By Pat Turner
It’s too early to determine the winner of the District 27-6A boys’ basketball title, but Brandeis and Holmes have a chance to make a quick statement Saturday when the two meet for sole possession of first place.
Brandeis (21-0, 3-0) and Holmes (16-6, 3-0) held onto their share of the lead with impressive wins this past Saturday.
The Broncos made a little extra room at the top by knocking out Marshall (15-6, 2-1), 90-65, while Holmes outlasted O’Connor (11-11, 1-2), 50-47.
“This is going to be a tough game,” Brandeis coach Marc Gardner said. “Hopefully we can keep playing well. Holmes is doing a lot of good things.”
The thing that has caught Gardner’s eye is Holmes’ powerful inside game led by Marco Anthony, Brian Etheridge and Sean O’Boyle.
The three were instrumental in helping the Huskies hold off O’Connor. Anthony paced Holmes with 26 points and helped Etheridge and O’Boyle control the boards.
Anthony was also effective shooting from the outside, along with Ricardo Rodriguez, who put in 16 points.
Even with the power in the paint and strong guard play, Holmes was constantly feeling the heat as O’Connor’s DeAndre Young (16 points) and PJ Medrano (12 points) kept the Panthers close.
Coach Jarvin Hall knows they’ll need to do more of the same against Brandeis.
“We’re showing a lot more maturity,” Hall said. “The experience is helping. We have to keep playing with confidence and working together.”
Brandeis has been impressive while staying perfect. The win over Marshall was a good example of what the Broncos can do when everything is clicking.
The combination of Kobe Magee, who scored 32 points, and Ellis Jefferson (30 points) was the major boost for the Broncos, especially in the second half.
Brandeis had to scratch and claw for a 38-33 halftime lead as Marshall’s Jordan Burns, who finished with 26 points, and Dorian Lopez, who popped in 20 points, helped the Rams stay close.
The third quarter changed the momentum as Brandeis took control of the contest with a 24-9 run.
Marshall looks to bounce back from its setback in a Saturday matchup against Clark.
Clark (11-11, 2-1) remained near the top by carving out a 50-41 win over Jay (9-12, 0-3).
The Cougars made their biggest impact in the second half as they got a little breathing room with timely points and sound defense.
Johnatan Reyes was a major point producer for Clark, pouring in 21 points. Luke McGhee scored 10 points while giving the Cougars sharp board work.
Brennan (13-10, 2-1) and Warren (16-7, 2-1) kept their title hopes in good standing.
The Bears used a strong second-half showing for a 74-67 come-from-behind victory over Stevens (10-9, 0-3). Warren outlasted a pesky showing from Taft (2-20, 0-3) for a 62-51 win.
Brennan, which plays Warren Saturday, sputtered through the first half as Quenton Coleman, who led Stevens with 19 points, helped the Falcons gain a 35-33 edge.
The second half was a different story. Brennan spruced up its defensive intensity and started showing more scoring efficiency to move in front with a 23-point outburst in the third quarter for a 56-46 lead.
Well-rounded scoring was present as five players hit double figures, beginning with Derian Castellanos and Jai Carter, who popped in 14 points., Jeffrey Quinn and Jahmyl Jeter, who also had 12 rebounds, knocked in 13 points and Alex Wise added 12.
Warren got the upper hand over Taft with a quick start, triggered by the shooting of Charles Johnson (28 points) and Isaiah Thorne (11 points).
After building a 31-13 halftime lead, the Warriors maintained their steady play in the second half an held off any serious threat.
Torre Barrera led Taft with 23 points.