Aliso Niguel Gets Centered in Loss


If Coach Paul Wachenheim and the Aliso Niguel boys’ basketball team have nightmares, they will likely center around a center.

The numbers “2” and “4” will probably be prominent, in any order they show up.

Corona Centennial center Jamaal Williams, who wears jersey No. 24, scored 42 points against the Wolverines, sparking an 87-76 Huskies’ victory in an Orange Holiday Classic semifinal Wednesday night at Chapman University.

The Huskies (10-2), top-ranked in Riverside County, will play Laguna Hills in the final at 8:30 tonight.


Aliso Niguel will play Skyline (Wash.) for third place at 12:10 p.m. The game time was changed to accommodate Skyline’s travel plans. The 11th-place game between Esperanza and Huntington Beach, originally scheduled for 12:10, will be played at 6:50 p.m.

Williams, a 6-foot-6 junior who was an All-Southern Section Division I selection last year also haunted the Wolverines (9-5) with a pair of blocked shots in the waning moments.

Aliso Niguel trailed, 76-74, with 1:47 left to play. Centennial extended the lead to 80-74, scoring after Williams blocked shots by Sky Chambers and Dino Lamela on consecutive possessions.

“My hat’s off to number 24,” Wachenheim said. “We tried everything to stop him and he was up to the challenge.”

Williams, who had 15 points in the first quarter and was 15 of 22 from the field overall, punctuated his performance with a pair of dunks in the last 30 seconds.

Centennial was 37 of 63 (59%) from the field, compared to 30 of 68 (44%) for the Wolverines.


Despite the loss, Wachenheim was not disappointed.

“We’re surprising a lot of people,” he said. “Our enthusiasm is good, our effort is good. We’ve showed people we can play, now we have to keep playing. That’s the hard part.”

Aliso Niguel trailed, 30-20, after the first quarter, but kept battling back and was within two points five times in the last five minutes. But the Wolverines could not score the equalizer.

In the other semifinal:

Laguna Hills 60, Skyline (Wash.) 55--Marshall Houser scored 27 points to lead the Hawks (9-5) into the final. Houser and Kade Stone combined to make six of eight free throws in the final 40 seconds to seal the victory.