FAB 50 No. 21 Loyola (Los Angeles) advanced to the title game of the 2013 Under Armour Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines High School with a 83-69 victory over previously unbeaten Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.). Loyola will face No. 36 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) in Monday night’s final after the Huskies won their semifinal contest over Chino Hills (Calif.) on a last-second lay-up by Sedrick Barefield.
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Loyola (Los Angeles) 83, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 69
The Loyola Cubs have an experienced team with college-bound seniors and came in unbeaten. Sierra Canyon was also unbeaten and also has a bunch of college-bound players, but they’ll won’t be going to college for two or three years.
In a matchup of unbeaten clubs in a National Division semifinal, it was the seniors giving the less-experienced players a hardwood lesson as Loyola advanced to the championship game with a 83-69 victory. On Monday night, Loyola will be gunning for its third tournament title of the season against the winner of Chino Hills (Calif.) and Centennial (Corona, Calif.).
The youngsters from Sierra Canyon played the No. 21 team in the Student Sports FAB 50 tough — for a half. Sierra Canyon trailed 30-23 at halftime after Loyola senior Thomas Lapham with a big 3-pointer in closing minute.
The third quarter proved to be the difference, as the Cubs got a big lift from senior center and UCLA bound Thomas Welsh. He scored 11 points in the quarter and finished with a game-high 26 points. Senior guard Khalil Bedart-Ghani’s (15 points, 7 rebounds) two-handed flush gave Loyola its first double-digit lead (41-30) with 3:13 remaining in the third. Loyola ended the third on a 16-3 run to take a 50-33 lead into the final quarter.
“We wanted to come out with energy, play hard, and play together,” said Welsh, who added 11 rebounds to his point total. “We talked about it at halftime.”
In the fourth quarter, Sierra Canyon tried to extend the game by playing the clock and there were a plethora of whistles. Welsh fouled out with 2:09 remaining and Loyola leading 75-61, but Sierra Canyon never seriously threatened as the Cubs made 24-of-28 free throws as a team.
Sophomore point guard Devearl Ramsey led Sierra Canyon with 22 points. Six-foot-8 freshman Cody Riley, who is arguably the top 2017 prospect in the country with 6-foot-10 Bahamian native DeAndre Ayton not playing for a high school, scored 19 points.
Loyola senior point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright continued his excellent play and leadership and finished with 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds. His ability to finish and grab rebounds in traffic has improved greatly since last season.
Loyola (11-0) advanced to the semifinals with a 76-61 victory over The Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.). Guard Max Hazzard, who has had a spectacular start to his junior season, scored a game-high 32 points. Hazzard had 18 points and five assists against Sierra Canyon.
In its quarterfinal, Sierra Canyon (12-1) used its swarming zone defense to limit the dominance of Ivan Rabb of Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) in a 70-65 upset win over a team ranked No. 27 in the Student Sports FAB 50. Ramsey netted 22 points with Riley scoring 24.
Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 77, Chino Hills (Calif.) 75
In a fast-paced game highlighted by talented guards, it was two of the best that had their teams on the cusp of victory within the last 10 seconds of the game.
With Centennial leading 75-73, Chino Hills sophomore point guard Lonzo Ball made a lay-up with approximately nine seconds remaining to tie the game. It looked as if a travel or held ball should have been called, but there was no whistle as Ball softly put the ball in the basket off the glass. In the frantic closing seconds, Centennial quickly pushed the ball up court and junior point guard Sedrick Barefield flipped in a left-handed lay-up with just over a second remaining. The ball took a toilet bowl roll through the net as the buzzer sounded to give Centennial a dramatic two-point win.
Barefield finished the game with 18 points and the game-winner, but Centennial wouldn’t have been in position to win the game if not for the work of Long Beach State-bound senior Deontae North. With 21.3 seconds left, North grabbed one of his many offensive rebounds and was fouled on his layup. North’s field goal gave Centennial a 74-73 lead and his made foul shot put the Huskies up two.
“At halftime, the key thing coach told us was to try and get back because they (Chino Hills) were getting a lot of easy lay-ups,” said North, who finished with a game-high 28 points. “After I made the free throw, we knew, without a timeout, they were going to go. We talked about it in the huddle, before my free throw, if they scored to get the ball to Sedrick to push it.”
Chino Hills led 24-17 at the end of the first quarter and led at the half, 39-37. Khalil Ahmad gave the Centennial a big lift by hitting a 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Centennial trailed by double digits in the first period.
Centennial made its move in the third quarter when Ball, who finished with 14 points, scored his only points of the period on two made free throws with 0.5 seconds remaining in the quarter. Centennial led 55-54 entering the final period.
If it wasn’t for the long-range shooting of Ball’s younger brother, 6-foot-3 freshman LiAngelo Ball, Centennial might have put the game away earlier in the fourth period. The 2017 catch-and-shoot prospect knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:16 remaining to cut Centennial’s lead to one (68-67). LiAngelo Ball again cut a four-point deficit for his team to one on a 3-pointer with 53 seconds to go and finished with a team-high 19 points.
“I’ve played against the Ball brothers a lot in AAU ball and it’s always fun,” North said. “We’re excited to play Loyola because we’re both top five teams in the state. It should be good.”
Loyola, ranked 15 spots higher than Centennial in the Student Sports FAB 50, will play in the National Division title game scheduled for 8:05 pm on Monday.
Lonzo Ball had 23 points for Chino Hills (10-3) in its 64-44 quarterfinal win over Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) on Friday evening.
Centennial (12-1) had no trouble with Westtown (Pa.) in its quarterfinal contest, winning 71-53, after beating a tough Cantwell Sacred Heart (Montebello, Calif.) club in the first round by six points (71-65).
Cantwell Sacred Heart will play host Torrey Pines High School for the National Consolation on Monday.