Tarkanian Classic: Rancho Christian tumbled in opener

High School
Southern California

Posted On: 12/21/17 10:29 AM

LAS VEGAS – Southern California-based programs won three of the five first-round games they were involved with in the Platinum Division Wednesday during Day I of the Tarkanian Boys Classic in the Orleans Hotel Arena.

Chino Hills, Corona Centennial and L.A. Westchester moved into the Thursday championship quarterfinals that will be played at Bishop Gorman High.

Pasadena joined Temecula Rancho Christian as narrow first-round losers on Wednesday.

And the latter result qualified as the “stunner” in the only day of tournament action that will be held at the Orleans this week.

Coach Ray Barefield’s team came to Las Vegas with a 6-0 record, the foundation of which was made up of victories over Sacramento Capital Christian (during the Nov. 25 NorCal Tip-Off) and Chino Hills and Etiwanda over the final two days of the adidas Battle Zone Tournament in Corona.

But the Eagles couldn’t overcome the jump shooting of seniors of Tanner McCliment-Call and Jacob Pfennings, who combined for nine 3s and 43 points in a 66-62 victory for Post Falls of Idaho.

Post Falls (which is located in a city of the same name, with a population of about 28,000, that is located near the Washington border and sits between Spokane and Coeur d’Alene) came into Las Vegas with a 2-1 record.

And Coach Mike McLean returned all of the same personnel that helped the Trojans go 19-4 last season with a loss in the Idaho State 5A semifinals.

The 6-foot-7 Pfennings signed a National Letter of Intent last month to play baseball at Oregon State.

Six-nine junior Isaiah Mobley did his best to keep the Eagles within striking distance while scoring 26 points.

Pasadena (3-2) came from 15 points down late in the first half before falling to a very gifted and veteran Las Vegas Clark team, 50-47, as a contested 3 by Darius Brown II was short as time expired.

UNLV-bound Bryce Hamilton, saddled with foul trouble in the first half, scored 19 of his game-high 20 points over the final 16 minutes for Pasadena.

Six-six juniors Jalen Hill and Antoine Jackson had 12 points apiece for Clark, which will take a 7-0 record into its Thursday evening (4:30) quarterfinal with Westchester.

As impressive as Hamilton and Mobley were on Wednesday, the most dominant player – by a large margin – on Day 1 was 6-9 junior Onyeka Okongwu (pictured).

Chino Hills trailed Denver George Washington by as many as five points in the late going before seven consecutive points by senior guard Ofure Ujadughele – the last of those coming on a layup with about 40 seconds to go.

That was set up on a block by Okongwu, his seventh to go along with 32 points and 12 rebounds. He was 14 of 16 from the field and four of five on free throws.

The Huskies, in their first season under Coach Dennis Latimore, improved to 4-3 (snapping a three-game losing streak) and will face Putnam City (OK) North at 3:10 in the first of the quarterfinals Thursday.

Centennial overcame a 14-point deficit early in the second half to knock off Washington (DC) Wilson, 73-57, and earn a Thursday (7:10 p.m.) clash with the host Gaels.

Sophomore guard D.J. Davis scored 17 of his game-high 28 points in the second half for the Huskies.

And the Westchester Comets, the division’s consolation champion here a year ago, overcame a sluggish start to ease its way past Houston Westbury Christian, 52-37, as transfers Zellie Hudson (San Gabriel Academy) and Kaelen Allen (Fontana Summit) scored 12 and 10 points, respectively.