In California, high school boys basketball teams play with a 35-second shot clock.
So when Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian ran more than a minute off the clock Thursday before attempting a shot against Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco in the teams’ first-round game of the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions, the Braves knew they were in for a different sort of challenge.
“That was a little different,” St. John Bosco coach Derrick Taylor said. “We had to go small and really extend our pressure.”
St. John Bosco’s pressure was fine, but it was the offense that carried the Braves to a 74-53 victory Thursday at JQH Arena.
The Braves (13-3) will take on Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI in today’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal.
Senior guard Isaac Hamilton scored 21 points to lead the Braves. The Texas-El Paso signee was 8 of 12 from the field as St. John Bosco shot 60 percent (32 for 53) for the game. An 11-0 St. John Bosco run broke a 17-all tie early in the second quarter and was part of a 27-8 Braves run that stretched into the third period.
Tyler Dorsey added 12 points for the Braves and Daniel Hamilton finished with 11.
“We shot the ball well early and that got us off to a good start,” Taylor said. “Early in the year we weren’t disciplined, but we’ve been getting better at it. We’re taking better shots and that’s good to see.”
Prestonwood (7-13) played without its top two players. Senior Julius Randle, the No. 2 ranked player in America, has been out since Thanksgiving with a broken foot. Mickey Mitchell, the No. 5-ranked sophomore in the country, was also hurt in November.
Montverde (Fla.) 60, Little Rock (Ark.) Hall 45
What many figured to be an easy tune-up for the Eagles — ranked No. 1 by ESPN and No. 2 in the USA TODAY Super 25 — wasn’t so easy.
Little Rock Hall and Arkansas signee Bobby Portis were able to hang tough through the first two quarters before a big third quarter propelled Montverde into today’s 9:30 semifinal against Nixa.
“I thought they did a good job spreading us out and trying to use a lot of clock,” Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said. “I thought we played fairly hard, but we looked a little fatigue … we’ve been traveling a lot.”
Montverde (19-0) was on the verge of getting some separation at halftime, but a technical foul on an Eagles’ player resulted in three converted free throws by Hall’s Anthony Black as the Warriors trimmed the deficit to 24-20 at halftime.
West Virginia signee Devin Williams scored 13 points, including five in a 13-2 Montverde run to open the third quarter that opened things up for the Eagles. Hall (10-4) struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the second half, failing to score until 4:12 mark of the third quarter.
Portis – playing in front of Razorbacks’ coach Mike Anderson – scored all six points for the Warrior in the third quarter and finished with 15 to pace Hall.