Joe Davidson

Unable to overcome Sierra Canyon’s star power, Sheldon falls in state title game

Sheldon High School forward Ronald Agebsar (24) drives to the basket against Sierra Canyon High School of Chatsworth during the CIF Boys Open Division Championship at  Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. on Saturday, March 24, 2018.
Sheldon High School forward Ronald Agebsar (24) drives to the basket against Sierra Canyon High School of Chatsworth during the CIF Boys Open Division Championship at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. on Saturday, March 24, 2018. The Sacramento Bee

They didn't have to run the floor with Scottie Pippen, or bang inside against Kenyon Martin, an all-time bruiser.

Just their sons.

The Sheldon Huskies stood toe-to-toe and matched 3-pointers, back-door plays, dunks and defense with the top-ranked team in the state, but it was the efforts of players with familiar and famous last names that led the way for Sierra Canyon on Saturday night at Golden 1 Center.

With their fathers sitting courtside, Scotty Pippen and Kenyon Martin Jr. proved to be too much for the gritty Huskies down the stretch after a tight game, leading to a 75-62 victory for the Trailblazers of Chatsworth in the CIF State Open Division championship, closing out a marathon season that started in early November.

The Huskies (29-6) were undone by what's long become a trend in Southern California: transfer-laded programs that load up and unleash. Sierra Canyon (27-4) is nestled within an affluent suburb in the San Fernando Valley, where tuition is a tidy $36,000 a year and home games are often attended by Drake, Kanye West and a Kardashian or two.

Celebrities send their kids there. Sierra Canyon featured a lineup of transfers, each skilled and on the recruiting radar. Other players with NBA dads include Duane Washington and Tellis Frank, though the best player might be 6-foot-8 Cassius Stanley, a junior known to dunk.

Sheldon doesn't have any famous dads. It has players who are the sons of hard-working common folks, and the Huskies did their school and town proud with a championship effort, leading 21-19 after the first quarter but being outscored 19-6 in the fourth.

As he has all season, Dale Currie led the charge for Sheldon, scoring 20 points. Dom Johnson, a shot-making buzzer-beating hero earlier in this postseason, had 11, and he was presented with the Pursuing Victory with Honor medal after the game. Kaito Williams had 10 and Xavion Brown nine.

And the Trailblazers of the Southern Section? In a word: Wow. Stanley had 23 points on 8 of 10 shooting, Pippen had 21 from his point guard duties, Washington had 14 and Martin 11 points to go with 13 rebounds.

Sierra Canyon made 46 percent of its shots and Sheldon 38 percent. The difference was rebounds as Sierra Canyon's size and athleticism resulted in 44 boards. Sheldon had 24.

"Win or lose," Sheldon coach Joey Rollings said before the game, "I'm proud of these guys. I love them."

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