Video: High School basketball Top 25
Bass Pro champs Oak Hill Academy get a crack at No. 2 University on Monday.
MORAGA, Calif. —
Two-time California state champion Salesian,
featuring Connecticut-bound guard James Akinjo, headlines the 21st
annual MaxPreps/De La Salle Martin Luther King Jr. Classic at St. Mary's
College on Jan. 15.
Check in here for live results, including a live stream from The Cube, throughout the day. Here's the link to the stream
and here's the day's lineup:
St. Patrick-St. Vincent (Vallejo) Bruins 52, Las Lomas (Walnut Creek) Knights 48
As defending state Division IV champion, a young St. Patrick-St. Vincent has carried a very large burden this season. "A big arrow every night," SPSV coach Derek Walker. "It forces us to grow up fast."
Walker was thrilled to face a Las Lomas team with an equal burden — a 15-0 record.
Behind the large presence inside of 6-foot-8 sophomore Dishon Jackson
(16 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks) and overall floor game from Akil Edwards
(14 points), the Bruins (10-5) held off a cold-shooting and slow-starting Las Lomas squad in the opening game.
The Knights (15-1), who got 17 points from Jason Holman
and 14 by Robert Prince
, fell behind 6-0 and never led. Las Lomas seemed bothered by the long wing span of Jackson, who's parents are 6-7 and 6-4. Doctors have told his parents he'll be a 7-footer.
Jackson averaged just 4.2 points and 3.5 rebounds last season on the Bruins' 28-7 season. According to Walker, "we lost 90 percent of everything." Jackson has taken on a much bigger role as a sophomore.
"He definitely changes things on the defensive end," Walker said. "He's growing in all areas, on and off the court. This was a good one for him and us."
It wasn't so good for the Knights, which trailed 6-0 early and 18-6 early in the second and 40-28 late in the third. A big 12-1 run in the fourth, led by Prince closed the gap to 48-46 with 40.7 seconds left. Edwards, the starting quarterback on SPSV's football team, hit three straight free throws to seal it.
Las Lomas coach Brian Dietschy made no excuses for the slow start, 10 a.m. start or not.
"They had to experience the same thing as us," Dietschy said. "Hats off to (the Bruins). They're a really good team and well coached. We just didn't have the energy needed throughout to win a big game like this. We showed it in the end, but we needed that effort from the start."
Both teams have huge games on Friday — Las Lomas travels to Clayton Valley (Concord) and SPSV hosts Salesian.
"Clayton Valley is real good" Dietschy said. "They've played together forever, they're well coached and they like to play up-tempo. We're going to need to bounce back."
Said Walker: "It's a big week. This a real good start." Moreau Catholic (Hayward) Mariners 59, Woodcreek (Roseville) Timberwolves 56
In a match-up of what might of have, the pair of defending Northern California champions showed they had plenty right now in a very entertaining contest.
In the end, the Mariners used all their balance and strong junior class to pull out a hard-fought win over the defending NorCal Open Division champion.
Two free throws by Glenn Byrd
, just returning from injury, made two free throws with 22.6 seconds left to break a 56-56 tie. After a miss, Leonard Turner
(12 points) sealed it with a free throw for Moreau (11-4), which got a team-high 17 points from Amil Fields
and 14 from Lionel Anderson
Woodreek (13-5) was led by a huge game from Chris Cagle
, a 6-7 senior, who had 28 points and 15 rebounds. Cagle has had to carry much of the load after Jordan Brown, a 6-11 post ranked among the top five seniors in the nation, transferred to Prolific Prep over the summer.
Moreau Catholic coach Frank Knight was sort of empathetic, but his team is missing Kyree Walker, a 6-6 sophomore who was the MaxPreps national Freshman of the Year last season. Walker transferred to Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) last spring.
The Mariners also lost the school's career scoring and assist leader Damari Milstead, who graduated and is now at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
"I love this team," Knight said. "I think they've shocked a lot of people thus far. They're a bunch of good guys with a chip on their shoulder because nobody thinks they're very good."
Knight loved his team's effort on Monday, "even though we must have missed 20 layups. But we're executing and getting the shots we want. We're getting better every day."
Oak Park Eagles 77, Valley Christian (San Jose) Warriors 54
Before the game, second-year Valley Christian coach Mark DeLuca was raving about the quality and depth of the West Catholic Athletic League. His team opened the season with nine straight losses, but sustained four straight losses to open WCAL.
The former coach of Berkeley, with stints at Salesian, Pinole Valley and St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) said: "From top to bottom, this is the toughest league I've ever seen. Wow."
Judging from its play Monday, Oak Park is likely better than all of them. The Eagles (12-6) showed off an impressive array of talent, led by 6-10 senior forward Riley Battin
, a Utah commit who scored a game-high 28 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Clark Slajchert
a 6-1 sophomore, added 20 points, his 6-4 senior brother Wes Slajchert
had 13 points and six assists and 6-11 senior Ezekiel Richards
contributed 10 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.
Oak Park's length made life tough for Valley Christian's talented 6-8 junior Jay Allen-Tovar
who managed just seven points. The Warriors (9-5), who have now lost five straight, got 16 points from Jaylon Bryant
and 13 by Cameron Fini
A driving layup by Allen-Tovan gave Valley Christian a 14-13 lead, but Clark Slajchert finished the quarter with a fastbreak layup, starting an 11-2 run. Oak Park would never trail.
Battin, who came in averaging 25 points and 14 rebounds per game, showed off his offensive game with a variety of mid-range jumpers and drives to the hoop. He also drilled three 3-pointers.
Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland) Dragons 64, Pleasant Grove (Utah) Vikings 54
dynamic guard duo of Utah-signee
(11 points, 12 rebounds,
4 steals) and Washington-bound Elijah Hardy
(12 points, seven rebounds,
seven assists) were fantastic, but the outside shooting of Ross Williams
(19 points) was the difference for the Dragons (10-5) who held
off the Vikings (13-2) and 7-3 center Matt Van Komen
(10 points, 14
rebounds, eight blocks).
With Van Komen, who picked up two fouls
in the first four minutes, clogging up the middle, the Dragons had to
go deep to get their points. Williams delivered with four treys in the
The Utah power, which also got 12 points from Kawika Akina
and 10 by Casey Brown
, closed to 55-53 on a putback by Kael Mikkelsen
. But Gaskin drilled a 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining to put the
Dragons in control.
Two free throws down the stretch by Hardy and Williams sealed it.
Grove hung tough despite Van Domen's foul trouble. Jesse Boggess
, a 6-7
senior, dropped in a couple nice jump hooks and Akina, a 5-9 guard,
constantly sliced through the O'Dowd defense to score several tough,
hanging, contested layups.
But O'Dowd kept up its defensive
pressure, defended the interior well to pull out its fifth straight
victory. The Eagles dropped to 13-3.
Damien (La Verne) Spartans 61, De La Salle (Concord) Spartans 52
In a game of drastic runs and big swings,
delivered the knockout blow.
The Damien 6-2 point guard scored 22 of his game-high 33 points in the second half as the visitors from La Verne survived a 22-4 run in the first half to blow past De La Salle (11-5), which might have played its best game of the season. Certainly, its best half.
De La Salle turned a 13-10 deficit into a 32-17 lead with 1:26 left in the half. Justin Pratt
went for 15 of his team-high 17 in the first half, Cade Arbogast
(11 points) drilled a pair of three-pointers and Tim Kostolansky
had three interior buckets.
Throughout the run, Damien coach Michael LeDuc never called a timeout. Clearly he wanted his team to fight through it. Or learn from it.
Whatever they learned and what he said at halftime worked, as it closed the half and started the third with a 22-1 run, to go up 39-33 following a three-pointer by Elijah McCullough
. De La Salle didn't go away. It closed the third with a 6-0 run and the teams entered the fourth knotted at 39-39.
From there, it was largely all Shelton, the Northern Arizona commit, who scored 13 in the fourth, leading a 22-13 run. He scored seven straight points to open up a 55-50 lead with 2:25 left in the game. De La Salle really didn't threaten from there. Eric Hancik
added 11 points for Damien, which improved to 16-3. Salesian (Richmond) Pride 76, vs. Modesto Christian (Modesto) Crusaders 62
the two best teams in Northern California looked very similar in terms
of talent, size, pace and shooters. But the Pride (17-1) has James Akinjo
— and a little more cohesion.
Akinjo, the super savvy
6-1, 180-pound point guard, who plays very much like his idol Chris
Paul, scored a MLK Classic day best of 35 points to go along with seven
assists and four rebounds as Salesian pulled away in the fourth quarter.
Not coincidentally, that is when the Connecticut-bound senior
was at his best, scoring 13 of his 22 in the second half. He also dished
off for two nice assists, one to Joshua Jefferson
(11 points), who dunked
it home, and the other to Shane Bell
for a layup. Jaden McClanahan
added 13 points for Salesian, which scored 45 points in the
second half of a very entertaining contest to conclude the one-day,
six-game event. Junior Ballard
, playing in just his third game
for the Crusaders (13-3) since transferring from Lathrop, had 15 points,
added 13 and Michael Pearson
chipped in 11.
been playing together so long we don't get rattled much," Akinjo said.
"We could have played better. I think that was about a 'C' for us, but
all we really wanted to do is get the win. This one was a big game for
Open Division seeding."
Akinjo seemed to get to the rim when he
wanted even under heavy duress. When the drive wasn't there, he made
three three-pointers to improve on his 24.8 points per game average.
'Big Game James," Akinjo always seems to do well at St. Mary's College
and big gyms in general. He had 29 of his team's 45 points in a win last
season over St. John Bosco (Bellflower).
"I don't know why, but I like to play here," he said.
And all the fans in attendance like to watch.