Rolling Hills Prep stays unbeaten by knocking off Colony at Damien
It was time for the Rolling Hills Prep boys’ basketball team to learn Tuesday night how it would perform against a top team. Starting the season 11-0 meant nothing. Those games were just tuneups for the big tests ahead and the first major challenge was unbeaten Colony in the quarterfinals of the Damien tournament.
The game stayed undecided until junior Kenny Manzi stepped forward to contribute a key basket in the fourth quarter with just over a minute left and Benny Gealer made four consecutive free throws in the final 30 seconds to lift Rolling Hills Prep into the Gold Division semifinals with a 50-43 win over Colony (12-1).
Gealer finished with 17 points and Manzi had 16. Manzi, who’s 6 feet 7, is showing skills that could take him a long way as he delivers points inside and contributes as a rebounder and defender.
“Just do what it takes to win,” Manzi said of the instructions from coach Harvey Kitani. “They were a top 25 team. We’re resilient and have a lot of toughness.”
Said Kitani: “The beauty is he’s far from being the player he’s going to be.”
Jaden Henley scored 14 points for Colony in a game in which possession after possession, the two teams battled for the slightest advantage. The difference was Manzi coming through as another option when Gealer faced tough defensive pressure.
It was coaching victory No. 897 for Kitani, who picked up many of his wins during his days at Fairfax.
Rolling Hills Prep advances to face another unbeaten team, Irvine Crean Lutheran, in the Gold Division semifinals Wednesday. Crean Lutheran (11-0) defeated Sacramento Jesuit 63-49. Koat Keat scored 25 points and Vyctorius Miller had 22 points.
Damien tournament officials continue to find ways to keep games running despite 29 teams dropping out because of coronavirus health and safety protocols from an original 88 teams. West Ranch, Capistrano Valley Christian and Fairfax were among the schools unable to play games Tuesday.
Corona Centennial 62, St. John Bosco 56: Devin Williams contributed a go-ahead dunk off an assist from Donovan Dent with under 40 seconds left to help the top-seeded Huskies hold off surprising St. John Bosco to advance to the semifinals of the Platinum Division at Damien. Centennial will play Etiwanda at 7 p.m.
Dent finished with 27 points. Christian Estrada led a young but determined St. John Bosco team with 13 points. Freshman Elzie Harrington had 11 points.
Etiwanda 52, Utah American Fork 37: The Eagles advanced to the Platinum Division semifinals behind Curtis Williams.
Damien 56, Idaho Owyhee 53: The Spartans improved to 16-0. Damien opened a 10-point halftime lead, then had to hold on and withstand a three-point attempt by Owhyee at the buzzer. Spivey Word hit a key basket in the final 40 seconds for Damien, which will face Riverside Poly at 8:30 p.m. in the semifinals.
Village Christian 79, Bishop Alemany 48: Thomas Luczak had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Village Christian.
Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 70, Sheldon 57: Dusty Stromer finished with 22 points for Notre Dame.
Redondo Union 70, Anaheim Canyon 63: Redondo handed Canyon only its third loss of the season.
San Joaquin Memorial 86, Los Altos 74: Jazz Gardner had 33 points for Los Altos.
Dominguez 68, El Camino Real 64: Franklyn Chambers scored 21 points and Isaac Sowell had 13 points and 25 rebounds for the Dons. Karson Peffer had 23 points for ECR in his debut after transferring from Crespi.
Mater Dei 73, Utah Mountain View 39: Kaden Minter scored 15 points and Zack Davidson ``14 for 11-2 Mater Dei.
Narbonne 69, Campbell Hall 51: Andrew Gill scored 25 points for Narbonne.
Westchester 56, King/Drew 53: The Comets rallied for the win at South Pasadena.
Rancho Cucamonga 47, Pasadena 41: Aaron Glass had 14 points and Shadale Knight 13 for Rancho Cucamonga.
Camarillo 63, Mira Costa 52: Unbeaten Camarillo received 36 points from Gabriela Jaquez.
Servite 2, La. St. Paul 1: Eddie Villeda scored both goals for 7-1 Servite.
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