “can hold their heads high,” Cate coach Andy Gil said. “We battled whistle to whistle and I couldn’t be prouder as we drop a close one to visiting St Bonaventure.”

Pouye “was the best player in the gym with an array of nice touches around the rim,” Gil said. Jengus Ercil added 14 points, and Marcus Scudder “gave us great defensive minutes and finished with 10.”

The loss puts Cate at 4-3 in TVL play and 11-7 overall, while St. Bonaventure is 6-1 and 18-8.

The Rams finish their regular season Wednesday, hosting Thacher for a Senior Night game starting at 6 p.m.

Both teams had runs in the game. The Seraphs posted a 17-10 first quarter lead, and the Rams clawed back to within three, at 29-26, at halftime. St. Bonaventure opened a 46-36 lead going into the fourth, and Gil was proud of a strong finish to narrow that gap.

“The whole night we were one shot or a foul called from giving us the lead to send this place into a mad house,” Gil said. “Extremely pleased with our execution and shot selection, but we couldn’t get anything to drop due to excessive contact.

“Extremely proud of our guys battling through adversity and playing their hearts out.”

St. Bonaventure was led by Dylan Benner with 19, Sam Seidah with 16, and Matt Wilson 13. 

“These are the games we want to finish out the regular season to prepare us for playoff basketball,” Gil said. “They are a playoff caliber team who challenged us and made us better tonight.”

Noozhawk correspondent Dennis Moran can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.