Cantwell-Sacred Heart's gym was filled to capacity on Friday night for its Camino Real League showdown against L.A. Cathedral. There were some 600 fans packed together, and Cathedral fans left home feeling good.
The Phantoms (11-1) received 15 points from Ifeoluwa Kalejaiye, 12 from Jerome Bryant and 10 from Lorel Johnson in a 54-47 road victory over Cantwell-Sacred Heart (13-3), ranked No. 9 by The Times.
Although Coach William Middlebrooks was insisting afterward his team was not an Open Division playoff team, that might not be the case come February. The Phantoms could be headed for a long winning streak. They have size, good guards, good depth and are getting better and better.
In knocking off a Cardinals team whose only losses had come to Corona Centennial and Loyola, Cathedral was physical inside and got solid play at the guard position from Johnson and Kalejaiye, who used to play together at Downey Warren.
"It's a big step in trying to get where we want to go," Johnson said.
Joey Covarrubias had 20 points for Cantwell, which didn't get much help from its two big men, 6-foot-10 Balsa Dragovic and 6-10 Gligorije Rakocevic. Rakocevic got into foul trouble and could never get into a rhythm.
"I just think we made a few more plays than they did," Middlebrooks said.
The two teams will have a rematch on Feb. 5 at Cathedral.
What a week it was for the Phantoms, who defeated Price on Monday. Any top 25 in Southern California has to include the Phantoms based on their performance this week.