Super Saturday: Damien comes up short at SoCal Shootout, loses to Mission Viejo 56-51

By Steve Ramirez
There might be a time when the Damien High School boys basketball team can look back and reflect on the positives of pushing one of the top teams in Southern California to the brink.
But not today.
The Spartans, instead, can only think of what might have been after Clayton White missed a tying 3-pointer with eight seconds left before Damien dropped a 56-51 decision to Mission Viejo in the Southern California Shootout at Azusa Pacifc University.
The Diablos, ranked No. 1 CIF-Southern Section Division 2AA, got 16 points from Michael Cramer, who clinched it with two free throws with three seconds left, and 14 from Isaac Neilson to improve to 22-0. They are also ranked No. 3 in Orange County.
Damien, getting 25 points from Chris Reyes and 10 from Gian Demano, slipped to 18-2. It’s also the second consecutive year that the Spartans nearly upset a high-ranked team, losing in overtime to Etiwanda.
“Not now. Maybe later, if we learn from this, than it will be a successful experience,” said Damien coach Matt Dunn, whose Spartans are ranked No. 4 in Division 3-A. “Last year, we lost to Etiwanda and we learned from it and got better. If we did that … but to be honest, we’re kind of past the point where we can lose and it’s OK.
“We didn’t play our best. We didn’t find a way to win. You have to give (Mission Viejo) all the credit in the world. They’re good. They made all the big plays.”
But Damien, which was held to just two field goals in the first quarter, made some of its own. The Spartans, getting back-to-back baskets from J.J. Pavia and Demano, rallied back from a 31-22 deficit at the start of the second half to take a 44-43 lead early in
the fourth quarter. Then after 3-pointers by Cramer and Brandon Henson gave Mission Viejo a 52-46 lead, the Spartans made one more push.
Reyes converted a 3-point play at 1:22 to cut it to 52-49 and White scored from the inside to make it 54-51 with 14.2 seconds left. The Spartans then caught a break when the ensuing in-bounds pass was deflected off the Diablos’ James Cramer with 11 seconds left.
But White’s 3-point chance was short, with Michael Cramer grabbing the ball following a rebound battle before making two free throws to clinch it.
“We knew we could come out and beat these guys,” Reyes said. “It’s a tough loss.”
La Canada 60, Los Osos 36
Dario CiVon scored a game-high 20 points and Conner Boyd had 14 for the Spartans, who improved to 18-2. Michael McGlashan had 12.
Maranatha 57, Walnut 39
Josh Chamberlain scored 24 points and Jeremy Major had 16 and the Minutemen (16-5) were too strong for the Mustangs (11-8).
Bryan Gholar had 15 points to lead Walnut.
Righetti 74, Rowland 65
Van Holloway had 21 points and the Warriors (12-6) overcame an early-second half deficit to beat the Raiders (13-9).
Sharif Watson had a game-high 27 points and Joseph Dionisio had 17 to lead Rowland, which used a 15-10 blitz for a 43-41 lead early in the third quater.
Flintridge Prep 103, Covina 54
Kenyatta Smith scored 23 points and Kory Hamane had 21 and the Rebels (14-4) rolled to an easy victory.
Edgardo Campos had 14 for the Colts (12-9).
Other Scores
Girls: Bishop Amat 57, Bonita 55
Corona del Mar 80, Upland 67
La Canada 60, Los Osos 36
Etiwanda 66 vs. Colony 62
Glendora (15-4) vs. Baldwin Park (14-4), 9 p.m.

The inaugural California Elite Showcase hosted by La Verne Lutheran. Saturday’s Schedule at the University of La Verne.
Diamond Ranch High School vs Ayala, 2 p.m.
Eisenhower High vs Salesian, 3:30 p.m.
San Diego Hoover vs. Corona Roosevelt, 5 p.m.
La Verne Lutheran vs. Price, 6:30 p.m.
San Diego Lincoln High vs Sacramento High, 8 p.m.

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  • Basic

    Can you make this any tougher???

    Damien vs MV should be a tough game and a win would be great for exposure and possible seeding down the line…

    LVL and Price, WOW now that is a great game to watch even if you have issues with LVL which I always wonder why so many people do. Anyway, game action and athletes, this is the game to watch…

    Our Lady Bearcats and the might amat, how can you not be interested in this game, after all that amat has done in the past? and how often do you get a #1 vs a #2??? This will be a great measuring stick for our Lady Bearcats and I’m excited and anxious to see and enjoy…

    Fred, you are right, what a great weekend for some hoops…

  • Great day of hoops!

    I think both of the boys game sare going to be phenomenal. I just hope that all four teams come to play and that the games are competitive, with the La Verne natives winning both! Maybe we can have a Damien vs. LVL game on Sunday! hahaha.

    Quite honestly, I think some of the other games will be good as well. Maybe they wont have as much high profile talent, but the games will be nice!

  • LancerHoops

    Don’t miss the Amat girls v. St. Bernard on Thursday. That will be a good game also. I hope the Trib will have complete coverage of both games. All 3 teams are very good and have top notch young up and coming talent. DON’T MISS IT FRED!!!!!!!

  • benchwarmer

    I can’t wait for the LVL/Price event. I wonder how much whoop ass LVL will release remembering that humiliating 50 point loss at the hands of Price last year. Good luck LVL

  • jdub

    my vote goes to Bishop Amat’s baseball team. They play a double header in san juan capistrano against J Serra and Mision Viejo…I’m just sayin.

  • just askin’

    WoW! Covina sure has taken a turn for the worse What’s going on there? Seems like the kids have folded on Bissman & their attitude is getting worse. Anybody else see it that way – or have a different opinion?

  • socalbasketball fan

    Another double digit loss to Price for LVL.

  • Should have known

    That the LVL hater would pop up. Thanks for sharing the lose to Price. I guess you couldn’t share what happened in that toughy you had against BP tonight? LVL would play your squad any time and anywhere and beat you by no less than 20, guaranteed!

  • socalbasketball fan

    I am not a fan of Glendora and if you read most of my posts I dislike the way LeDuc schedules easy tournaments and easy teams in the MLK classic. The tarten coach is only interested in the W and I hope the cifss seeding committee looks beyond the W/L in giving them the seed where they belong. Props to Damien for taking on Mission Viejo.

  • Help me understand then

    SOCAL, why would you even mention LVL on this blog then? The story here is about the other games at APU and doesn’t mention the Southern California Elite Showcase and LVL, Price or the other teams at all. Whether you are a Glendora fan or not, kind of misplaced that you mention the LVL lose here don’t you think?

    By the way, did you know that Stanford was up by as many as 14 against UCLA, but won by blew the lead and lost? That comment makes about as much sense as you brining up LVL

  • just sayin’

    understand this – I’m guessing SOCAL was answering “benchwarmer “s post – who I can only guess is an LVL fan, not a hater – about LVL opening some whoop ass on Price.
    Maybe you should ask benchwarmer why he/she brought up LVL on this thread

  • Good point

    Just sayin, I stand corrected as I didn’t look down far enough to see what benchwarmer said! Looks like benchwarmer should not count his/her chickens before they hatched, especially against Price, who has whupped LVL in every game they played hahaha.

  • Speaking of Glendora

    And another tough game for the Tartens! In a nail biter they nip SGV basketball powerhouse Baldwin Park by 33! Glendora should be well prepared for CIF with tough matchups vs. Jurupa Hills, Alta Loma and BP. Looks like the equivalent of LVL’s matchups vs. California School for the Deaf, “The Brail Institute” and all the other league teams, now doesn’t it? Perhaps Tarty aka “LVL HATER” shouldn’t cast stones since their house is made of glass?