There have been so many positive memories created by Jeremy Hemsley during his four years at La Verne Damien both on and off the basketball court, but he saved the best for last. He delivered 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to help the Spartans defeat Campolindo, 70-57, in the state Division III championship game on Friday at Haas Pavilion.
"He's a special young man," Coach Matt Dunn said of the 6-foot-4 senior headed to San Diego State. "I don't know if anybody will coach a more talented, better player who was all in. He's all in for our team, for our school. Honestly, I feel blessed to have had a chance to coach him."
Damien (29-5), which won the Baseline League that included powerful Etiwanda and Chino Hills, used that experience to wear down Campolindo, which received 25 points and 14 rebounds from 6-7 Chris Hansen.
"He's a monster," Dunn said of Hansen, headed to UC San Diego. "I can't think of a guy we've ever played that is so deceiving."
Campolindo (28-5) hung tough with Damien for three quarters, only trailing, 39-35. But Damien started to make outside shots behind Micah Robinson, who had 17 points, including five threes.
"The guys found me," Robinson said. "When I get a hot hand and am feeling it, they get it to me."
Campolindo Coach Matt Watson said of the Spartans, "That team is so long it's like a bunch of spiders coming at you from all angles."
Hemsley said, "Losing was not an option."
Bryce Peters added 12 points and Malik Fitts had nine points 12 rebounds for Damien, the second Open Division team from the Southern Section to win a state title on Friday. Sierra Canyon won in Division V.
Dunn turned in an outstanding coaching job all season. He said the championship was won last year, when the Spartans under achieved and yet all his top players decided to return more determined, more focused and more prepared to take this season to the very end.
Now Damien has to make sure it keeps Dunn. St. John Bosco has a coach opening, and St. John Bosco Principal Casey Yeazel was an administrator at Damien with Dunn.