Kaiser boys basketball team should be a force to reckon with

VIDEO: Kaiser boys basketball coach Jarel Perry talks about his team’s comeback that fell just short.

Watching the Kaiser boys basketball team warm up, an opponent is hardly likely to be intimated.

The Cats aren’t big. Senior Armani Dodson checks in at 6-5, but the rest of Coach Jarel Perry’s Cats are rather small. They don’t look particularly fast or athletic either. But there is more that goes into a winning formula than having a bunch of players that pass the proverbial eye test.

Kaiser (8-2) lost the championship game of the Inland Empire Classic to a much bigger Temecula Valley 67-62 Saturday night at Miller. But a lot was learned from that loss.

It was a close game early but the Bears got an 11-3 run to end the first half and led 34-26 at the intermission. That lead ballooned to as many as 20 at 50-30 with 2:59 left in the third. It looked pretty bleak.

But the Cats kept battling and close the third with a flurry and trailed by a manageable 50-37 after three.

Kaiser turned up the defensive pressure and the Bears started throwing the ball all over the gym. Next thing you new the Cats were in striking distance. A 3-pointer by Ebrahim Salman cut the deficit to 58-53 with 2:49 left. A Temecula TO later he hit another and suddenly it was 58-56.

The Cats would get as close as one, 60-59. Yes they came up short. But the Cats displayed a resiliency that will serve them well moving forward. They have solid players who seem to work well together and they don’t panic when things aren’t going well. It’s a team no one should look forward to playing.

Salman had 20 points while Dodson contributed 14 with 1 rebounds. Kennith Smith added 12.

Temecula had DeWayne Holmes with 23, including five 3-pointers. He was hitting shots from all over the gym when coach Kyle Armstrong inexplicably took him out in the third. He never found his rhythm again when he came back in.

The All-Tournament team included:

MVP Riley Schaefer, Sr., Temecula Valley
DeWayne Holmes, Jr., Temecula Valley
Scott Hollingsworth, S.r, Temecula Valley
Amari Dodson, Sr., Kaiser
Adam Caballero, Sr., Kaiser
Brett Vansant, Sr., Redlands East Valley
Kim Aiken, Jr., Redlands East Valley
Jordan Williams, Jr., Tahquitz
Azmar Saab, Jr., Tahquitz
Alex, Ochoa, Jr., Colony
Rodrick McCobb, Jr., Colony
Anthony Garcia, Sr., Miller

Here is a link to my game story from the champion game.

And some of the other scores from the final day of play:

Third place – Redlands East Valley 48, Tahquitz 42
Fifth-place – Colony 81, Miller 70
Etiwanda 53, Murrieta Mesa 51
Rancho Cucamonga 58, Silverado 53
Summit 57, Citrus Valley 46
Executive prep 90, Los Osos 46

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