HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Crusaders advance to finals
Whatever message Saint Louis coach Delbert Tengan delivers to his team at halftime seems to be working.
Junior Micah McClinton scored 16 of his game-high 21 points in the second half and Saint Louis outscored Deer Creek (Okla.) by 17 points after the break to pull out a 74-62 victory in the semifinals of the Walter Wong Holiday Classic at McCabe Gym.
Senior Cole Shidaki helped close out the game with six points and five assists in the fourth quarter as the Crusaders led by as many 18 in the final three minutes.
"They rattled us a bit in the first quarter with their physical play and up and down tempo," Tengan said. "Just like the previous night we settled down and started attacking the basket more."
The Crusaders will look to make it three tournament titles in a row tonight against Martin Luther King (Calif.) in the championship at 7:30 p.m. They have won their last nine games in the Classic.
"Playing these bigger and faster teams is good for us because it's a challenge that's bigger than what we face in the islands," McClinton said.
For the second night in a row, the Crusaders dominated in the second half. The Antlers switched to a zone defense and McClinton made them pay, nailing two of his three 3-pointers in the third quarter as Saint Louis outscored Deer Creek 22-10. Jamison Miller added seven of his 14 points in the period as the Crusaders established their presence in the paint.
"We were trying to get Jamison more involved in the second half," Shidaki said. "He struggled a little bit in the Iolani Classic and we're trying to get him going for the regular season."
Shidaki, who is a four-year starter for the Crusaders and their highest returning scorer from a season ago, had just five points on 2-for-7 shooting in the first three quarters. After a couple of hard fouls resulted in him exchanging words with a couple Antlers players, he began to take over. On three plays in a row, Shidaki blew past his defender and broke down the Antlers defense before finding wide open Crusaders in the post for layups.
He either assisted or scored on four straight possessions midway through the fourth quarter as Saint Louis blew the game open with a 19-8 run.
"When our teams gets hyped up we do a lot better," Shidaki said. "(Deer Creek) started to get a little mad and we were able to take over."
Saint Louis jumped to a quick 11-8 lead in the first quarter, but struggled once its bench took the floor. The Antlers took advantage and ended the period on a 9-3 run to lead 17-14 at the end of the first quarter.
Deer Creek guard Kyle Ferguson nailed his third 3-pointer of the half to give the Antlers a six-point lead. Deer Creek led by as many as seven before McClinton ignited an 8-0 run with a three-point play to allow the Crusaders to retake the lead.
Jordan Lundeen scored seven of Deer Creek's 16 second-quarter points and found Josh Phillips open for a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left as the Antlers led 33-28 at the break.
Martin Luther King (Calif.) 76, Cimmaron Memorial (Nev.) 66
Jeremiah Campbell scored 26 points and Eric Wise added 12 as the Wolves advanced to the championship game by beating the Spartans.
Mike Cutright poured in a game-high 39 points for the Spartans, who trailed by as many as 26. Cimmaron cut the Wolves' lead to 10 in the fourth quarter, but didn't get any closer.