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Cavers' Jeremy Tyler scores 29 in blowout loss

When the Old Spice High School Showcase schedule was announced in November, Friday night’s nationally televised San Diego-Fairfax game was supposed to be a clash for southern California supremacy. Instead, the state’s sixth-ranked team dismantled an embattled Cavers club 86-47 at the University of San Diego.

“We need to play smarter and stronger,” said San Diego center Jeremy Tyler. “Smarter plays, makes smarter decisions, be smarter with the ball.”

To say the Cavers have had a rough season is a bit of an understatement. Amid speculation of recruitment, San Diego has been without the services of three transfers (LaBradford Franklin, Terrence Boys and Zechariah Smith) since the beginning of the year, after they were ruled ineligible by CIF.

“It’s hard. We want to think that it’s not that hard and that everything is okay, but in the long run it’s really hard,” Tyler said.

In addition, Cavers head coach Kenny Roy and two assistant coaches were placed on leave last Saturday. The team is currently coached by Martin Thomas.

“Everybody loves coach Roy,” Tyler said. “It’s hard not to have him. But we play hard for him because if he was here that’s what he would want.”

Fairfax (15-3) forced 28 Cavers turnovers with relentless halfcourt trapping, exploiting San Diego’s inexperience and creating easy fast break opportunities. The Lions led by 23 at the half and did not let up after halftime.

“Our half-court, three-quarter court press has been effective for us,” Fairfax coach Harvey Kitani said. “We’re getting better, we have to get better. We’ve taken some tough losses, but we’re playing better and that’s encouraging.”

As for the one-on-one matchup between Tyler and Fairfax center Renardo Sidney, currently being pursued by a number of Division I schools, it could be considered a push – Tyler finished with 29 points and eight rebounds while Sidney had 28 and 11. Both players exchanged blows in the low post and monster dunks.

“Personally, I really don’t have too much respect for his game,” Tyler said of Sidney. “I just don’t think he’s a great basketball player.”

It was definitely an improvement for Tyler from last year’s game against Fairfax in which he was held scoreless.

“From last year to this year, I’m a totally different player,” Tyler said. “It’s been in my mind.”

Despite the loss, San Diego (9-6) is the third-ranked team in the section and still considered one of the best teams in San Diego. The Cavers have not lost to a San Diego section team this year and are 3-0 in Eastern League play.

“To me, I think we’re No. 1,” Tyler said. “We train like a No. 1 team, we wake up and go to school like a No. 1 team. We have to play like a No. 1 team. Most nights we play like a No. 1 team.”

The Cavers return to action next Friday at home against Hoover. The Cardinals are 17-4 and ranked second in the section.

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San Diego guard Jourdan Ward fights through a Fairfax double team.

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