The St. Hope Elite Classic boys basketball tournament championship matchup between state No. 5 Centennial of Corona and No. 13 Capital Christian developed as advertised Saturday night at Sacramento High School.
The action was fast, furious (three technicals) and physical between two well-coached teams with talented athletes. There were seven lead changes, six ties, and no team led by more than six points until Centennial took a brief seven-point lead with 16.9 seconds left.
But in the end, Centennial held on for a 69-66 win. The Huskies (8-1) outscored Capital Christian 12-6 in the final 3:43 to hand the Cougars (10-1) their first loss of the season.
Long Beach State-bound Deontae North scored a game-high 21 points and was named the tourney MVP. UC Iroegbu had 18, Justice Mosely 12, D.J. Wilson 11 and Marcelas Perry 10 for Capital Christian. Wilson and Iroegbu made all-tourney for the Cougars, who last led 58-57 on a Mosely layup with 4:38 to play.
The Michigan-bound Wilson had a strong all-around game, as he did throughout the tournament.
Even more critical in the eyes of Capital Christian coach Devon Jones is the slender 6-foot-9 senior’s improving toughness and physicality.
Being an inside presence is something Jones is counting on more and more from Wilson.
With power forward Trey Belton having transferred to Sheldon and 6-6, 285-pound center Nifae Lealao still rounding into shape from football, Wilson has been called in to play in the post a lot more than in his two previous varsity seasons.
“We sometimes have D.J. out there with four guards,” Jones said. “He’s sacrificed some of his scoring (though he leads the team at 12.4 points per game), but he’s helping us with rebounding (6.4 per game) and defense (2.2 blocks per game).”
In other games: