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.
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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:
Sacramento 84, West Ranch-Valencia 64 – Solomon Young scored 25 points and 11 rebounds, Tre Finch 14 and Christian Terrell 12 as the Dragons (5-2) won the Gold division consolation final over the Huskies (4-6). Shane Diamond had 16 points and Christian Ware-Berry 11 for West Ranch. Young and Ware-Berry made all-tournament.
Kennedy 69, Foothill-Palo Cedro 59 – Matt Nakatomi scored 25 points and Colin Uda 16 as the Cougars (7-3) downed the Northern Section Cougars (7-3) for the Silver division title. Nakatomi also had 30 points in Friday’s win over Eisenhower of Rialto.
Pleasant Grove 72, Eisenhower-Rialto 56 – Marquess Chriss had 26 points and Johann Tate had 17 as the Eagles (4-4) beat the Southern Section Eagles (4-6) in the Silver division consolation. Tate scored 98 points in the tournament.
Foothill 41, Ponderosa 33 – The Mustangs (5-7) held the Bruins (6-5) to seven first-half points en route to the Bronze division title-match win. Tyrone Potts scored 13 points for Foothill. Josh Bist led Ponderosa with 16.
Christian Brothers 84, Hiram Johnson 55 – Prestin Barnett had 16 points as the Falcons (5-4) beat the Warriors (1-9) for the Bronze consolation title.