By Tyler Drohan
After upsetting Pride of the Foothills tournament host Glendora High School in the semifinals on Friday night, the Northview boys basketball team was looking for a similar result against Damien. But the Vikings simply had no answer for Spartans senior Chris Reyes in the tournament final on Saturday night.
The 6-foot-7 St. Mary’s commit dominated in the post and the Spartans never trailed in a 66-45 win. Reyes scored the opening seven points of the game and was named tournament MVP.
“It’s tough to come back when you get down 15 or 20 points against a team of that quality,” Northview coach Ron Rice said. “We have no answer right now for Reyes inside.
“It’s been fun watching him develop over four years. He’s a prime player and he’s gotten better and better.”
Damien senior Clayton White’s layup put the Spartans up, 12-2, with 3:32 to play in the first quarter. Following a timeout, Northview outscored the Spartans 8-2 to close out the quarter trailing 14-10.
Northview senior Nick Fuentes hit one of two free throws to cut the Spartans’ lead to 21-15 midway through the second quarter, but Damien answered with a 12-2 run to close out the half with a 33-17 lead.
Senior Jon Prater scored seven points during the run and finished with 11 points and six rebounds.
“I thought we did a nice job of throwing the ball inside to Chris early,” Damien coach Matt Dunn said. “When we do a nice job of that we get pretty good shots from the perimeter.”
The Spartans opened the third quarter with eight consecutive points, including four from Prater, to take a 41-17 lead. Damien (9-1) finished the quarter with a 50-26 lead.
“Jon is one of our guys very capable of making shots and I thought he shot really good shots tonight and he was the recipient of Chris getting a lot of attention,” Dunn said.
Northview (10-2) rallied with an 11-2 run to open the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 52-37 with 5:00 left. The Spartans countered with 10 consecutive points to take a 62-37 lead.
During the run, all-tournament point guard White stole a pass and dribbled the length of the court before finding Jared Dizon under the basket for a three-point play that put the Spartans up, 60-37, with 3:35 left in the fourth. White finished with 12 points and six assists. Dizon finished with seven points.
“They’ve got a little bit of depth and we’re playing a little bit short,” Rice said. “I think they got some easy transition baskets, hit some 3-pointers off the transition game and that’s what opened it up in the second quarter for them.”
Fuentes led Northview with 12 points and senior Treavon Francis finished with 10 points.
“I thought we defended much better,” Dunn said. “We did a great job guarding Francis. He’s a really good player and I thought we made him take tough shots and that was probably the key.”
Reyes finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, including 13 first-half points for Damien. Freshman Jeremy Hemsley finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.