K. Mennem 7:17 p.m., June 17
Three-point win puts Patriots all alone in first place at halfway point
EL CAJON – Midway through the Central League season, the rest of the league is looking up at Christian. The Patriots edged Point Loma 51-48 at home on Wednesday night to claim sole possession of first place in the section’s largest league.
“It’s a big win for sure. We knew if we could get this one we’d have a good shot at winning the league,” said Christian senior forward Shane Dillon. “We just worked and worked and worked, and luckily we came out with the victory.”
Christian (11-5, 6-0 Central) scored the first nine points of the game and took a 15-6 lead on three-pointer by senior forward Jason Gaines at the buzzer. Point Loma (10-6, 5-1) didn’t score in the first five minutes of the game as the Patriots raced out to an early advantage and held an 11-point lead at the break.
“We like coming out at home, and it gives us some great energy,” Dillon said. “The fans get us pretty hyped up. We came out ready to go.”
With 2:05 left in the third quarter, Christian led 35-24 before a Gaines technical foul sparked a Point Loma run. The Pointers scored the last eight points of the quarter – including a pair of threes by senior guard Kohl Meyer – to make it a three-point game.
“We just kept fighting,” Dillon said. “We knew that they were going to go on a run sooner or later.”
In a back and forth fourth quarter, Christian stayed in front of Point Loma but didn’t lead by more than five points down the stretch. With 31 seconds remaining Christian senior guard Jake Larsen drove baseline and made a layup to put the Patriots ahead 49-44, and after a Point Loma basket Dillon made two free throws to seal the victory.
“Every team in our league is really talented,” Dillon said. “Anybody can beat anybody on any given night, and I’m just glad that we’re 6-0.”
Dillon scored 18 points to lead Christian, and Larsen finished with 11. The Patriots played much of the second half without Gaines, who was sidelined with four fouls.
“It was tough. I knew I had to step up and Jake knew he had to step up,” Dillon said. “I just tried to get the ball inside and get as many boards as I could.”
Through the first round of Central League play, Christian is all alone in first place with a perfect record. The Patriots last league title came in the Harbor League in the 2001-02 season.
“We just have to win in whatever way we can and get victories,” Dillon said. “We’re going to have a big battle at Point Loma and big one at Kearny, and we just have to try and win as many as we can and get that title.”
Meyer scored a game-high 19 points to lead Point Loma. The Pointers have been held to 50 points or less in five of their six losses this season.
Christian – 51 (15-11-9-16)
Dillon 18, Larsen 11, Gaines 7, George 2, Johnston 1 (starters) Sauls 8, Ballard 4
Point Loma – 48 (6-9-17-16)
Meyer 19, Gharram 9, Enright 7, Fitzmorris 6, Busalacchi 0 (starters) Agnew 5, Griffin 2
Pictured: Christian forward Trenton Sauls puts up a shot between Point Loma guard Dillon Fitzmorris (13) and forward Mohsen Gharram (4)