Prep basketball playoff roundup: Blake Manning leads Tesoro into regional semifinals

Tesoro fans support their neighborhood classmates in 50-47 Division II win over San Gabriel Academy.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Long ago was a time high school basketball teams won with neighborhood kids. Tesoro is bringing back memories of another era.

The Titans have players who have known one another since the third grade.

“We’ve dreamed about this since middle school,” guard Blake Manning said.

It was Manning’s layup with 15 seconds left Thursday that proved to be the decisive basket in a 50-47 victory over San Gabriel Academy, pushing the No. 2-seeded Titans into the Southern California Division II regional semifinals. They will face Orange Lutheran on Saturday, the team they defeated a week ago to win the Southern Section 2AA championship. Orange Lutheran defeated St. Pius X-St. Matthias 66-64.

Manning pulled off the shot of the night. With Tesoro (31-4) clinging to a 47-45 lead, he drove to the basket from the right, then switched to his left hand to score. Manning finished with 12 points.

Carson Brown, averaging 23.9 points, came alive in the fourth quarter after struggling with his shooting. He delivered clutch baskets to keep his team ahead, scoring 11 of his 24 points in the final eight minutes. Jayden Mojica scored 16 points for San Gabriel Academy.

“This team really cares about each other and have played together since they were in elementary school,” Tesoro coach Steve Garrett said.


Garrett calls Brown the “best guard to ever play at Tesoro.”

Brown said even though his shots weren’t falling, he wasn’t about to stop shooting. “I knew if I kept shooting, it was going to fall,” Brown said.

“It’s so great coaching this team,” Garrett said. “It’s a community school and they’re tremendous kids. It’s just a dream to coach these kids.”

Sierra Canyon advances

Dylan Metoyer delivered for Sierra Canyon in a 61-55 win over Etiwanda.

Sometimes Metoyer goes invisible amid the hoopla, the only four-year varsity player on Sierra Canyon aside from Bronny James. His job is to distribute, to control, and that doesn’t often make the various highlight-heavy cameras that follow the Trailblazers.

“I feel like people should be taking more notice ... the calmness, the poise he brings to the game,” teammate Osiris Nalls Jr said.

Despite a distinct aggressiveness from the tip from James, who finished with 21 points, Etiwanda fought on the glass and played tough on the interior to never let the Trailblazers get too much momentum in transition. And a slim fourth-quarter lead slowly dwindled, the Eagles’ Alton Hamilton banging inside and giving Etiwanda all the momentum with a minute to play, down just a point.

With 12 seconds left on the shot clock out of a timeout, the Trailblazers’ play broke down. Noah Williams dribbled, spun to nowhere, picked the ball up with no options, and flung a cross-court pass to Metoyer on the left wing with just a second remaining in the possession.


Without hesitation, he buried a three as the shot-clock expired to put the Trailblazers up 57-53 with 32.5 seconds left.

In other basketball playoff games:

Reese Widerburg made six three-pointers and finished with 24 points to help Oxnard defeat La Mirada 61-58 in Division II. Oxnard will face Newport Beach Pacifica Christian, a 48-38 winner over King/Drew.

Top-seeded Sherman Oaks Notre Dame advanced to play Mater Dei in the Division I semifinals after a 59-38 win over Mira Costa. Caleb Foster scored 28 points for the Knights. Mater Dei defeated St. Bernard 69-66.

No. 2-seeded Bishop Montgomery defeated Rancho Christian 68-60. Will Smith scored 20 points. The Knights will play host to Sierra Canyon on Saturday.

In Division III, Camarillo defeated Oakwood 54-37, making it a triple win for the Jaquez family. Marcos Jaquez scored eight points. His brother, Jaime, won when UCLA defeated Arizona State at Pauley Pavilion and his sister, Gabriela, won when UCLA defeated Arizona in the Pac-12 tournament at Las Vegas.

In Division IV, Valencia received 24 points and 24 rebounds from Bryce Bedgood in a 82-65 win over Grant.


Times staff writer Luca Evans contributed to this report.