Posted On: 03/21/18 4:17 PM
LONG BEACH – Five observations from the Saturday afternoon Etiwanda vs. Sierra Canyon, Southern Regional Open final played in the Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State and won by Sierra Canyon, 58-55:
*The game seemingly was played at a pace and style – grind it out, half-court offense and defense – that favored an Etiwanda that specializes in it.
But Coach Andre Chevalier’s Trail Blazers proved every bit as hospital to the style and “flow” of the game, matching the Eagles’ half-court defensive effectiveness while “grinding out” just enough offense to pull out a spot in Saturday night’s State title game in Sacramento.
*Making Sierra Canyon’s victory all the more impressive is that the Trail Blazers had lost their second-leading scorer – junior Cassius Stanley – in the second quarter after taking a hard fall following his dunk try over the top of Etiwanda’s Krystian Wilson.
His father, Jerome Stanley, said Sunday that Cassius was feeling “fine” and should be able to play in the title game against Sacramento Sheldon.
*Three members of the program “NBA connection”: Scotty Pippen Jr., Kenyon Martin Jr. and Duane Washington Jr. – have had exceptional seasons.
And they were at their best in the fourth quarter, when they combined for all 23 of the Trail Blazers’ points.
Pippen continues to evolve into one of the western class of 2019’s top point guard prospects.
He scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half and made all the key plays with the ball in his hands while often being checked by one of the state’s best on-ball defenders in Elijah Harkless.
And Martin was his usual explosive self around the bucket, as a scorer and rebounder (nine of his 11 points came in the fourth quarter; and he grabbed seven rebounds).
*The aforementioned Harkless, who was the Most Outstanding Player when Etiwanda won the Classic at Damien Platinum Division in December, was outstanding throughout both the sectional and regional playoffs.
And a lot of college coaches are taking notice, too.
Head coaches Dan Monson (LBSU) and Mark Gottfried (Cal State Northridge) were both court-side for the contest and offered Harkless scholarships earlier this week.
*Etiwanda senior post Kessler Edwards (PICTURED) had the opportunity to play in front of his college coach for the first time Saturday night.
Watching from court-side was Lorenzo Romar, who was recently hired by the Waves after spending the past season as the Associate Head Coach at the University of Arizona.
The 6-foot-7 Edwards was at his overpowering-best with 25 points (seven of 11 from the field, including a 3, and perfect in 10 free throw attempts), 12 rebounds, two blocked shots and three seasons.
Don’t be surprising if he’s in the Pepperdine starting lineup as a freshmen with his older brother, Kameron Edwards.