The Mission Prep boys basketball team appeared to have its hands full with Fresno Christian sophomore forward Jeremiah Brown entering Tuesday’s game.
Brown came into the CIF-Central Section Division V semifinal game leading the Eagles in points (18.8), rebounds (12) and blocks per game (2.2).
The Royals (13-15) were up to the task, holding Brown to just eight points in a 55-33 win at Mission Prep.
“We definitely had a focus on keeping him off the boards but also attacking him offensively, which worked to our benefit,” Mission Prep coach Terrance Harris said. “We got him in foul trouble early because we were aggressive offensively and on the blocks.”
Fresno Christian (16-12) had to change its own philosophy defensively in an attempt to stop Mission Prep guard Kevin Laird. The Eagles played a box-and-1 defense with one player designated to guard Laird.
With Laird being defended, the Royals went to other options, and Harris said his senior guard showed patience in getting teammates involved.
Laird and Sam Cowitz each had a game-high 12 points, while Arthur Lane also finished in double figures with 10.“Kevin is a team guy,” Harris said. “He didn’t try to force shots up and let the game come to him. He got most of his points off transition.”
The Royals will play Central Valley Christian (24-4) for the Division V crown Friday after the Cavaliers beat Laton 73-32 in the other semifinal. The game will be at Selland Arena in Fresno.
The two teams met in February with Central Valley Christian claiming a 59-53 win in San Luis Obispo. The two teams also met for the Division V championship last year with Central Valley Christian winning 75-60.
“They have the No. 1 seed,” Harris said of the Cavaliers. “We want to go up against the team that is the best. To be the best you have to beat the best. We’re looking forward to playing them for that reason.”