When 6-foot-9 Bennie Boatwright was playing in the Mission League for Alemany as a sophomore, the scouting report was to be physical with him, then wait until he faded away.
In the first half of Tuesday night's game against Gardena Serra, Boatwright, now a senior, was limited to six points by an aggressive Serra defense and Village Christian trailed, 37-31, at halftime.
It was a different Boatwright in the second half. His energy was up, he became more aggressive and he started to control the boards and attack the basket. He finished with 30 points to lead the Crusaders (5-0) past Serra, 75-61.
There are few players quite like Boatwright, a USC signee with as good as a shooting touch as there is in Southern California. And that's pretty remarkable considering his size. He reminds some of a young Tracy Murray. He was dunking and dominating against a team with lots of good athletes. Serra's Ian Carter finished with 15 points. Jason Richardson had 17 points.
Another major contributor for Village Christian was guard Clifton Powell, who scored 19 of his 26 points in the first half. It was Powell's ability to score that saved the Crusaders in the first two quarters until the rest of the players woke up in the second half.
Village Christian faces another strong home test on Friday from Redondo.