Buckley DeJardin puts on a show for St. Francis at State Preview Classic

Buckley DeJardin of St. Francis tries to get the ball up against Long Beach Poly's Daniel Hardy at Colony.
(Craig Weston)
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Back in March 2020, when the pandemic closed classrooms and shut down athletic programs, Buckley DeJardin was a largely unnoticed sophomore role player coming off the bench for La Cañada St. Francis. The team lost out on a trip to Sacramento to play for a state championship.

“My job was to take charges, shoot open threes and rebound,” DeJardin recalled.

Fast forward to his senior season. With a 4.7 grade-point average and a commitment to Division III Carnegie Mellon, the 6-foot-4 DeJardin has become a standout high school player for surging St. Francis (18-4), which has gone 8-2 in an exhausting but exhilarating 15-day playing spree.

“It’s definitely tiring and tough on bodies, but we’re in a flow,” he said.

The latest St. Francis victory came on Saturday at the State Preview Classic in Ontario just one night after a 62-59 upset of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in overtime. DeJardin scored 28 points, had 10 rebounds and took a charging foul in a 64-60 victory over Long Beach Poly at Colony. He’s averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds.

“He might not look D1, but he plays D1,” St. Francis coach Todd Wolfson said.

Jake Goldberg scored 18 points for St. Francis. Gabe Cummings made six threes and finished with 20 points for Poly. Christian Watson had 19 points.


DeJardin said he never thought of leaving when he was a reserve.

“I was fine,” he said. “It was a special being part of such a good team.”

St. Francis is in Southern Section Division 1 and with every player having returned from last season, Wolfson likes the way his team has responded during a challenging part in the season.

“It’s impressive,” he said.

Etiwanda 53, Ontario Colony 52: In the best game of the day, the Eagles (16-4) survived a missed Colony shot in the final seconds to pull out the win. Jaden Henley scored 19 points for Colony (18-2). Jimmy Baker had 12 points for Etiwanda.

Corona Centennial 72, Crean Lutheran 57: The No. 1 Huskies (20-1) received 23 points from Jared McCain to complete a doubleheader sweep. They won a league game earlier in the day against Corona Santiago. Next up is a showdown on Monday at Riverside Poly. Vyctorius Miller scored 20 points for Crean Lutheran.

Hacienda Heights Los Altos 61, Riverside Hillcrest 50: In a rare meeting of 7-footers, Los Altos’ Jazz Gardner came alive in the second half and finished with 18 points, supported by CJ Bellamy’s 18 points. Hillcrest’s 7-1 Dennis Evans contributed 13 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks.

Rolling Hills Prep 68, Saugus 58: After struggling in the first half, 16-1 Rolling Hills Prep took control in the second half. Seydina Thiombane finished with 21 points and Kenny Manzi had 18. Brandon Perez led Saugus with 25 points.

Long Beach St. Anthony 60, Capistrano Valley Christian 59: Jaayden Bush scored on a layup with 11 seconds left for the go-ahead basket for St. Anthony, which received 22 points from Elijah Price. Makaih Williams had 22 points for Capistrano Valley Christian.

Studio City Harvard-Westlake 79, Lake Balboa Birmingham 55: The Wolverines (19-2) cruised to victory behind Cameron Thrower, who finished with 23 points, and Brady Dunlap, who had 22 points.

Moreno Valley Rancho Verde 61, Oak Hills 51: Khemanni Davis scored 22 points for Rancho Verde (13-5).