Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) is in good position to battle for the mythical FAB 50 national title, but after its big win on Thursday over preseason FAB 50 No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), the Trailblazers had to catch a flight from Indiana to Las Vegas on Friday to play a showcase game versus talented Centennial (Las Vegas, Nev.).
Centennial, particularly Oregon-bound power point guard Troy Brown, came to play and gave Sierra Canyon all it can handle. Brown finished with 21 points and had THE PLAY of the Tarkanian Classic, dribbling between two defenders and throwing down a facial on Marvin Bagley III, which sent the crowd into a frenzy in a close game. It was 45-40 Sierra Canyon at that point in the second half and all that spectacular play did was seem to fire up the Trailblazers, who went on to post a 61-52 victory to move to 7-0 on the season.
Bagley, who sat a long period of time (roughly six minutes) in the first half, picked up his play at the end of the game to finish with 18 points and seven rebounds. UCLA-bound forward Cody Riley , who played well down the stretch in the win over Oak Hill, finished with 15 points versus Centennial, which came in as a FAB 50 bubble team and fell to 7-2 on the season. Its other loss is to Clark (Las Vegas), which is 1-1 so far in the Platinum Division of the Tarknian Classic. Sierra Canyon and Centennial is not part of the bracket and the unbeaten Trailblazers are boarded a bus back to Southern California Saturday night.
It wasn't its cleanest game, but Sierra Canyon will learn from it. It cannot play down to the competition and has to play consistently for consecutive games if its going to win CIF Southern Section and CIF state open championships.
Tarkanian Semifinals Set
Chino Hills, which is now 9-0 and riding a 44-game winning streak, will take on Roosevelt (Corona, Calif.) in Monday's 4 pm (PT) semifinal at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Roosevelt advanced with a 64-51 victory over Crossroads (Santa Monica, Calif.), as Cal-St. Fullerton-bound Matt Mitchell had 23 points, while CAL-bound Jemarl Baker added 20. If it wasn't for Troy Brown's spectacular play, Mitchell would have the play of the event so far with his own facial dunk over Shareef O'Neal.
The other semifinal will pit FAB 50 No. 18 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) versus host Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) at 5:30 pm (PT). Mater Dei downed Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) in its quarterfinal contest 58-46, as senior forward Justice Sueing had 17 points and five rebounds. Bishop Gorman had no trouble with Westchester (Los Angeles), defeating the Comets 96-53, as seniors Christian Popoola Jr. (BYU) and Charles O'Bannon Jr. (Undecided) netted 21 points each.