Pasadena star leads way in Classic
Above: Pasadena’s Keion Bell soars over three players to cap his victory in the slam-dunk contest during the fifth annual San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Pasadena Star-News All-Star Classic at Azusa Pacific’s Felix Event Center.
Above: Pasadena’s Keion Bell (3) drives to the basket as Glendora’s Dominic Tiger-Cortes looks on during the second half of the Fifth Annual San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Pasadena Star-News Area All-Star Classic. (Staff Photo Keith Birmingham)
My Thoughts: The best moment of all, in my opinion, came in the slam-dunk contest. Pasadena’s Keion Bell produced on his earlier promise to steal the show with four perfect 10’s. First, he dunked over Pasadena teammate Tyron Crockom, who was sitting in a chair to reach the finals.
In the finals, he performed a dunk I saw him do in practice (over slightly shorter people). This time, however, he donned a Batman cape and put it down, much to the delight of the large crowd on hand at the beautiful Felix Event Center.
The battle between Bell and Glendora’s Dominic Tiger-Cortes was all that. The two stars went head-to-head and showed why they’re the best in their respective areas. Tiger-Cortes led the game in scoring with 35 points, but Bell scored at will, pouring in a team-high 29 to lead the Star-News team.
Tiger-Cortes was lights-out in the 3-point contest, sinking seemingly every attempt he tossed up. I can’t recall any makes hitting the rim.
Overall, it was a great game with lots of twists and turns.
3-Point and slam-dunk Contests
By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
AZUSA – The San Gabriel Valley once again is painted in Star-News red.
Pasadena High School’s Keion Bell out-dueled
Glendora’s Dominic Tiger-Cortes and the Star-News All-Stars beat their Tribune counterparts for the fourth time in the past five years with a 109-100 victory in the fifth annual Tribune/Star-News All-Star Basketball Classic on Saturday at Azusa Pacific University.
Bell, the Star-News Player of the Year, scored a team-high 29 points as the Star-News squad withstood Tribune surges early in the second half and down the stretch. Tiger-Cortes, the Tribune Player of the Year, scored a game-high 35 points.
“I know this was just an all-star game, but I wanted to win,” said Bell, who won Star-News MVP honors and the slam-dunk competition. “I know in an all-star game the coaches have to substitute a lot so all of us can play, so I just tried to play as hard as I could.
“That’s usually the difference in these types of games. The team that plays the hardest usually wins, and I think that’s what did it for us.”
It proved to be true during the first half when the Star-News team, behind Bell and Pasadena’s Marcus Harvey (10 of his 14 points in the first half), took an early advantage.
Bell, who had 10 points in the first half, helped the West Valley squad overcome an early 9-6 deficit by combining an inside layup with a pair of free throws to complete an 8-0 run that gave the Star-News a 14-9 advantage.
Brown then helped the Star-News take command at 29-18. He sparked a 15-9 run and scored on consecutive inside shots for an 18-12 advantage with 13:02 left in the half. Brown then followed Bell’s fast-break layup with a 5-foot hook that made it 29-18 with 10:18 to play in the opening half.
Tiger-Cortes, who had 10 points in the first half, and West Covina’s Kerry Carter, who had nine in the first 20 minutes before finishing with 16, suddenly got hot and the Tribune team trimmed a 38-28 deficit with 5:59 left to 42-41 with 2:20 left.
Carter made four consecutive free throws after it was 42-37 with 3:11 to play before dropping in two more to give the Tribune a 43-42 lead with 2:05 to go.
But the Star-News team closed strong on a 5-footer by Bell at 1:11 for a 46-45 lead. DeJuan Chambers of Blair then sank a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left for a 51-45 lead.
Tiger-Cortes, who won the 3-point shooting contest at halftime, took over early in the second half with four consecutive 3-pointers to bring the Tribune team back. He also completed a fast break with a layup to give the Tribune a 61-60 lead with 15:04 to play.
“I told coach (Robert Burgess of South El Monte) that if I won the 3-point shooting contest, I might get hot,” Tiger-Cortes said. “I just started feeling it.”
But the Star-News withstood the rally and threw one back at the Tribune by using a 10-0 surge over the next two minutes to take a 74-64 lead on a fast-break layup by Justin Cook of Renaissance Academy with 13:01 to play.
Bell then followed with back-to-back baskets before Harvey tipped in a rebound follow at 9:08 for an 83-69 lead.
“Rebounding did it for us,” Bell said. “We knew they were a 3-point shooting team and they had to eventually start missing, and missed 3-pointers usually means long rebounds. Then we had to just make our free throws.”
The Tribune got it down to 97-93 with three minutes left. But Tiger-Cortes missed back-to-back 3-point tries and Harvey blocked a third.
“It’s tough,” Tiger-Cortes said. “Yeah, it’s just an all-star game, but I’m pretty competitive and I wanted to win.”