Boys' basketball: De'Anthony Melton comes through for Crespi

De'Anthony Melton comes up with decisive play

There was 7.9 seconds left. Crespi had a two-point lead over Capital Christian in the Division IV state championship game on Saturday at Haas Pavilion.

Capital Christian had the ball out of bounds. Think Tyus Edney going coast to coast in UCLA's 1995 NCAA playoff win. The Cougars thought they had the ideal athlete in Justice Shelton-Mosley, a standout receiver headed to Harvard. They got him the ball and off he went.

But Crespi's De'Anthony Melton, a 6-foot-4 junior with lots of athleticism, tracked him almost every step of the way, and when Shelton-Mosley finally reached the basket and tried to put up a layup on the left side, Melton blocked the shot, grabbed it in midair and was fouled. Game over.

"We call him the closer for a reason," Coach Russell White said.


Melton made one of two free throws with two seconds left and Capital Christian missed a final shot, enabling Crespi to come away with a 47-44 victory and its first state championship in basketball.

"It's an amazing way to go out," senior guard Mike Krkeyan said. "We've made memories for the rest of our lives."

Crespi (29-7) opened an 11-point halftime lead while making 60% of its shots. Then the Celts did what they often do _ they go through spurts of suddenly going cold. Capital Christian (27-9) opened a four-point lead in the fourth quarter until Melton took charge.

After three quarters, Melton had two points and was almost invisible even though he's been Crespi's best player. The coaches told him it was time for him to step up. And he did, scoring, rebounding and playing defense.

And he was the perfect person to try to stay with Shelton-Mosley and had to make a perfect play to prevent a basket.

"Justice did exactly what he needed to do," Capital Christian Coach Devon Jones said. "They made a good defensive play."

Said Melton: "I heard he was fast, so I tried to take a great angle or turn him. But he was quick. He went straight to the basket. I tried to keep my body away from him because they were calling fouls the whole game and when he shot it, I was going to go up and either block it or miss it. It turns out I blocked it."

Crespi ends the season as one of the top teams in Southern California and there's more success to come. Two talented freshmen, Brandon Williams and Taj Regans, showed poise and tremendous potential. Melton and junior center Mitch Mykhaylov are coming back. Max Heidegger, a star two years ago as a freshman, has returned from prep school and will likely play next season. And the Celts are believed to be in the running for outstanding eighth-grader Cassius Stanley.

It's the third time in the last four years that a Mission League team has won a state championship, following Alemany in 2012 and Chaminade last season.

Crespi has aspirations of being an Open Division team next season.

Melton finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds. And one big block.