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Bronny James and Sierra Canyon fall to Corona Centennial



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Bronny James reduce throughout the open ground, everybody within the health club conscious of what was to come back, the Sierra Canyon senior gliding to his spot because the clock ticked with urgency.

9 seconds. Eight seconds.

Corona Centennial and Sierra Canyon had been going blow-for-blow because the air was vacuumed out and sucked again into the Huskies’ health club. The kettle on the range of a sport with simmering depth lastly boiled over. One fourth-quarter bounce ball changed into a scrum, Centennial’s Jared McCain and Sierra Canyon’s Jimmy Oladokun strolling away barking at one another because the rating hung, precarious.

Seven seconds. Six seconds.

And after burying a nook three-pointer to chop a Centennial four-point result in a single-possession sport, James raced up courtroom after free throws. Down three. Seeming inevitable. Forwards and backwards between his legs, lightning-quick, pulling up from deep in a buzzing health club.

Clank. Off rim. Inches lengthy. And all James might do was stroll away, grinning in agony as Centennial snared the rebound, his large three-pointer seconds earlier and valiant Trailblazers effort in opposition to the top-seeded crew within the Open Division all for naught in a 68-63 loss.

“Undoubtedly disappointing,” Sierra Canyon’s Ashton Hardaway stated. “I really feel like if we’d’ve gained that sport, the following two video games [in pool play] wouldn’t be a query. It might’ve given us lots of momentum.”

It was senior heartbeat Jared McCain who galvanized the Huskies to the win, attacking and nailing large second-half free throws when Centennial’s jumpers fell quick. He went toe to toe with James as the 2 prime recruits guarded one another continuously, and completed with 22 factors, bruised and battered after an evening of full-body collisions.

“To drag it out in opposition to him and Sierra Canyon, who’s been on prime for thus lengthy — however having the ability to beat them three years in a row,” McCain stated, referring to Centennial’s streak of playoff wins over the Trailblazers, “has been a blessing for me and it’s only a tribute to (Coach Josh) Giles and this crew.”

Three months earlier than the Friday evening insanity, earlier than the curler coaster this Sierra Canyon season has introduced, Trailblazers head coach Andre Chevalier stood with fingers encased in his hoodie on a chilly November evening. Musing his program’s place in relation to the most effective of the most effective. The unusual notion that nationally famend Sierra Canyon might truly be underdogs to Centennial, who’d gained back-to-back Open crowns.

“Corona and us don’t actually have a rivalry, as a result of we’re not in a league collectively,” Chevalier stated then. “However so far as the Open Division is anxious, I feel each nice dynasty had a nemesis or an antagonist.”

Friday evening was Huskies pink in opposition to Trailblazers blue once more, Sierra Canyon in hostile territory, limping into the primary pool-play matchup of this yr’s Open Division playoffs in opposition to their described antagonist. No Isaiah Elohim, nonetheless nursing a sprained ankle. No Justin Pippen.

Within the second quarter, a swarm of Centennial white jerseys seemed like cyborgs whose solely programming was defensive slides and lively fingers. The Huskies pressured turnovers and acquired simple buckets in working out to a 36-24 halftime lead, and the Trailblazers’ probabilities seemed cooked.

Then James took a third-quarter cost from McCain, smacking the ground in emphasis. This was a dogfight, the place momentum swung on sheer toughness inside a cramped and deafening Huskies health club, and the Trailblazers’ offense flicked on. Hardaway buried a nook three, then one other over Centennial’s Eric Freeny, and a flurry of buckets reduce Centennial’s result in one.

Within the fourth quarter, although, expertise wins. And this Centennial crew, as McCain identified, has been by way of the wringer.

Hardaway hit an enormous three to place Sierra Canyon up one with just some minutes left — and BJ Taylor got here proper again with a nook three. An Oladokun dunk despatched the Trailblazers crowd ablaze and reduce the result in two with a minute left — and Freeny ducked in for a layup to increase the lead proper again to 4. It was poise, composure, and as soon as James’ three ticked off the rim, the Huskies had outlasted once more.

The Huskies begin pool play 1-0, and can tackle Notre Dame Sherman Oaks on Tuesday. The Trailblazers drop to 0-1, in a troublesome spot with Elohim in all probability out for the remainder of pool play, and can journey to Bishop Montgomery on Tuesday.