By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Damien found a way behind its Big Two.
Jared Dizon and Chris Reyes scored all of Damien’s fourth-quarter points to fend off visiting Chino Hills, 63-55, for first place in the Sierra League on Wednesday.
Reyes went to work in the fourth with 12 straight points and finished with 24 to lead the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAAs top-ranked Spartans to 17-1 and 3-0 in the Sierra.
Dizon was just as clutch, connecting on five 3-pointers and scoring eight of his 21 points in the fourth after the the Huskies had rallied from a nine-point first-half deficit to take their only lead in the fourth, 49-48, on Michael Navar’s straightaway 3-pointer with 6:20 left.
Spartans coach Matt Dunn says the game plan is simple enough. Get the ball to their 6-foot-7 forward and let him go to work.
But Reyes only had four field goals through the first three quarters before digging in and making sure he got his touches in the fourth with the game on the line.
“We’ve been trying to get better about throwing it to him,” Dunn said of Reyes. “It seems so obvious when you have a great player he should touch the ball.(To continue click thread)
“It’s still a work in progress for us and I didn’t think we did a good job in the first half. But it’s two parts. Chris didn’t do a great job asking for it, and we didn’t do a good job looking for him.”
Chino Hills’ Deandre Page scored 15 points and Deion Page had 13 to help the Huskies (12-6, 2-10) get back in it.
But it was the 6-foot-7 Navar’s 15 points and defense on Reyes that allowed the Huskies to come back and take the lead.
In fact, the momentum swung after Navar left the game with his fourth foul and the Huskies leading 49-48 with 6:20 left.
The Spartans immediately went inside to Reyes, who banked a shot and was fouled, converting his free throw to put the Spartans up, 51-49.
After the Huskies tied it, Reyes came right back and scored and was fouled again, finishing the three-point play to go up 54-51.
After Reyes extended their lead to 58-55 with a dunk, Dizon hit his fifth 3-pointer to make it 61-55 with 1:53 left.
“My teammates set me up with open shots,” Dizon said. “They were all over Reyes so you have to step up. But we finally got it to him and he finished it for us. You can tell it was tough for him tonight.”
Freshman Jeremy Hemsley had nine points for the Spartans, but it was the inside-outside scoring from Reyes and Dizon that helped picked apart the Huskies’ defense.
“He’s (Dizon) a great shooter and a great compliment to Chris,” Dunn said. “They’re pretty hard to guard when they’re both going like that, and I thought the other guys did a nice job of being patient and getting the ball where it needed to be late in the game.”
It was the second straight close call for Damien, who won in the final minute against South Hills last week.
“It’s never easy,” Dunn said. “Chino Hills did an unbelievable job rebounding the ball. They beat us up pretty good on the boards, we have to get better at that.
“We still have to get better at a lot of things but anytime we beat Chino Hills it’s a good win and a lot of fun.”