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Thursday Tarkanian Classic Recap

Putnam City West players are all smiles after the Patriots' 80-60 Platinum Division quarterfinal victory over Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas) pushed PCW's record to 6-0.

Putnam City West players are all smiles after the Patriots’ 80-60 Platinum Division quarterfinal victory over Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas) pushed PCW’s record to 6-0.

Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.) advances to Plantinum Division semifinals for the second consecutive year. The Sea Hawks will meet FAB 50 No. 12 Centennial (Corona, Calif.). In the other semifinal, it will be host Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) taking on FAB 50 No. 33 Putnam City West (Putnam City, Okla.). Read on for Platinum Division recaps and analysis.

RELATED: Tarkanian Classic Results | Tarkanian Classic Platinum Division Predictions

Last year, the Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.) team enjoyed a successful season, advancing to the CIF Southern Section Open Division semifinals and the CIF Southern California Open Division regional tournament. One aspect of last season coach Reggie Morris Jr. didn’t particularly enjoy was the Sea Hawks’ humbling 84-38 loss to eventual CIF Open Division state champ Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) in the Platinum Division semifinals of the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas.

Redondo Union will get the opportunity to put forth a better performance in the same exact game this season, as the Sea Hawks’ 82-74 victory over Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.) propelled them into the Tarkanian Classic Platinum Division semifinals for the second consecutive season. They were also to extract a bit of revenge against Chino Hills, the club that beat them in last year’s CIFSS Open Division semifinals.

It was a back-and-forth affair but after adjusting to Chino Hills’ fast-breaking, open court style, Redondo Union (6-2) took solid shots from the field and was able to slow down the Huskies just enough. Chino Hills (4-2) shot itself in the foot by missing 19 free throw attempts.

Guard Leland Green continued the strong start to his junior campaign for Redondo Union. The sleek 6-foot-2 finished with a team-high 20 points. Morris Jr. also got a spark from 6-foot-1 junior Morgan Means, who made some key plays down the stretch and finished with 16 points.

Junior guard Lonzo Ball, a UCLA commit, had 18 points for Chino Hills, which was led in the scoring department by Ball’s younger brother, sophomore Li’Angelo Ball, with 33 points.

Redondo Union pulled out a 72-62 first round victory over FAB 50 No. 39 Constitution (Philadelphia, Pa.). Green and sophomore forward Billy Preston each netted 15 points in the victory.

Redondo Union will meet FAB 50 No. 12 Centennial (Corona, Calif.), which advanced to the semifinals with a 65-52 win over FAB 50 No. 48 West Linn (West Linn, Ore.). Centennial (5-0) trailed by double digits early and looked sluggish, but SMU-bound senior guard Sedrick Barefield sparked them at the end of the first half. He knocked down a big 3-pointer with four seconds remaining before intermission to cut the Huskies’ deficit to a single basket (28-26) even though they were outplayed in the first 16 minutes.

In the second half, Centennial wore West Linn down and eventually pulled away. Barefield hit four 3-pointers and finished with 30 points. Cal-St. Fullerton bound guard Khalil Ahmad was Centennial’s only other double-digit scorer with 11 points. Ahmad and senior guard Chris Famous did an excellent defensive job of West Linn Oklahoma bound guard Payton Pritchard. The Huskies had no trouble with their first round opponent, Clark of Las Vegas, as they rolled to a 76-50 win. Junior guard Jordan Griffin led the way for Centennial with 15 points.

Bishop Gorman Makes Statement

The host Bishop Gorman Gaels, who started out No. 4 in the Grassroots Hoops FAB 50, but dropped out of the national rankings after losing to current No. 6 Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) and unranked Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.), want to use the Tarkanian Tournament to right the ship and show they are still among the nation’s elite teams. Gorman dropped out out the FAB 50 because Jesuit has since lost twice since pulling off the upset. If the first games of the Tarkanian Classic are any indication, however, the Gaels are well on their way to returning to the FAB 50.

Bishop Gorman (8-2) routed Overland (Aurora, Col.) 72-59 in a quarterfinal matchup that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. The Gaels jumped out to a 30-9 lead and never looked back. Gorman did give up 11 unanswered points to end the first half, but the outcome was never in doubt in the second half.

Stephen Zimmerman, one of the nation’s top unsigned senior prospects, led Bishop Gorman, which played an unselfish brand of basketball the whole game, with 17 points. Senior wing Nick Blair added 14 points and senior guard Ugo Amadi put an exclamation on the win with a thunderous one-handed jam.

Chase Jeter, Bishop Gorman’s other 2015 McDonald’s All-American candidate in the interior, led the way with 22 points in the Gaels’ 74-57 opening round victory over Windward (Los Angeles, Calif.). Zimmerman and Blair scored 12 points a piece.

Bishop Gorman will face FAB 50 No. 33 Putnam City West (Putnam City, Okla.) in the second Platinum Division semifinal. Putnam City West (6-0) has put together two great performances in advancing to the semifinals and scouts and media scribes in attendance have been impressed with the Patriots’ teamwork and tenacity on the defensive end.

Putnam City West’s top player is Tyson Jolly, and the recruitment for the 6-foot-4 senior guard is likely to elevate after this tournament. In a tough opening round game versus FAB 50 No. 42 Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), Jolly led the way with 26 points, including 17 in the second half to lead his team to a 63-57 victory.

PCW faced a bigger Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas) team in the quarterfinals that featured two 6-foot-11 posts in Schnider Herard and Djery Baptiste, but PCW’s relentless pressure defense on the perimeter and its depth was just too much as the Patriots rolled to a 80-60 victory. PCW led by as many as 23 points in the second half, as PCA couldn’t get the ball inside enough to its twin posts and when it did, the free throws didn’t go down with regularity.

Jolly again led the way with 18 points, while junior guard Marquis Johnson added 17 points. Herard had 12 points, while Baptiste was saddled with foul trouble and finished with four.

We predicted a Corona Centennial-Bishop Gorman final, but Redondo Union will come in extremely motivated while Putnam City West is an extremely tough out and has experience competing against taller teams.

The best individual performance of the 2014 Tarkanian Classic so far was a 55-point performance by 2016 guard Frank Jackson of Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) in a 93-76 win over Clark (Las Vegas, Nev.). His scoring out burst set a school and tournament single-game mark. And it wasn’t as if Jackson was jacking up shots in a blowout game. His team trailed 23-8 early and he was shooting within the context of the game. Jackson was once committed to BYU, but his recruitment is now open.

Ronnie Flores is the Publisher and Editor of GrassrootsHoops.net. He can be reached at ronlocc1977@yahoo.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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