January 13, 2008

Night of No. 1s Turns Tragic in S.F.

San Francisco, Calif. --It was supposed to be a magical night inside the Sacred Heart Cathedral gym in San Francisco on Saturday with the No. 1 ranked boys basketball team in California and the No. 1 girls team both playing in a doubleheader.

It's what happened outside the gym at halftime of the second game that unfortunately overshadowed everything else.

Late Saturday night, it was confirmed that the shooting victim in a murder outside the gym was Terrell Rogers, the father of Tierra Rogers, a standout from Sacred Heart Cathedral's girls team and honored just last month as CalHiSports.com's Northern California athletes of the week.

At halftime of the game between the Irish and perennial power Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, Rogers went outside the gym for the break. Police do not have details, but at some point across the street from the school at a parking lot on Ellis Street two suspects walked up to him. Sgt. Steve Mannina of the San Francisco Police Department also told the San Francisco Chronicle that the suspects shot Rogers and ran off. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

By 10 p.m., there were no suspects in custody and police had no motive or other details about the shooting.

Our Bay Area correspondent, Harold Abend, was covering a game at St. Ignatius of San Francisco and was working with Chronicle prep editor Will McCulloch on a news story about the incident. McCulloch, who covered the games for the newspaper, told Abend that people inside the gym knew something had happened outside but didn't know details.

Brian Eashman, the son of Willie Eashman, our San Francisco-based photographer and longtime contributor, also attended the game. He said that Tierra Rogers was taken out of the game at the end of the third quarter by a school official and escorted to a private area.

"They used to live in one of the worst areas of the city near Candlestick Park," said Willie Eashman of the Rogers family. "He (Terrell) just moved them out to Pacifica. My son said someone came into the gym and said that people were breaking into cars. He (Rogers) then went outside and that's when it happened. The guys that shot him walked by other people so he may have been targeted."

With 17 seconds left and the Irish girls comfortably ahead of Mitty, the game was stopped and the crowd was let out through side doors so it could be kept away from the crime scene.

Terrell Rogers was a painter by trade and also is survived by his wife, Palonna, and a son, Terrell Jr., who currently attends middle school. His age and other details were not immediately available.

Tierra Rogers was named the Northern California Athlete of the Week on Dec. 14 after she was the MVP at the Southridge tournament up in Oregon. That was where Sacred Heart Cathedral defeated preseason national No. 1 Long Beach Poly in the title game and it was game in which Rogers scored 27 points. The Irish have not lost since that game, either, while Poly went on to win the prestigious Nike TOC in Arizona, which is why Rogers' team is now No. 1 in the nation.

On Saturday night, Rogers was listed with nine points during the fateful game. Sacred Heart Cathedral defeated Mitty, 51-34. Jazmine Jackson and Ki-Ki Moore were the team's leading scorers with 11 points apiece.

In the game that preceded the girls game, the Irish boys battled top-ranked Mitty on even terms until the fourth quarter when the Monarchs pulled away for an 80-64 triumph. Playing without EA SPORTS All-American candidate Drew Gordon, guard Collin Chiverton stepped up for Mitty and led all scorers with 40 points.

Check for more details in the San Francisco Chronicle or at sfgate.com as this story unfolds further.

We also offer our thoughts and prayers to the entire Sacred Heart Cathedral team during this difficult time.

Comments or corrections? Email mark@studentsports.com.


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