Scott Ellis 9 p.m., March 3
TALMADGE – Some of the best local teams and talent were on display at Hoover High on Monday at the eighth-annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Showcase. During the all-day event, top-ranked La Costa Canyon and second-ranked Hoover notched victories, Morse pulled off a defensive upset, and San Ysidro embraced the spotlight.
No. 9 El Camino at No. 2 Hoover
Second-ranked Hoover maintains pressure to oust ninth-ranked El Camino
In the feature game of the showcase between second-ranked Hoover and ninth-ranked El Camino the first quarter belonged to the Wildcats – and the rest of the game belonged to the host Cardinals. Hoover erased a 16-point first quarter deficit and held El Camino to two points in the third quarter en route to a 66-53 victory.
“Our guys have a lot of heart,” said Hoover head coach Ollie Goulston. “They showed it and they battled and they stayed together. I’m really proud of what they did tonight because they could have easily crumbled.”
El Camino (13-5) jumped on Hoover from the opening tip, and the Wildcats had a 21-5 lead late in the first quarter. Hoover (19-2) trailed by 13 at the end of the opening quarter, and it appeared early that El Camino was headed towards a blowout victory.
“Playing El Camino is like a street fight – it’s 32 rounds and it’s really the last man standing,” Goulston said. “They took some great shots.”
After a back and forth start to the second quarter, Hoover got back into the game with an 11-4 run. In the final minute of the first half, Cardinals sophomore guard Damonte Holiday made a three-point play to cut El Camino’s lead to 35-29 at halftime.
“We decided to play hard, drive hard, we got any shot we wanted, and did what coach was telling us to do,” Holiday said.
Hoover overwhelmed El Camino in the third quarter with its pressure to swing the game in its favor. The Cardinals outscored the Wildcats 22-2 in the quarter and had a commanding 14-point lead headed into the fourth quarter.
“We’re built for 32 minutes,” Goulston said. “We press and run all game, we’re in great condition, we have depth, and I think we wore them down a little bit.”
El Camino head coach Ray Johnson said the two-point third quarter was the Wildcats’ worst eight minutes of the season. Hoover held El Camino without a field goal for the entire period.
“It was terrible – we couldn’t make a shot. Those are shots we normally make and they just didn’t fall,” Johnson said. “They increased the pressure and we didn’t handle it very well.”
In the opening minute of the fourth quarter, Hoover senior guard Chris Jones made a three-point play to put the Cardinals ahead 54-37 and effectively end thoughts of a potential El Camino comeback. Hoover exacted some revenge against the Wildcats after losing to them in the Elite 8 Showcase last season.
“We wanted to get revenge from last year’s game,” Jones said. “It’s always a rivalry game with El Camino and that’s the attitude.”
Four Hoover players scored in double digits as part of balanced attack. Holiday and Jones each scored a team-high 14 points, the latter coming off the bench.
“I came off the bench in this game, and I just knew when we went down I wanted to give my team a spark when I went in the game, and do whatever I can just to make the team better,” Jones said.
Senior guard Dayton Boddie led all scorers with 15 points and was one of three El Camino players in double figures. The Wildcats had won eight of their previous nine games.
“We made strides, but we have to get better at doing four quarters instead of just two,” Johnson said.
Hoover – 66 (9-20-22-15)
Holiday 14, Davis 10, Booker 10, Northard 9, Nolen-Webb 7 (starters) Jones 14, Abiel 2
El Camino – 53 (22-13-2-16)
Boddie 15, Griffin 12, Garner Jr. 8, Sobers 5, Garcia 3 (starters) Pao Pao 10
No. 1 La Costa Canyon vs. Francis Parker
Travers’ buzzer-beater lifts top-ranked LCC over Francis Parker
Tied with Francis Parker in the closing seconds, top-ranked La Costa Canyon had just enough time to capture a victory in the fourth game of the showcase. With 3.7 seconds left, Mavericks senior guard David Travers took an inbounds pass in the backcourt, raced down the sideline and launched a 25-foot three-pointer that went in at the buzzer for a dramatic 60-57 win.
“I got the ball, I looked to the left and there wasn’t a defender there,” Travers said. “I might have taken one dribble too many because I saw the defender come up, but I looked at the clock and I had to put it up there. As soon as I felt it leave my hands, I thought it was going in.”
With 1:57 left, La Costa Canyon (18-2) had a seven-point lead and appeared to be ahead for good, but Francis Parker methodically rallied. The Lancers crept back into the game, eventually tying it with 3.7 seconds left when senior guard Dalante Dunklin hit one of two free throws after being fouled underneath the basket.
“We came out and played really well and it is definitely what I expected for our team to do,” Dunklin said. “We rose to the occasion.”
After a La Costa Canyon timeout, senior forward Erik Magnuson inbounded the ball to Travers near his own free throw line. Travers dribbled up the court and released the game-winning shot over two Francis Parker defenders with 0.8 seconds left, and was mobbed by his Mavericks teammates as the buzzer sounded.
“He shot it right in front of me and it looked so good out of his hand. When it went in I shook my head and laughed,” said La Costa Canyon head coach Dave Cassaw. “We have a tradition in our practices of shooting that last-second kind of shot and he makes a lot of them.”
Travers’ last-second heroics helped top-ranked La Costa Canyon survive against a Francis Parker squad that gave the Mavericks all they could handle. After an even first quarter, Francis Parker (7-9) jumped in front in the second quarter to take a 33-25 halftime lead.
“It was a solid half and we made shots,” said Francis Parker head coach Jim Tomey. “We hoped that we would be good with the ball and make good decisions, and they did.”
Dunklin was a big reason why the Lancers had an eight-point lead at the break. The 6-foot senior scored 21 points in the first half, doing damage against La Costa Canyon from inside and outside.
“I just wanted to come out and prove to a lot of people that I deserve to be in the discussion for the top player in the county,” Dunklin said.
In the third quarter, La Costa Canyon settled in and started to chip away at Francis Parker’s lead. The Lancers led by as much as nine early in the quarter, but a Travers three-pointer at the buzzer made it a one-possession game headed into the fourth quarter.
“In the second half we came out and stepped it up on defense, it just carried over and we did our jobs,” Travers said.
Dunklin opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer, but La Costa Canyon responded with a 12-0 run to take a 55-48 lead midway through the quarter. The Mavericks held the Lancers scoreless for a four-minute stretch to jump back in front.
“We talked about really trying to deny [Dunklin] the ball and just competing,” Cassaw said. “Our guys settled in defensively in the second half much better – we played harder and smarter and competed on possessions.”
Senior guard Zach Beery led La Costa Canyon with 20 points, and senior forward Matt Shrigley scored 19. Travers also finished with 19 points, including four three-pointers in the second half.
“It was a tough game, it was a little dogfight towards the end and we just pulled it out,” Shrigley said.
Dunklin scored a game-high 30 points to lead Francis Parker. The Lancers pushed La Costa Canyon to the limit, and despite the loss appear to be hitting their stride at the right time in the season.
“We have a young team and they’re starting to season and mature,” Tomey said. “Hopefully it will all come together at the right time at the end. I think we’re going to do some special things before it’s over this year.”
La Costa Canyon – 60 (16-9-18-17)
Beery 20, Shrigley 19, Travers 19, Magnuson 2, Van Dyke 0 (starters)
Francis Parker – 57 (16-17-12-12)
Dunklin 30, C. Polk 8, E. Fitzner 7, Baker 6, B. Fitzner 4 (starters) Jenkins 2
Mark Hall Memorial: Morse vs. No. 8 Mount Miguel
Tigers knock off eighth-ranked Matadors in defensive struggle
Mount Miguel and Morse turned the Mark Hall Memorial Classic into a gritty, defensive battle from the opening tip. The Tigers edged the eighth-ranked Matadors 47-44 in a physical game that was close throughout.
“We’re determined to win and prove people wrong,” said Morse senior guard Marley Simmons. “The whole point tonight was to make a statement.”
Morse (16-5) scored the first six points of the game and led 13-7 at the end of the first quarter. The Tigers scored the final six points of a fast, physical first half to take a nine-point halftime lead over Mount Miguel (15-3).
“It was tough defense. Neither team wanted to get scored on,” Simmons said.
The game was close in the third quarter, and a three-pointer by Mount Miguel senior forward Thomas Butler tied the Matadors and Morse at 30 with 1:31 left. Mount Miguel grabbed a 35-33 lead headed into the fourth quarter when senior guard Izzy Wagner hit a buzzer-beating three.
“I told my players that’s a CIF team over there, so they’re not going to quit – they’re going to compete until the end,” said Morse head coach Bob Sumler. “I was really proud of my guys that they stepped up and every heavy punch they threw at us, we responded with another heavy punch.”
Morse remained in control down the stretch, not allowing Mount Miguel to get closer than four points until the final minute. In a three-point game with 15.8 seconds to play Simmons missed a free throw but Tigers sophomore guard Darius Wilson pulled down the rebound, and after the foul senior forward Corey Phillps made two free throws to put the game out of reach.
“There was a time during the course of that game where it got ugly, and we had to come together, trust each other and everything will work itself out,” Sumler said. “Fortunately we got a good win against a really great basketball team today.”
Senior guard Shawn Sellers led a balanced Morse attack with 12 points. The Tigers looked for fast baskets throughout the game.
“We’re a small team, so we just want to get it and go,” Simmons said. “We’re a fast break team.”
Wagner scored a game-high 22 points for Mount Miguel, including four three-pointers. The Matadors have lost two of three since starting the season 15-1.
The fourth annual Mark Hall Memorial Classic honored 2004 Hoover graduate and former Cardinals basketball player Mark Hall, who died in a car accident in 2006. Part of the proceeds from game went to the “Blow The Whistle on Cancer” campaign, and layers wore pink sweatbands and played with a pink-and-white ball during the contest.
Morse – 47 (13-10-12-12)
Sellers 12, Burger 9, A. Wilson 8, Simmons 6, Phillips 5 (starters) D. Wilson 7
Mount Miguel – 44 (7-7-19-11)
Wagner 22, Butler 14, Littleton 4, Wills 2, Booker 2 (starters)
No. 7 San Ysidro vs. Horizon
Seventh-ranked Cougars race past Panthers in second half to exact revenge
It took a little while for seventh-ranked San Ysidro to get comfortable against Horizon on the showcase stage, but once the Cougars settled in they were able to shine. San Ysidro raced past Horizon in the second half for a 76-62 win that avenged an earlier loss to the Panthers.
“We did start slow, but during halftime coach talked to us and told us that we had to work harder, make the best of it and just win the game,” said San Ysidro junior forward Fernando Ahumada.
San Ysidro (15-3) trailed 18-13 after the first quarter and fell behind by double digits before settling in with a 10-0 run to take the lead late in the second quarter. Horizon (8-8) scored the last five points of the opening half, including a fast break layup by junior guard Cody Underwood – the last of his 23 first-half points.
“We were nervous early, but after they got over that and started talking, I wanted them to enjoy the moment,” said San Ysidro head coach Terry Tucker.
The teams went back and forth to start the second half before San Ysidro closed the third quarter on an 11-3 run to take a 53-46 lead. Cougars senior guard Javion Watson hit a three-pointer on the opening possession of the fourth quarter, and from there San Ysidro was able to handle Horizon and even the score after a loss to the Panthers in the Cougar Classic on Dec. 26.
“We wanted to make sure that people understand that we are constantly getting better and improving each and every day,” Tucker said. “They beat us and we couldn’t lose to them again.”
Junior guard Keeko Sinegal led San Ysidro with a season-high 24 points off the bench and Ahumada scored 19, doing most of his damage inside. Waston finished with 19 points, and for the first time this season the Cougars won when he scored less than 20.
“People are going to really concentrate on stopping Javion and guys like Fernando and our support players are going to get to a place where they are going to have to score,” Tucker said.
Underwood scored 28 points to lead Horizon, including six three-pointers. Junior guard Dereikus Smith added 10 for the Panthers, who have lost four of their last five games.
San Ysidro – 76 (13-20-20-23)
Watson 19, Ahumada 19, Tarrant 8, Paris 4, L. Stewart 0 (starters) Sinegal 24, R. Stewart 2
Horizon – 62 (18-19-9-16)
C. Underwood 28, Smith 10, Carrington 9, E. Underwood 8, Rysedorph 0 (starters) Goeglein 4, Byrd 3
Game 1 (Girls) La Jolla Country Day 79, Mission Bay 60
Game 6 (Prep Schools) Simi Valley Stoneridge Prep 57, La Jolla Prep 47
Pictured: Hoover guard Chris Jones drives to the hoop between El Camino guards Travis Pao Pao (left) and Dayton Boddie during the MLK Showcase
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