Atascadero's Elijah Cooks turns Lompoc game into dunk contest
Atascadero senior Elijah Cooks has never had a game like he did Wednesday night against Lompoc in the Atascadero Christmas Tournament.
Cooks, a 6-foot-5 guard and star wide receiver on the Greyhounds football team, turned the first half against Lompoc into his personal dunk contest. From breakaway one-handed jams, to alley-oops, Cooks put on an aerial display that sent “oohs”and “aahs” through Ewing Gym.
In the first half, Cooks threw down seven dunks in total and had 16 points — Lompoc had 10 points.
“That’s the most dunks I have ever had in a game, by far,” Cooks, who finished with 18 points, said after the game. “Last year we lost to these guys, so we wanted to come back and get some redemption.”
Atascadero definitely redeemed itself, though the game was not as close as the 54-47 final score would indicate. Atascadero carried a 35-10 lead into halftime, and the starters played sparingly in the second half. But in the first half, Atascadero (6-3) got pretty much whatever it wanted behind Cooks, Marco Rojas and Kyler Warren. Rojas was dishing to Cooks all game and finished with 12 points, and Warren grabbed rebounds over the smaller Lompoc defenders and finished with 14 points.
But on Wednesday, it was all about The Cooks Show.
“Dunking is always fun,” Cooks said. “It gets the crowd hype, it gets the atmosphere great, so we try to do the best we can. We just want to finish.”
Cooks said his final dunk of the night, an off-the-backboard alley-oop from Rojas, was his favorite.
“That was the nicest one,” Cooks said.
In the pregame warmup, Cooks showed off the his next dunk conquest — a 360.
“That’s what’s next,” Cooks said. “It could come soon.”
He will have a chance Thursday night at 7:15 in Atascadero against a better team in Montclair.
Paso Robles 59, East Bakersfield 45
Anthony Napoli had a team-high 12 points and five rebounds to lead the Bearcats to a win at the Atascadero Tournament.
Paso Robles’ starting point guard Jaedon Lyon had a season-high 11 points to go along with three assists, and Dante Coletta provided a spark off the bench with 12 points and three boards.
The Bearcats (5-3) return to tournament action Thursday against either University or Alhambra.
Mission Prep 67, Alta Loma 46
Ricigliano scored a game-high 14 points as Mission Prep dropped Alta Loma at The Classic, a prestigious 48-team tournament in LaVerne.
Jensen and Fledderman each had 10 points for the Royals (5-7), who return to tournament action Thursday against Knight.
Moreno Valley 52, San Luis Obispo 43
Mac McConnell had a team-high 14 points but he Eagles fell on the second day of the Under Armour Classic in Torrey Pines.
San Luis Obispo, which returns to tournament play Thursday against Sweetwater, falls to 6-6 overall with the loss.
Westlake 59, Coast Union 30
Sam McKinnon led the way for Coast Union with nine points, and Auggie Johnson added eight in its loss at the Santa Barbara Holiday Tournament. It was the first loss of the season for Coast Union (7-1), which returns to action in the tournament Thursday against a team to be determined.
Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga) 70, San Luis Obispo 43
Megan Stoudenmire had a team-high for San Luis Obispo in its Best of the West Tournament loss in Chino Hills.
The Tigers (6-5) continue tournament play Thursday against 29 Palms.
San Luis Obispo 62, Victor Valley 54 (Tuesday)
The Tigers opened the Best of the West Tournament with a win on the strength of Whitney Burns’ 20 points. Stoudenmire added 13, and Lily Svetich had 12 points.
Silver Creek 37, Paso Robles 31
Paso Robles head coach Heidi Sill cited the strong defense of Becca Stroud despite the Bearcats’ loss in the Righetti High School Tournament.
Paso Robles (4-3) returns to tournament play at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Templeton 54, El Diamante 47
Annie Elterman returned from an ankle injury that has kept her out all season to score a game-high 14 points to lead Templeton to a win at the Mission Oaks Invitational in Visalia.
“That’s a good boost,” Templeton head coach Shawn Koehler said of the return of the team captain.
Julia Aurignac had nine points and 13 points, while Haley Hurdle had 10 points and Shelby Sudbrink added nine.
Templeton (4-6) advances to play in the tournament’s consolation championship Thursday against Porterville.
Madera 48, Nipomo 45
Madera’s 6-foot-3 center Alyssa Burton led the Coyotes to a comeback win Wednesday over Nipomo in the Telare Mid-Winter Classic.
Burton helped erase a 14-point Nipomo lead with three minutes to play, fighting off double and triple teams in the process.
“We just couldn’t stop her,” Nipomo head coach David Mendez said of Burton.
Nipomo’s tallest player if 5-foot-7, Mendez said.
Nipomo senior shooting guard Sidney Aguilera played well in the loss, going for 21 points. Senior Kylie Mendez added five points and seven assists and Abbey Gutierrez had eight points.
Nipomo (4-8, 2-0 Los Padres) will play again Thursday, the final day of the tournament, at 3:15 p.m.