Sweat poured down D. J. Jackson's face as he strolled off the basketball floor toward the locker room.
He said little, but his statistics spoke volumes: 26 points, 12 rebounds and one blocked shot.
Yet Jackson's work was not finished--there was still another half to play.
Before he was through, the 6-foot-8 freshman from Alabama had posted season highs of 44 points and 21 rebounds as Antelope Valley College defeated El Camino, 103-91, Friday night in the first round of the Canyons tournament.
The Marauders (6-8), winners of three in a row, will meet Canyons tonight at 8 for the championship.
And that's just what Jackson and the rest of the Marauders wanted. Canyons already has defeated Antelope Valley twice this season.
"We're going to take it up to a whole new level against Canyons," Jackson said. "It's nothing personal. They just beat us twice and we want to get some respect, that's all."
Jackson, who had missed the previous two games because of an ankle injury, showed no signs of the seven-day layoff. He put up 34 shots, sinking 15 (including three three-point baskets), and converted 11 of 14 free throws.
The bad news for Antelope Valley is that Jackson is headed for a four-year school next year.
"I have no problem with him leaving after this season," Antelope Valley Coach Newton Chelette said. "If he can go and play three years at the four-year level and get a degree, I think that's great."
Jackson and sophomore Chris Walters (26 points) were more than El Camino (7-7) could handle. Walters had 18 points in the first half as the Marauders rolled to a 53-40 lead.
The margin reached 22 points (83-61) with less than nine minutes to play.
Brent Beardmore had 11 points and Tracy Acquaah added 12 rebounds, eight points and six assists for Antelope Valley.
In the other first-round game:
Canyons 66, West Los Angeles 59--Canyons will be after its first tournament championship in four attempts after losing each of the past three Saturdays.
But the Cougars will have to do it without starting center Reggie Bell, who is sidelined because of pneumonia and is not expected back until late next week.
Canyons (11-4) had difficulty shaking the smaller but scrappy Oilers (3-9), whose patient style bothered the Cougars.
"They're so hard to play against. They won't give you the ball," Canyons Coach Lee Smelser said.
West Los Angeles trailed, 37-30, at halftime and got within four points of Canyons in the second half, but Tim Fontenette sank four of four free throws down the stretch and freshman Rasaan Hall added a long jump shot.
Jeff Dorst led Canyons with 19 points and Hall (11 points), Marquis Wilborn (10) and Jason Joynes (10) also scored in double figures.
Joynes had a streak of 22 consecutive free throws snapped when his attempt went in and came back out with 10 minutes to play.