The best in Inland Empire basketball was on display at Saturday’s Nike Extravaganza at Santa Ana Mater Dei. Corona Centennial (24-2) and Etiwanda (24-2) are almost identical twins in the way they rely on toughness, teamwork and effort to dispatch opponents.
With one week left in the regular season, both teams are gearing up to be major factors in the Southern Section Open Division playoffs.
Centennial relied on guards Paris Dawson and Jared McCain to defeat Richmond Salesian 59-51. Dawson scored 16 points and contributed 10 rebounds. McCain, a freshman, had 14 points.
“I think it’s really good for us at this time of the year to have a close game against a really good Open Division-level team,” Centennial coach Josh Giles said.
Centennial’s unselfishness can be seen in the play of Dawson, a Portland State signee. He’s the only experienced senior on the team. On Friday night, he scored two points in a win over Norco. McCain made nine threes and had 37 points.
Freshman Jared McCain of Corona Centennial had nine threes and 37 points on Friday nights. He’s already got three threes today. Centennial 20, Salesian 18. pic.twitter.com/Fs6Jx8g3eU— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) February 1, 2020
“I’m totally fine,” Dawson said. “Winning is the most important thing.”
Centennial had a three-point halftime lead. Then McCain and Dawson each made threes to start the third quarter. By the fourth quarter, the Huskies were cruising with a 15-point lead. But Salesian went on a 10-0 run, forcing Centennial to regroup. And the Huskies did just that. They know how to respond in big games with wins over Temecula Rancho Christian and Santa Ana Mater Dei this season.
Etiwanda made quick work of Westchester, opening a 21-point halftime lead en route to a 63-33 victory. Brantly Stevenson made six of seven from three-point range and finished with 20 points.
The Inland Empire talent was seen in the last game of the night. Rancho Christian knocked off Gonzaga Prep 58-55. Evan Mobley scored 18 points and had 11 rebounds.
Studio City Harvard-Westlake had a 15-point lead in the first half but was beaten by Las Vegas Bishop Gorman 74-70. UCLA commit Will McClendon scored 17 points for Bishop Gorman. Mason Hooks led Harvard-Westlake with 28 points.
Mater Dei was beaten by Chicago Whitney 67-57. Devin Askew scored 16 points for the Monarchs.
In other games, Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley (24-2) had a 17-game win streak come to an end in a 48-36 loss to San Diego St. Augustine. Chibuzo Agbo scored 22 points for St. Augustine. Capistrano Valley was outrebounded 34-16.
Los Alamitos rallied from a 16-point deficit to defeat La Habra Sonora 63-57. David Olcomendy finished with 19 points. Garrett Bell had 22 points for Sonora.
Concord De La Salle came to town to defeat Long Beach Poly 64-38. Talented sophomore Chris Bunch scored 17 points. Peyton Watson was limited to 13 points for Poly.
Mission Viejo defeated Palm Springs 48-39. Presley Eldridge scored 16 points and Griff Higgins 15 for Mission Viejo.
In girls’ basketball, Los Angeles Windward upset the second-ranked team in Division 1, Long Beach Poly, 58-51. Freshman Juju Watkins scored 16 points.