Dobson versus Churchill (Oregon) Game Recap
Game 4 on the day figured to be very exciting, as Dobson boasted three different Division-I players, and Churchill has the fastest team in the event - playing with four fast guards and one fast big, similar to what Cesar Chavez HS does.
The game started fast paced like the Suns used to do with “7 seconds or less.” The game was extremely fun to watch for any avid basketball fan. 6-foot-5 junior SG Ryan Richardson continued his hot shooting with 5 quick points, and 6-foot-5 senior SG Jaron Hopkins (Univ. of Colorado signee) also scored 5 points for himself.
Churchill also came out hot though, as all 5 starters scored at least one basket to take an early 18 to 10 lead. Then two 3-pointers in a row by Dobson's Richardson and Hopkins, and Dobson would switch to a zone to slow down the game and Churchill; for a close 34 to 29 lead for the team from Oregon.
Hopkins had 10 points at the half and Richardson would contribute 8 points. 6-foot-2 junior SG DeShone Brooks had a game-high 13 points from Churchill.
The second half started and Hopkins and 6-foot-6 senior forward Keidren Johnsson threw down two ferocious dunks on back-to-back plays to get the crowd going crazy.
Churchill built on their first half lead - going up by 10 points. Churchill's speed in the open court with their guards and the inefficient play from Dobson had helped build this lead. Ryan Richardson would try to bring them back in the game with two deep 3-pointers in a row, but too many breakdowns on defense, led by the play of tiny 5-foot-6 senior PG Emanuel Morgan, would lead to a 68 to 53 Churchill win.
The speed of Churchill and their timely shooting makes Churchill a very dangerous team - especially if you don’t shoot well against them. Churchill had four players in double-figures, led by Deshone Brooks with a game-high 27 points.
Hopkins and Richardson combined for 36 of their team's 53 total points, as no one else on the team scored more then 5 points.
Gilbert Christian vs WCI (Canada) Game Recap
Game 5 of the day had Gilbert Christian (GC) versus a Canadian team - WCI.
The game began on the defensive side, as 6-foot-3 junior guard Keaton Ranger stole the ball twice in a row, and earned a lay-up and an assist in the process. Then a flurry of points for GC on the break from 6-foot-4 junior SG Roberto Reyes and 6-foot-4 senior SG Dylan Bliss - totalling 10 points between them. Then a 3-point shot in the corner for 6-foot-2 freshman wing Cameron Satterwhite would blow the lead up for GC - 18 to 10.
Then more defense for Keaton Ranger (with a monster block) and another assist to Bliss for 2 points would put GC up by 10 points, for a 20 to 10 lead.
WCI didn’t quit though, as they went on a 10 to 1 run - putting them down only by one point, 21 to 20.
GC would then go on a run of their own behind the scoring from 6-foot-7 junior forward Sam Jones, Reyes, Bliss and Satterwhite. When Gilbert Christian moves the ball to find the open player, they are a hard team to handle and my personal pick to win the Division-III championship. GC would take a 41 to 28 lead into the half.
The second half began with more scoring from Gilbert Christian, as Sam Jones started with a couple of deep 3-balls. But some sloppy play and turnovers kept WCI in the game.
Gilbert Christian would hold on to a 47-37 lead.
GC would coast from there and hold on to a 10 to 15-point lead the rest of the game - winning 74 to 59 over WCI.
Sam Jones was the leading scorer for Gilbert Christian with a team-high 20 points in the victory. Roberto Reyes would finish with 19 points, while Bliss would contribute 13 points, Ranger with 10 points and Satterwhite with 8 points.
Keaton Ranger really was the catalyst for GC with this big win. He has a long wingspan and great anticipation - able to steal the ball from his opponent or block shots. He also has a nice jump shot and is an underrated athlete. Not many people know who he is, since this is his first official year of high school basketball. Keaton seems somewhere in between a D-II to D-III prospect. He should help a team in the next two years with his versatility. Ranger also had 5 assists and 4 steals to go along with his 10 points. He also got to the free-throw line 7 times and converted 6 of them.
WCI's 6-foot-6 senior forward Dani Elgadi had a game-high 21 points in the loss.
Corona vs Pinnacle Game Recap
The game of the night had Corona taking on Pinnacle. A game that would boast two of the best guards in the state with Corona's 6-foot-3 junior PG Casey Benson and Pinnacle's 6-foot-5 junior SG Dorian Pickens.
The tip would go up immediately to Pickens for an impressive dunk - giving Pinnacle a fast 2-0 lead. Dorian Pickens and Casey Benson would guard each other on most possessions, making it very fun to watch.
There would also be another star player in the game from Pinnacle, as 6-foot-5 senior guard Drew Bender (Rice University signee) came in a little banged up with a sore ankle, but decided to play anyway to help out his teammates. Bender could not push off his ankle very hard, so he decided to stay on the perimeter and shoot outside shots, while helping facilitate for his teammates.
Bender would hit two 3-pointers in the first half, while Pickens also scored 8 points in the half to keep the game close for Pinnacle - giving them a chance to win in the second half.
A fun play at the end of the half would take place for Corona, as 6-foot-3 senior wing Bryan Siefker would inbound the ball with 3 seconds left and throw a long touchdown pass to 6-foot-4 sophomore PF Cassius Peat for a lay-up at the buzzer.
Corona would take a 30 to 24 lead at the half, led by Benson with 9 points and 3 assists.
The second half started off slow, but then Corona would go on a 12 to 4 run - led by Benson with (3) three-pointers in a row and grabbing a big lead of 14 points. But Pinnacle would show some fight and go on their own run, with 6-foot-5 sophomore forward Ben Wahlberg mixing it up inside and scoring some tough baskets.
Then some 3-point bombs by Drew Bender and Dorian Pickens would tighten up the game to a mere 4-point lead for Corona, 51 to 47.
Then two of the more exciting plays of the tournament happened almost on back-to-back plays of this game.
First, Pickens lost the ball and Siefker picked it up and ran down the court looking to score, but with Pickens right behind him the whole time. Then Siefker rose up, for what everyone including Pickens, thought was going to be a lay-up, but instead dunked the ball, basically on Pickens, to get the crowd going crazy.
Then, after a free-throw was made by Pinnacle, Siefker inbounded the basketball and Pickens stole it and dunked on Siefker right back at him for a 53 to 49 Corona lead.
Corona's 6-foot-4 senior forward Adam Gleave then hit a huge three-pointer in the corner to go up 56 to 49 with 4 minutes left. Another lay-up was made by Adam Gleave from a beautiful pass from Casey Benson to take a 62 to 54 lead with 3 minutes to go.
Pickens then started to heat up, as he hit two 3-pointers to cut it to a 2-point game for a 62 to 60 lead. Then two points each by Cassius Peat and 6-foot-1 junior SG Jarrett Givens would give Corona a 66 to 60 lead.
Then a Pickens' bucket and a fourth three-pointer of the game by Bender would cut it to a 1-point game, but three free-throws by Benson would basically ice the game for Corona - a 69 to 65 win over a very good team.
Benson controlled the tempo of the game and solidified himself as the best guard in the state, in my opinion. His court awareness, savvy and calmness in tough situations gives his teammates confidence to win against any team. Benson finished with 20 points and 6 assists in the win.
Cassius Peat has also really helped out the Corona team, as he is gaining more and more confidence in his sophomore year and giving his team some toughness inside against some of the best teams in the state. Peat finished the game with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
Pickens had a game-high 24 points for Pinnacle, while Bender had 12 points in the loss.