San Jose State Nevada-bound Terell Brown drove and made a lay-up with 1.2 seconds remaining to lift regionally-ranked Moreau Catholic (Hayward, Calif.) to a 60-59 victory over FAB 50 No. 13 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) in the marquee game of the ninth annual Prep2Prep Tip-Off Classic. Check out Brown’s game-winning bucket and check back later for full game highlights. In the first game of the day, Nevada-bound Kenny Wooten of Manteca (Calif.) opened with a bang, as he threw down eight dunks in a 26-point, 12-rebound performance. Check out Wooten’s first-game raw footage below and check back later for more highlights from the event.
Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 60, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 59
The Moreau Catholic Mariners had all the motivation they would ever need entering its matchup with defending CIF Division V state champion Sierra Canyon in the nightcap of the Prep2Prep Tip-Off Classic.
The Mariners were decided underdogs against California’s No. 2 ranked team and the No. 13 team in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings. The Moreau coaching staff and faithful also were not happy with its No. 3 ranking in NorCal behind event participant Modesto Christian and De La Salle of Concord. It gave the team even more incentive and bulletin board material, as did the stunning blowout loss in last year’s NorCal Open Division playoffs that put the Mariners in their preseason rankings position in the first place.
After Modesto Christian lost earlier in the evening and with a string of upsets at the event, Moreau Catholic had a perfect opportunity to make a statement of its own and shake up the preseason rankings. The Mariners, which opened up the season No. 18 in the preseason West Region Top 20 Rankings, proved they could play with one of the nation’s top teams and hung around long enough to pull out a one-point win before a frenzied crowd at Newark Memorial High School.
The game-clinching play took place when Moreau senior guard Terell Brown (San Jose St.) took an inbounds pass near his own bench, drove the lane and converted a lay-up with 1.2 seconds remaining. In the pandemonium of the play, the clock ran out and the NorCal faithful stormed the court. Order was eventually restored and time put back on the clock. That’s when Sierra Canyon’s Terrance McBride took the ball, ran the baseline while teammate Devearl Ramsey (Nevada) tried to jump in front of a defender to draw a foul. It didn’t work, but McBride’s 60-foot pass to junior forward Cody Riley was on target near the left elbow. Riley was able to cleanly catch it, turn around and launch a clean fall-away jumper…that was just long.
“There were a lot of nay naysayers and a lot of sportswriters didn’t think we could play with them, but in our locker room we believed,” Moreau Catholic coach Frank Knight said. “Terell Brown and Damari Milstead showed they are two of the best guards in the state. We were down 14, but we kept fighting.”
Although Brown made the winning basket, it was Milstead, one of California’s top juniors, that made the play of the game. With Moreau Catholic trailing 59-58, senior wing Oscar Frayer received the ball on the right elbow looking to drive, but he ran into his own Moreau teammate and lost the ball. Sierra Canyon recovered and the ball was thrown towards the Trailblazers’ basket to a streaking player. The ball didn’t necessarily have to be advanced by Sierra Canyon, but it was an instinctual sequence. Milstead made an even better instinctual play when he beat the offensive player to the spot the ball was going to land at and intercepted it like a defensive back in football.
Moreau Catholic called timeout with 5.1 seconds remaining to set up Brown’s heroics.
“I thought if we cleaned up our first half mistakes and stayed close, I thought we’d execute at the end,” said Milstead, who finished with a game-high 20 points, six rebounds and four big steals.
Brown made two of the Mariners’ four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Frayer, who was once committed to CAL but recently re-opened his recruitment, added 14 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
Riley led three Sierra Canyon players in double-figures with 16 points. He added eight rebounds. Junior off-guard Adam Seiko led Sierra Canyon with 17 points, while junior point guard Remy Martin added 10 points. Junior forward Ira Lee added 12 rebounds and two steals for team that opened the season No. 1 nationally in one poll.
Sierra Canyon led 33-25 at halftime and its lead grew to as big as 14 points, but the Mariners trailed by only one (48-47) entering the fourth period behind some quality offensive rebounding and finishing by Frayer. Neither team boxed out well on the glass, but the team with the best personnel in SoCal let the team with the best personnel in NorCal back in the game and it came back to nip them in the rear at the end.
Moreau Catholic proved it can play with the nation’s elite and is FAB 50-worthy, provided it keeps up its winning ways heading into the Maxpreps Holiday Classic after Christmas. Sierra Canyon, meanwhile, will have to bounce back and prove it can finish off close games when its opponent’s talent level is similar or nearly equal.
It’s only the first game, but Moreau Catholic made a loud statement that will be heard throughout the country.
Newark Memorial (Newark) 78, Woodcreek (Roseville) 68 OT
The host school of the Prep2Prep Tip-Off Classic took on California’s No. 19 ranked team, according to CalHiSports.com, and came away with an upset victory to kick off its 2015-16 campaign.
Woodcreek led 63-58, but Newark Memorial coach Craig Ashmore always fields teams with a never-say-die attitude and it battled back to tie the game late in regulation on two made free throws by 5-foot-10 sophomore guard Rai Reyes Bennett. It was his only two free throws of the game.
After Woodcreek couldn’t get the ball to its top player, sophomore center Jordan Brown, on its final possession of regulation, Newark Memorial dominated the extra four-minute period. The Cougars outscored Woodcreek, 14-4, behind the play of guard Dacaurey Brown. The 5-foot-9 junior scored 16 points in the fourth period and overtime and finished with a team-high 23 points.
Brown dominated for Woodcreek, finishing with game-highs of 33 points, 18 rebounds and six blocked shots. The 6-foot-9 Brown, one of the nation’s top sophomores, was subjected to double and triple teaming all game long, but the Timberwolves struggled for a majority of the game moving without the ball or making crisp post-entry passes to their top player.
Woodcreek was ranked higher to begin the season than Sheldon, which was impressive in its Tip-Off Classic win over Army-Navy, but it looks like the team misses Noah Blackwell (Long Beach St.) more than anticipated off last year’s CIF NorCal Division 1 regional finalist squad. As for Newark Memorial, it continues to show why it’s one of the NorCal’s top program regardless of yearly personnel changes.
Folsom 53, Modesto Christian 51
In a matchup of two of NorCal’s best teams, it was the team that got to the line charity stripe more often and made more that pulled out the win. The foul shots were particularly important since both teams were anemic shooting the ball from the field.
Folsom shot 29 percent (16-of-55) from the field, but made 18-of-25 free throws (72 percent). Modesto Christian shot 35 percent (19-of-55), while making 9-of-14 shots from the charity stripe (64 percent).
It was the 17th and 18th made free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining that clinched the game for Folsom. The hero of the game for the Cougars was sophomore big man Mason Forbes, who stepped to the line and calmly nailed a pair after being fouled underneath following a couple of passes on the perimeter. Folsom got the ball in the hands of its best player, St. Mary’s-bound Jordan Ford, and eventually the Cougars got the ball to the right man.
Forbes, whose production will be key on a perimeter-oriented team, finished with four points and eight rebounds. Ford was named player of the game after scoring 23 points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out three assists.
Modesto Christian led entering the fourth period and late in the game despite its shooting woes. The main reason was the defensive presence of unsigned senior center Robinson Idehen. He controlled the paint and the defensive glass until fouling out with the Crusaders leading 51-50. Also hampering Modesto Christian’s chances at the end was a leg injury to three-year guard Christian Ellis. He was unable to complete the game due to what appeared to be severe cramping.
Idehen finished with eight points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Ellis finished with eight points on 3-of-11 shooting from the field. The Crusaders’ only double-digit scorer was 6-foot-2 senior guard Jordan Hollins-Buckner, who finished with 11 points.
Sheldon (Sacramento) 91, Army-Navy (Carlsbad) 70
This was a classic game of runs and since there was three of them, it’s not hard to figure out the victor had two of them. Sheldon jumped out to a 21-10 lead near the end of the first quarter, but Army-Navy outplayed the Huskies in the second and third periods, only to be outplayed down the stretch.
Army-Navy actually took the lead late in the third period and trailed 61-55 entering the fourth period, only to be outscored 30-15 in the final eight minutes.
Sheldon was the quicker team in transition and had more weapons. Its most impressive all-around performer among five players in double figures was 6-foot-6 senior Matt Manning. A LMU recruit for baseball with a 95 plus MPH fastball, Manning is a fine high school basketball player with few, if any, weaknesses. He netted 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Teammate Drew Cobb, a muscular 6-foot-3 junior, added 20 points.
“We have a lot of options; we have shooters and drivers,” Manning said. “We were prepared for this game for a while. We came ready to play.”
Isaiah Brooks, a 6-foot-1 senior, added 14 points for Sheldon, which came into the game ranked No. 20 in the state of California by CalHiSports.com.
Richard Polanco, a 6-foot-7 junior power forward, led Army-Navy of the CIF San Diego Section with 25 points and nine rebounds.
Weston Ranch (Stockton) 82, Immanuel (Reedley) 77, OT
The Cougars pulled off an upset of the CIF Central Section’s preseason top-ranked team behind a 38-point performance from Cal-St. Stanislaus-bound guard Jaelen Ragsdale. The left-handed speedster couldn’t be contained with his combination of slick ball-handling, outside shooting and slashing ability. He made 14-of-22 shots from the field, including 5-of-9 3-pointers, grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists.
“When Jaelen is shooting the ball well, it’s hard to keep him in front and they never trapped him,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan said. “After a stretch where we didn’t rebound well, we rebounded well at the end.”
Fred Lavender, a 6-foot-2 senior also bound for Cal-St. Stanislaus, added 22 points for Weston Ranch. Lavender’s biggest play came when he hit a 3-pointer and got fouled with his team leading 74-71 with 1:28 remaining in overtime. He missed the free throw, but the Cougars were able to corral the rebound.
Immanuel trailed by eight points (37-29) at halftime and rallied in the second half behind the play of Tulane-bound point guard Colin Slater Jr., who was saddled with three fouls in the first half. Slater scored on a variety of drives to the basket, finishing with a team-high 28 points. Immanuel tied the game at 67-67 on a jumper by junior forward Darrin Person Jr. (25 points, 13 rebounds) and actually took the lead on two free throws by Slater, but could not hold on to the lead down the stretch.
Dublin 62, Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 48
The defending CIF Open Division champion Dragons are in rebuilding mode and they were just too inexperienced for a veteran Dublin team that returned five starters.
The best of Dublin’s lot, junior guard Timmy Falls, led the way to victory with 21 points, six rebounds and three assists. Falls has been offered by San Jose St., Weber St. and Montana St. He changes direction well and has a solid pull up game.
Sophomore guard Elijah Hardy led O’Dowd with 13 points and eight rebounds. He shot 4-of-18 from the field, as the Dragons shot 18-of-63 (29 percent) as a team.
Manteca 73, St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 45
The Buffaloes looked like a state-ranked team behind the play of Nevada-bound senior forward Kenny Wooten and junior Tydus Verhoeven. Wooten showed why he is arguably NorCal’s most athletic frontcourt player, as he dominated in transition and played a notch higher above the rim than anyone else on the floor.
Wooten finished with a game-high 26 points (on 11-13 shooting from the field with at least four spectacular back line dunks), 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. Wooten put his stamp on the game early by controlling the paint on both ends, as you can see in this exclusive BIL video.
Verhoeven, a point forward who is hearing from Stanford, San Jose St., Weber State, and Nevada, among others, contributed 10 points, four rebounds and six assists. His floor game, passing and all-around gamemanship opened up scoring opportunities for teammates.
“I think our team should win section and make a good run at state,” Verhoeven said. “I just have to more aggressive since I’m the most experienced player on the team.”
Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at [email protected]. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores