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Posted On: 12/17/17 2:57 PM
LA CANADA, Ca. – It had the “feel” and “execution” of a CIF Southern Section Open Division playoff game.
And the Chatsworth Sierra Canyon-La Verne Damien Saturday night clash during the La Canada High Holiday Classic championship game could end up being a “preview” of an Open Division contest we could see in late February or early March.
Ultimately, a Sierra Canyon underclass- and transfer-laden lineup – with the sons of three former NBA players – had just a bit too many ways to produce at key moments during the Trailblazers 81-76 victory over a veteran Damien group.
K.J. Martin (25 points and 11 rebounds), Scotty Pippen Jr. (pictured/seven points and seven assists) and Terren Frank (16 points, including his team’s first 10 in the final quarter) all shined throughout with pops Kenyon Martin, Scotty Pippen and Tellis Frank looking on.
The 6-foot-6 Martin (who was at Mission Hills Chaminade as a sophomore) rarely had to dribble and may not have taken a jump shot. But he repeatedly beat the Spartans to the glass for rebounds and especially high-wire finishes – most of those of the crush-the-rim-in-the-process – to earn event Most Outstanding Player honors.
But a couple of youngsters with non-NBA lineages, seniors Duane Washington (an Ohio State-bound transfer from Grand Rapids in Michigan with 16 points and four assists) and Adili Kuerban (15 points, including four 3s), also had critical roles in a victory during the contest pitting two of the Top 10 clubs in California.
Seniors Cameron Shelton (23 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds), Eli McCullough (19 points including five 3s) and Eric Hancik (18 points and seven rebounds) did their best to keep their team within striking distance.
Claiming that Damien was facing its “first real test” is putting more than just slightly mildly.
The Spartans outscored their first nine opponents by an average margin of 48.7 points – with 21 points being the closest any of those teams got to within them.
If the teams do hook up again in the SS Open Playoffs (Sierra Canyon, with a starting lineup with each member now at a NCAA Division program, prevailed over the Spartans in the second-round last season), each will have an additional potentially key element.
Sierra Canyon will add junior Cassius Stanley (Harvard-Westlake) while Damien gets sophomore Amar Brown (Cantwell-Sacred Heart) on Jan. 2 when the transfers become eligible after 30-day sit-outs that are required when players and their families don’t make formal changes in residence.