Mid-Valley Advances to Semifinals, 74-64
It was a scene straight out of “Hoosiers.” The city kids had built a big halftime lead, and the smaller, slower and younger Indiana country boys were struggling to make up the deficit.
This, however, was not the Indiana state basketball championship and it was not being played in front of a sellout crowd of hysterical Hoosiers. Instead, the city kids won in front of 100 sweating observers Friday at Cal State Northridge.
Mid-Valley downed Bloomington, Ind., 74-64, in the quarterfinals of the American Roundball Corp. Future Stars Showdown.
Mid-Valley (4-0) is composed of players from Valley-area high schools, all but two of whom will be seniors in the fall. Bloomington (2-2), which recently won the Amateur Athletic Union national 16-and-under championship, counted seven rising juniors and a sophomore on its eight-man roster.
Experience served Mid-Valley well.
“We’ve been playing together awhile, and it shows in a competition like this,” Mid-Valley Coach Brian Breslin said. “We run our offense pretty well, and our kids played as a team. The key to it was that we came out and took it right to them. We got out on the break, got a few dunks, and they backed off.”
Mid-Valley took a 37-26 half-time lead on Marcel Capers’ 25-foot, three-point basket at the buzzer. Bloomington never got closer than 10 points as it besmirched the tradition of Hoosier marksmen by missing nine of 19 free throws.
“We’re not used to the heat and didn’t have our legs, and that hurt us on our free throws,” Bloomington Coach Bob Pryor said.
Bloomington’s lone city kid, Glenn Robinson of Gary, Ind., scored 22 points on a variety of gravity-defying inside moves to keep his team close.
An assistant coach from a Midwestern university who was in attendance rated the 6-foot-7 Robinson as one of the top five juniors in the country. Breslin was inclined to agree. “It was tough for us to stop (him),” Breslin said. “He really lit us up in the third period. We told our kids to bump him and beat him to the ball.”
Mid-Valley countered with a balanced attack. Dana Jones of North Hollywood, one of four players to score in double figures, led Mid-Valley with 15 points.
In other quarterfinal games, All-American Ed O’Bannon scored 24 points to lead Southeast Los Angeles to a 70-68 victory over Los Angeles. Northern California defeated Fresno, 79-73, and Indianapolis defeated San Jose, 73-62.
In the semifinals today, Indianapolis and Southeast Los Angeles will meet at 10 a.m. and Mid-Valley will face Northern California at 11:30. The losers will play for the consolation championship at 6; the championship game will follow at 7:30.
Brandon Bryce, a junior from Taft, won the three-point shooting contest despite a broken left ankle. He made 18 baskets in a minute. Brian Bell of San Jose won the slam-dunk contest.