Valley point guard Cameron Burton didn’t get off to a hot start on Saturday night.
The junior missed his first nine field goal attempts, and didn’t score until making a free throw that cut the Cathedral (Calif.) lead to 42-40 with 9:03 to play.
But Burton made five of his next six shots, finishing with 13 points, to help spark the Vikings to a 60-51 win over the Phantoms in the Las Vegas Prep Championship at Las Vegas High.
Valley moves into the Platinum Bracket title game at 1:30 p.m. Monday against Garfield (Wash.).
“Cameron got hot, and we kind of rode his momentum and got things going on offense,” Valley coach Brian Farnsworth said. “And I thought our defense was solid all night.”
Burton was 0-for-7 on 3-pointers before finally attacking the basket and getting some points near the rim. Once he did that, the Vikings began to pull away.
His basket with 6:52 to go broke a 45-45 tie, and Valley led the rest of the way.
“We called a timeout and told the guys, ‘Let’s play inside out, whether it be a pass or penetration to the rim,’” Farnsworth said. “And he got to the rim a couple times and made a couple baskets and got his confidence going and really got things going for him offensively.”
Farnsworth praised the defense of 6-foot-3-inch forward Nick Brannon, who took on the task of guarding 6-7 Phantoms forward Jerome Bryant.
“Outside of Cameron, I thought the difference for us was Nick Brannon,” Farnsworth said. “He played defense on the Bryant kid. That kid had to have been averaging 25 points in this tournament, and (Brannon’s) defense was unreal. He guarded him one-on-one, and we didn’t have to double down to help, and that was huge for us.”
Brannon helped limit Bryant to 12 points on 4-for-12 shooting. Brannon also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
“He’s probably the best athlete in our school, and he showed it tonight,” Farnsworth said. “He’s such a competitor. He doesn’t care if he scores. He just wants to win, whatever it takes. Tonight he played defense and rebounded for us.”
Rebounding was especially important for Valley, which held a 42-27 edge on the glass despite facing a team that had the 6-7 Bryant and 6-11 Lucas Siewert inside.
“We preach rebounding as a team,” said Farnsworth, whose team was 2-for-16 on 3-pointers. “We’ve got to get five guys on the glass and go from there so we can limit any second-chance points, which we did tonight. As long as we rebound and play defense when you don’t shoot well, sometimes it’s not pretty, but you can find a way to win still.”
Spencer Mathis had 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and Shea Garland had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Vikings.
Garfield (Wash.) 85, Las Vegas 66 — At Las Vegas, Tramaine Isabell scored 34 of his 47 points in the second half as the Bulldogs downed the Wildcats to move into the Platinum championship game.
Isabell, who has signed with Washington State, scored 15 points in the first four minutes of the second half as Garfield turned a 27-26 halftime deficit into a 43-33 advantage.
Isabell was 9-for-12 on 3-pointers in the game, 6-for-6 after halftime. He also had nine rebounds and three assists.
DeeShawn Tucker added 15 points and eight assists, and Brayon Blake added 11 points and five rebounds for Garfield.
Re’Kwon Smith had 34 points and six rebounds for Las Vegas. Patrick Savoy added 13 points, and Devon Colley had eight assists for the Wildcats.
Las Vegas 74, Douglas 55 — At Las Vegas, Smith had 23 points, nine rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots to lead the Wildcats over the Tigers to move into the Platinum semifinals.
Savoy scored all 14 of his points in the second half for Las Vegas. The Wildcats took control for good on back-to-back steals and layups from Savoy and Smith to take a 39-32 lead with 14:20 to play.
Douglas wouldn’t get closer than three the rest of the way.
Deshawn Weathers had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists for Las Vegas, which got 10 points and five rebounds from Tyler Bey.
James Herrick and Austin Evans each scored 12 points for the Tigers.
Hanford (Calif.) 59, Silverado 54 — At Las Vegas, Trent Reynolds scored four of his 12 points in overtime as the Bullpups eliminated the Skyhawks in the Gold Bracket.
Sammy Simas scored all four of his points in overtime for Hanford, and teammate Grant Kenney finished with 10 points.
Joe Baldi hit five 3-pointers and led Silverado with 21 points, including all seven of the team’s points in overtime.
Jason Matthew added 14 points for the Skyhawks.
Reed 72, Liberty 46 — At Las Vegas, Jamel Ramos hit 10 3-pointers and scored 36 points as the Raiders eliminated the Patriots in the Gold Bracket.
Tyler Newman scored 15 points to lead Liberty.
Cimarron-Memorial 65, Lathrop (Alaska) 53 — At Valley, Amani Gill had 19 points to lead the Spartans past Lathrop in a Bronze Bracket semifinal.
Kyle Skurow added 16 points for the Spartans who pulled away after leading only 30-29 at the half.
Kyle Carlson had 29 points for Lathrop.
Cimarron will face Salesian (Calif.) in the bracket final at 9 a.m. Monday at Las Vegas.
Cimarron-Memorial 72, Santee (Calif.) 28 — At Valley, Malik Kamson had 14 points as the Spartans cruised by the Falcons in the opening round of Bronze Bracket play.
Austin Garrison and Skurow each chipped in 11 points for Cimarron.
Carnell Carter led Santee with 11 points.
Salesian (Calif.) 64, Mojave 51 — At Valley, Mario Lopez scored 25 points as the Mustangs rallied from a 27-26 halftime deficit to eliminate the Rattlers in a Bronze Bracket semifinal.
Darryl Adams had 13 points, and Jordan Glenn scored 10 for Mojave.
Mojave 62, Chavez (Calif.) 37 — At Valley, Malik Abbott led four double-figure scorers with 15 points as the Rattlers eliminated the Titans in Bronze Bracket play.
Adams added 12 points, and Omar Federico and Glenn each scored 10 for Mojave.
Markelle Moore led Chavez with 10 points.
Santa Fe (Calif.) 75, Basic 63 — At Valley, Cristian Perez scored 30 points to lead the Chieftains by the Wolves in Silver Bracket play.
Antraye Johnson had 23 points, and Tyler Anderson scored 16 for Basic.
Huntington Beach (Calif.) 43, Sunrise Mountain 34 — At Valley, Zackery Pannell hit five 3-pointers and led all scorers with 15 points as the Oilers stopped the Miners in the Silver Bracket.
Trellis Quinn had 12 points for Sunrise Mountain.