Kyle Stewart started it, Matthew Blaney finished it.
Stewart scored 15 points in the first half, and Blaney scored eight points in the final quarter for Mission Prep on Friday night in the Royals’ 65-51 win over San Luis Obispo High inside a wild Mission Prep gym.
“This was a fun high school basketball game,” Mission Prep coach Terrance Harris said. “Two student sections getting after it. Two basketball teams that weren’t going to give an inch.”
The 6-foot-4 junior exploited his shooting and quickness advantage over San Luis Obispo defender Nick Attala all game, especially in the first half. When Attala — or whoever else happened to be guarding Stewart — sagged off, he pulled up for a jump shot. When they pressed, he blew by. Stewart scored eight points in the first quarter with six points coming on hoop-and-harm plays. The only thing that slowed him down was getting in foul trouble in the third quarter. He finished the game with 20 points to lead all scorers.
Attala got his too, though, finishing with 16 points, mostly in the paint.
The San Luis Obispo student section had it out for Blaney all night and even customized a couple chants. They know him well. The senior guard attended SLO High his freshman and sophomore years.
“I always hear the ‘traitor Blaney’ chants, but I love it though. It fills me up,” Blaney said.
Blaney said he is still friends with a lot of the players on the team like Attala, Alex Chai and Bowen Schwoerer. In the reunion of sorts, Blaney finished with 18 points and went 7 of 8 from the free-throw line.
“Matthew was very poised tonight,” Harris said. “It’s easy in a game like this — a kid that transferred, it’s easy for him to get out of sorts, but I thought he was very poised and his free-throw shooting down the stretch was clutch for us.”
Harris called Mission Prep senior forward Max Basile ‘the glue’ of his team, and Friday he was able to hold Chai in check. Chai, who was averaging around 14 points a game heading into Friday, was held to just two points.
Basile also grabbed 13 rebounds and scored 10 points.
Needed A Little Moore
San Luis Obispo guard Seth Moore tried to keep the Tigers close in the third quarter, after the Tigers were trailing the Royals 37-23 at halftime. Moore scored seven straight, and had nine points in the third to bring the lead down to 10 heading into the fourth quarter. But outside of Moore’s 17 points and 16 from Attala, San Luis Obispo struggled to score consistently.
San Luis Obispo (12-9, 3-4 PAC 8) has now lost three in a row. The Tigers will try to stop the skid Wednesday against Paso Robles, a team they beat 55-35 earlier this season.
Mission Prep (11-8, 6-1 PAC 8) sits in second place in the PAC 8 behind St. Joseph (7-0). The Royals will go on the road to Pioneer Valley on Wednesday. If Mission Prep can get a win, it would be Harris’ 200th victory.