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Posted On: 03/3/18 9:56 PM
AZUSA – Five observations from the CIF Southern Section 2A Division championship game Saturday afternoon at Azusa Pacific University, won by Brentwood School over the Crossroads Schools, 48-41:
*Brentwood junior Braelee Albert (PICTURED) – and Coach Ryan Bailey’s entire Eagles’ program, for that matter – are going to have a lifetime fondness for APU’ Felix Center.
A year ago, Albert hit a 27-footer, buzzer-beating shot in overtime to give his team a 54-52 decision over Burbank for the 3AA crown, the program’s first section championship since 1991.
It wasn’t quite as dramatic Saturday – although there was plenty of that – but Albert was still The Man for the Eagles, scoring 14 points, grabbing 17 rebounds and dishing five assists.
And he thoroughly dominated Shareef O’Neal in the decisive fourth quarter when he grabbed seven rebounds and scored four points (all on free throws) to O’Neal’s zero and zero.
Albert’s effort under the backboards was as impressive as I’ve seen anywhere in high school hoops this season.
He scored 27 points with 11 rebounds in the game vs. Burbank in 2017.
*The 6-foot-9 O’Neal – the of the Hall of Fame member and now-TBS commentator – finished with nine points (three of nine from the field), five rebounds and five blocked shots.
O’Neal, who recently announced he was going to attend UCLA in the fall (earlier in the week he “de-committed” from the University of Arizona), has a lot of progress to make if he’s going to be as good a player as a lot of people already assume he is.
He’s got to become a much more determined and consistent rebounder, for one, and he’s got to develop some kind of back-to-the-bucket post offensive skill.
Right now, at least, he seems far too willing to roam on the perimeter and not take advantage of his size and immense physical tools.
*It was quite a day for the Wadler Family.
Senior guard Charlie Wadler hit a huge – and deep, deep – 3 down the stretch for the Eagles and finished with 10 points and two assists.
Two hours before his freshman sister, Sammy Wadler, hit a tying 3-pointer from the left corner and then, just moments later, got a steal and floater from the left baseline at the buzzer to give Brentwood the 55-53 championship-win over Foothill Tech.
*Chalk it up to terrific defense, poor jump shooting or a combination thereof.
But the teams shooting percentages were paltry, at best – Crossroads at 27.1 (16 of 59) and Brentwood at 34.8 (16 of 46).
And they were a combined seven of 33 (21.1) from behind the arc.
*Crossroads’ second most-gifted player, senior guard Darrell Huston, led his team with 19 points but it took 25 shots from the field (nine of 25, including a 3) to get them.