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Posted On: 02/27/18 7:18 PM
RIVERSIDE – Five observations from the terrific CIF Southern Section Open Division semifinal Saturday night at Cal Baptist University that was won Sierra Canyon over then-unbeaten Bishop Montgomery in double overtime, 77-74:
*Unless I see something a whole lot more dynamic, well-played and exciting, this was the best high school game I’ve seen this season.
There was a plethora of gifted players on the court and the defending sectional and state champion Knights came into the game with a 41-game winning streak.
But the Trailblazers are near-perfect execution to the things into the first and then the second overtime and then made all of the big plays down the stretch to win it.
*Sierra Canyon has the best starting lineup in California via senior Duane Washington Jr. (the Ohio State-bound guard), juniors Scotty Pippen Jr., Kenyon Martin Jr. and Cassius Stanley (PICTURED) and sophomore Terren Frank.
And Coach Andre Chevalier’s club was able to pull out the win and get into the March 3 championship game despite perhaps its most innately gifted player, Stanley, hitting just six of 18 shots from the field and five of 11 free throws while committing six turnovers.
But he did launch a laser of an 80-foot inbound pass that Washington was able to snag and convert into the buzzer-beating 3-pointer that sent the game into the first overtime.
And his steal and layup, with his team trailing by three points with three minutes to go in the final OT, was huge, as well.
*Martin’s effectiveness as a scorer (he went for 18 points against Bishop Montgomery, hitting nine of 18 shots) is a real testament to his quickness, explosion to the rim and relentless. He really doesn’t have much of a jump shot and has somewhat limited low-post moves.
When those things come around – ouch!
And there may not be a better rebounder in all of Southern California, regardless of class.
*Pippen isn’t nearly the dazzling player that Washington, Stanley and Martin are.
But his steadiness, patience and ability to get the ball where it needs to go on most possessions, by way of pass or dribble are the marks of a “true” point guard.
*Foul problems limited him to just 16 minutes (he eventually fouled out) and just five points and three rebounds.
But the 6-foot-7 Frank has a lot of offensive skill – in the post and from the perimeter.
He’s going to have to be a bigger factor, I would imagine, if Sierra Canyon is going to knock off Mater Dei in the Pyramid Friday night.