Ask Niksha Federico what he likes best and he’ll tell you it’s making 3-point field goals.
The Cathedral Catholic senior buried two treys in the first quarter to help the Dons bolt to a 17-4 lead over visiting Valley Center in rolling to a 71-43 victory Wednesday in the San Diego Section Division III semifinals.
Top-seeded Cathedral Catholic (27-3) moves into Saturday’s championship game at Viejas Arena against No. 2 St. Augustine, a team the Dons have beaten three times this season.
“Making (the 3-pointers) is very important to our team,” said Federico, who finished with a game-high 15 points, nine of which were from beyond the arc. “But when we don’t hit them, we can go inside, too.”
Federico was the Dons’ instant offense last year coming off the bench, but when he grew three inches to 6-6 he expanded his game. He had six rebounds and five blocked shots against the slow-starting Jaguars (22-7).
Cathedral Catholic’s 10th straight triumph included a 12-point game from Xavier Williams and a fine all-around game from Brandon Michel, whose five steals give him 138 on the season.
“This team is better than last year because we lost just one player and we’ve been together all four years. We have great team chemistry,” said Federico. “When we’re hitting those threes, we’re one of the best teams in San Diego.”