BERKELEY, Calif. —
It's all about commitment for the De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
No, not the commitment to defense or teamwork or brotherhood. Yes, the Spartans and coach Frank Allocco, who have been preaching those principals for years, still believe in those, but the new found pledge this season is to pace. Running. Pushing the ball up-and-down the floor.
No matter the opponent.
Even with two lightning rod guards, one who was hampered by a hamstring injury, defending state Division III champion Chaminade (West Hills)
didn't deter the Spartans, who recorded a convincing 56-44 win in a premier game of the 18th MaxPreps Martin Luther King Jr. Classic Monday at Haas Pavilion on the campus of Cal. Vince Romeo
, a vastly improved 5-11 senior guard had 21 points, Jordan Ratinho
14 and the Spartans used a 16-0 starting late in the second quarter to improve to 14-1. Jordan Ogundiran
, a dynamic 5-11 senior point guard, had 21 points and four assists for Chaminade (15-4), which got just four points from leading scorer Michael Oguine
, who was obviously still hampered from a left hamstring injury. He came in averaging 22 per game but finished 2-of-12 from the floor in 23 minutes.
Chaminade also lost 6-6, 300-pound post Bar Milo, who was ejected in the fourth quarter for a flagrant foul.
"No excuses," Chaminade coach Todd Wolfson. "That's a very good defensive team and we struggled badly during that run. We needed to find a way but couldn't."
Meanwhile, De La Salle, known for its slowdown play over the years, has sped things up. The Spartans held a 13-6 edge on fastbreak points.
"We're going to run no matter what," De La Salle coach Frank Allocco said. "We're not a very big team and you look at us and there's not much of a wow factor. So we have to win with a pow factor."
Romeo has provided a big scoring punch to compliment three-year starters Ratinho and Nikhil Peters
. He was used sparingly last year as a junior and had trouble with his outside shot. "Vince Romeo is the perfect role model of someone who really worked on his shot and game in the off-season," Allocco said. He's done all the little things. He's our heart and soul. He's definitely put in the time."
Romeo made 7 of 13 shots and five of six free throws to go along with four steals.
Chaminade forced De La Salle into eight early turnovers, but the Spartans finished with just 12 overall.
"We've been averaging about six per game," Allocco said. "Once we stopped turning the ball over we got into what we like to do." Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 68, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 67
On a day filled with double-digit margins, Moreau Catholic pulled out barnburner in the final game of the day. Damari Milstead
, one of the top sophomores in the country, made a go-ahead runner in the lane with 40 seconds left and added two free throws down the stretch lifting the Mariners.
Milstead finished with 19 points, Cal-bound junior Oscar Frayer
added 18 and Terrell Brown
, who clinched the victory with two free throws with 6.4 seconds left, 15 points as Moreau improved to 11-5.
Mitty, which dropped to 8-5, got 23 points and 12 rebounds from 6-9 junior Ben Kone
and 13 points by Dakari Monroe
. The Monarchs played without second leading scorer and rebounder Sebastian Much
, out with a hip flexor.
“We needed a game like this,” Moreau coach Frank Knight. “’We’ve been averaging 90 points a game the last three games and won by 40 every game. “We needed a punch in the mouth and Mitty gave us one.
“Luckily we got the last one.”
The game went back and forth and Mitty, which outrebounded Moreau 35-17, seemed to take control after a Nick LaBruna
deuce to go up 50-45. But utilizing a fullcourt press, the Mariners went on a 16-5 run to go up 61-55.
Mitty eventually took a 63-62 lead on two free throws by Monroe, but Milstead, a second-team freshman All-American, drove the lane and flipped the ball off the glass to give Moreau the lead for good 64-63. After a Mitty miss, Milstead made two free throws.
Monroe added a tough interior deuce with 10 seconds left before Brown sank his two free throws to make it 68-65. A 3-pointer by Riley Grigsby was short and followed home by Tommy Baumel at the horn.
“That’s just Damari,” Knight said of Milstead's go-ahead bucket. “He’s a big game player.”
Mitty shot a blistering 63 percent from the field (29 of 46) and with the big rebound edge, a victory seemed inevitable. But Moreau forced 19 turnovers and turned them into 19 points.
"Turnovers will kill you," Kennedy said. "The worst part is many occurred in the back court and we couldn't set up our defense. ... It was a tough loss. But it doesn't get any easier. Our goal is to just get better." El Cerrito 78, Berkeley 65
senior point guard Tyrell Alcorn
had a clear and colorful word for his team's transition with the addition of 6-foot-5 power forward Carlos Johnson
, a transfer from Arizona.
"Wonderful," Alcorn said.
He said that following El Cerrito's entertaining win over Berkeley
in the first game of MaxPreps Martin Luther King Jr. Classic.
Johnson, a powerful and explosive athletic in the mode of a young Charles Barkley, had 25 points and 12 rebounds as the Gauchos (15-2), ranked 18th in the state by MaxPreps, had an extra gear every time the pesky Yellowjackets (10-5) made a run. And they made many. Sayeed Pridgett
added 19 for El Cerrito, Alcorn had 12 points and Jalen Walton
and Devin Davis
added nine points apiece. Niles Malone
, a 5-9 super quick junior, scored all 17 of his points in the second half for Berkeley, while teammates Zach Copeland
and Asa Allen
had 11 apiece and Casey Roquemore
chipped in 11.
Johnson and Pridgett were a combined 17 of 19 from the floor and El Cerrito made 29 of 47 (61 percent). Davis had seven rebounds and five assists, as did Alcorn.
"(Johnson) fit in right from the start," Alcorn said. "It's great having a big, fast strong athlete like Carlos. But the best part is he was like a brother right from the start. He isn't cocky at all."
A 15-0 run gave El Cerrito a 25-11 lead, before the Yellowjackets closed to 35-28 by halftime. Johnson took over with nine straight points in the third – three buckets in transition — to go up 48-39 before Malone took over with a 3-pointer, layup and two free throws to close to 48-46.
That's as close as Berkeley would get. Johnson sent home a thunderous dunk and completed a three-point play, added two more free throws and Alcorn finished the quarter with a high-flying fastbreak slam.
"I love this place," Alcorn said. "Springy floor. Soft rims. Feels like a college game."
Johnson thinks the Gauchos are capable of winning a state championship, even if they are called up to the Open Division, which is likely.
El Cerrito opted up to Division II for the North Coast Section and won't have to face nationally ranked Bishop O'Dowd like it did last season.
"If we play together like we did today, we can definitely give everyone a run for their money," Johnson said.
Johnson played quarterback as a freshman at Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.), but hasn't played football since. The 220-pounder is considering it his senior season, he said, but don't count on it considering he's getting major college basketball interest. He already has an offer from Cal, which must have liked what it saw from Johnson on Monday.
Sacramento 82, Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 56Solomon Young
said it wasn't just the best game of the year for his talented team.
"It was an A-plus," said the 6-foot-7 junior. "We shared the ball, we made shots and we played good defense. That's the way we should always play."
It helps when Young, a quiet, unselfish and often times non-aggressive offensive force, gets offensive as he did Monday. One of the nation's top juniors scored 13 of his team's 17 points and finished with a game-high 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks as the Dragons (14-4) took a 26-10 lead at the end of the first and never let up.
added 15 points and nine rebounds, and Jermaine Henderson
and Sayvon Hines
added 10 points apiece for the Dragons, who out-rebounded SHC 48-32 and shot 50 percent from the field (32 of 64).
Sacred Heart Cathedral (8-6), a perennial state Division III power, got 21 points from Alfred Hollins
and 10 by Ramzi Carter Jr
"We're a much better team when Solomon is aggressive like that," Sacramento coach Derek Swafford said. "We tried to get him going early and it paid off."Salesian (Richmond) 76, St. Mary's (Stockton) 55Marquel Johnson
drilled five 3-pointers and had a team-high 17 points as the Pride (11-6) played its best offensive game of the year with an impressive win over the Rams (12-6), who got a game-high 26 points from former Salesian standout Lance Coleman II.
had 16, Jamario Bibb
12 and DeMar Dunn
11 for the Pride, who have lost three league games by a total of six points. They travel to El Cerrito on Wednesday.
"I liked the way we shared the ball and we always seem to have someone shoot very well here, which isn't easy to do," Salesian coach Bill Mellis said. "We've had some very good performances here and not so good. This was a good one. Hopefully we can build off of it."
Franklin (Elk Grove) 44, Newark Memorial 25Phillip Fayne II
, a 6-7 senior, had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Christian Allen
, a 6-2 senior, added 12 as Franklin (11-6) locked down on the defensive end to win a defensive struggle.
Franklin held Newark Memorial (6-11) scoreless the final eight minutes while recording the solid victory. The 25 points was a season-best defensive effort by 19 points for the winners.
"This was a great experience for us," said Franklin coach Jesse Formaker, a Cal graduate and former Hayward High School coach. "To play in a big venue like this against a good opponent was great. ... We have tons of ability and ability. Going into any game I never fear anyone. We just have to be more consistent."