Blaz­ers rout Spir­its

Par­a­clete falls to na­tion’s No. 2 Sierra Canyon

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - By MERISA JENSEN Val­ley Press Sports Editor

LAN­CASTER — It’s not ev­ery day the No. 2-ranked high school boys bas­ket­ball team in the na­tion plays in Lan­caster, so Par­a­clete’s game with Sierra Canyon, which is also the No. 1-ranked team in the state, was the hot ticket at An­te­lope Val­ley Col­lege on Tues­day night.

The game didn’t go the Spir­its’ way as they lost to the vis­it­ing Trail­blaz­ers 96-55 in a Gold Coast League game that was broad­cast on ESPN3.

The con­test was such a hot ticket that fans were turned away, even those who had prepaid tick­ets, be­cause the Ma­rauder Gym was at ca­pac­ity.

“What an event for Par­a­clete High School to put on,” Par­a­clete coach New­ton Chelette said. “We had to turn peo­ple away and I re­ally, on be­half of Par­a­clete, feel badly about hav­ing to turn peo­ple away.”

Fans were not only ea­ger to watch the high-rank­ing Trail­blaz­ers (23-3, 6-0 GCL), but also the sons of two NBA stars, Bronny James (son of the Lak­ers’ LeBron James) and Zaire Wade (son of for­mer NBA player Dwyane Wade).

For the Spir­its (19-8, 1-4), it was just an­other game.

“I just came in like it was a reg­u­lar game, any other game,” Cole­man said. “To the whole team, it was just a reg­u­lar game.”

Par­a­clete started strong with a bas­ket and 3-pointer from Nolan Boff­man, but Sierra Canyon be­gan to pull away as they took ad­van­tage of turnovers, steals and ex­tra looks at the bas­ket.

“Nolan made some shots early and got us go­ing,” Chelette said. “I’m proud of them for com­pet­ing. They never turned it in and gave up.”

The Spir­its trailed 34-18 af­ter the first quar­ter, but the mar­gin grew to 57-32 at half­time, thanks to the ath­leti­cism and

height of the Trail­blaz­ers’ play­ers. Of Sierra Canyon’s start­ing five, the short­est player was 6-foot-4. The team also boast 7-foot-3 cen­ter Harold Yu.

“I’m thank­ful for this group of guys and that they bat­tled,” Chelette said about his team. “It’s just there was too much of them and not enough of us.”

The Trail­blaz­ers worked well to­gether, of­ten pick­ing up bas­kets on each other’s missed shots. Early in the sec­ond quar­ter, Sierra Canyon’s Zi­aire Wil­liams missed a 3-pointer as it banked off the rim and Amari Bai­ley slammed the re­bound into the hoop for a dunk. It was the first of many plays like that.

“Per­son­ally, I think this might be the best Sierra Canyon team that we’ve played in the eight years that I’ve been at Par­a­clete,” Chelette said. “And I say that, be­cause they feed off of each other and they play to­gether. They’re or­ga­nized and they’re ath­letic and long.”

Cole­man had a cou­ple of blocks in the game to get the ball back for his team.

“It felt good to get the blocks and get down the court and give it to my team­mates to score,” Cole­man said. “Get­ting them bet­ter for Fri­day, our se­nior night.”

Boff­man and Row­ley also picked up some steals in the game.

“Our guys played hard and that’s what I asked them to do,” Chelette said. “So, I’m proud of the way the kids fought. Did I want to get beat by 40? Well, ob­vi­ously not. I didn’t want the kids to get beat by 40. But, un­for­tu­nately, Sierra Canyon is that good.”

The Trail­blaz­ers keyed in on Cole­man and JC An­thony, so Cole­man was of­ten kick­ing the ball out to his team­mates.

“It was re­ally tough,” Cole­man said. “They saw what was com­ing, kicked it out, get to the bas­ket, but they slowed it down and stopped me a cou­ple of times, but I still got it to my team­mates to score.”

It was Dy­lan Cox who led the Spir­its in points, knock­ing down four 3-point­ers and go­ing 3-for-3 at the free-throw line for 15 points.

“Dy­lan played well,” Chelette said. “Dy­lan can shoot the ball.

Boff­man scored nine for the Spir­its, while Cole­man and An­thony each had seven. An­thony had a back-door dunk.

“I knew it would be tough for Amado and JC, be­cause they’re so ath­letic,” Chelette said. “I knew they would key in on Amado. But you’ve got to love the way Amado plays, he plays so hard.”

Row­ley and Jaren John­son each scored four points, Mau­rice Wright Jr. had a fourth-quar­ter 3-pointer and An­drew Bri­ones knocked down two free throws in the fourth quar­ter.

“We came out with a lot of ag­gres­sion and then to­ward the end, we started slow­ing down, messed up the ro­ta­tions and stuff,” Cole­man said. “We were rush­ing too many shots and didn’t get into our sets, so that’s what re­ally messed us up go­ing into the sec­ond half.”

Wil­liams — who has re­ceived NCAA Divi­sion 1 of­fers from seven col­leges, in­clud­ing four Pac-12 schools as well as Duke and North Carolina — scored 23 points to help lead Sierra Canyon. He fouled out with just over two min­utes left in the third quar­ter af­ter re­ceiv­ing a tech­ni­cal for hang­ing on the rim af­ter a dunk.

Bran­don Bos­ton Jr. also scored 23 points for the Trail­blaz­ers. Bos­ton signed to the Univer­sity of Ken­tucky.

Ter­ren Frank added 16 points for Sierra Canyon. Frank signed with TCU last Oc­to­ber.

James scored eight points, all in the third quar­ter, while Wade made two free throws in the fourth quar­ter.

De­spite the loss, Cole­man said it was fun to play against a top-ranked team.

“They’re a good team,” Cole­man said.

The crowd was also the largest crowd for a Par­a­clete home game, which made for a fun at­mos­phere. The Par­a­clete fans would cheer when­ever the Spir­its made a good play or con­verted a bas­ket.

“It was cool,” Cole­man said. “I love it.”

Par­a­clete plays Windward at home in their reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale on Fri­day.

MEGAN WIDICK/Spe­cial to the Val­ley Press

BIG DUNK — Par­a­clete’s JC An­thony dunks the ball as Sierra Canyon’s Shy Odom (13) and Bran­don Bos­ton Jr. (3) look on dur­ing Tues­day’s Gold Coast League game at An­te­lope Val­ley Col­lege. The Trail­blaz­ers won 96-55.

MEGAN WIDICK/Spe­cial to VP

TAKE IT AWAY — Par­a­clete’s Myles Row­ley (2) drib­bles down the court as Sierra Canyon’s Bronny James (0) fol­lows on Tues­day.

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