A 2-3 zone is often seen as a passive defense. But not the way Valley played it on Monday.
The Vikings kept Cathedral (Calif.) off balance with its aggressive zone, and went on to beat the Phantoms 80-68 in the Platinum Bracket semifinals of the Las Vegas Prep Championship at Las Vegas High.
“We tried to play man, and they beat us on penetration a little bit so we went to the zone,” Valley coach Brian Farnsworth said. “We flew around, dropped and rebounded. It’s really no secret. They’re just hungry and determined to win.”
Valley plays Garfield (Wash.) at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday for the title.
Guards Cameron Burton and Darrion Daniels each had 22 points and four assists to lead the Vikings. Forward Nick Brannon added 15 points and 12 rebounds and made all six of his free throws in the final 2:47 to seal the win.
Valley led by as much as 18 in the third quarter before the hot shooting of Cathedral guard Milan Acquaah got the Phantoms back in the game. Acquaah hit five second-half 3-pointers, including four to start the fourth quarter, as the Phantoms cut into the Valley lead. A rebound bucket by Kobe Paras with 4:09 to play trimmed the lead to 65-59, but it was as close as Cathedral would get.
“We tried to trap him on the ball screens and he still hit a couple in our face,” Farnsworth said of Acquaah. “We weathered the storm with that. And then we turned the ball over to Nick Brannon. He’s kind of played under the radar a lot this year. But we put him at the point guard and they didn’t really have an answer for him.”
Valley outrebounded the Phantoms 49-37 despite being the smaller team. Cathedral features 6-foot-10-inch Lucas Siewart and 6-8 Leandro Amador along with the 6-6 Paras on the front line. Valley’s tallest player is 6-7 Taveon Jackson.
“Our kids pride themselves in that,” Farnsworth said of the rebounding. “We spend a lot of time in the weight room. We’re big and strong and they physically try to impose their will on other guys. I think they did that tonight.”
Jackson added 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots for Valley.
Acquaah had 28 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three blocks, and Paras had 23 points, seven rebounds and three blocks for Cathedral.
Garfield (Wash.) 83, Las Vegas 68 — Alphonso Anderson had 31 points, 15 rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals as the Bulldogs topped the Wildcats in the Platinum semifinals.
Anderson had 12 points in the fourth quarter as Garfield outscored Las Vegas 19-6 to pull away.
Jaylen Nowell added 32 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs. Nowell’s reverse layup with 1:27 to go in the third quarter gave Garfield the lead for good.
Patrick Savoy had 32 points and 10 rebounds to lead Las Vegas. Savoy hit four of his six 3-pointers in the first quarter to help the Wildcats take a 26-20 lead.
Devon Colley added 19 points, four rebounds and five assists for Las Vegas.
Valley 83, Crenshaw (Calif.) 54 — Shea Garland had 19 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and a blocked shot as the Vikings rolled in the Platinum quarterfinals.
Daniels added 16 points and four assists, Burton had 15 points and four assists and Brannon had 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals for the Vikings.
Las Vegas 66, Hanford (Calif.) 59 — Savoy scored 19 points as the Wildcats held off the Bullpups in the Platinum quarterfinals.
Colley added 16 points, and Tyler Bey scored 12 for Las Vegas.
Cole Taber had 19 points to pace Hanford.
Cathedral (Calif.) 76, Basic 49 — Paras scored 22 points and the Phantoms rolled past the Wolves in the Platinum quarterfinals.
Acquaah added 17 points and nine rebounds for Cathedral, which outscored Basic 19-6 in the second quarter to take control.
Josh Villaros led Basic with 12 points, six rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots.
Melbourne (Australia) 68, Rancho 53 — Nick Dane scored 13 points as the Tigers beat the Rams in the Gold semifinals.
Mitchell Barnes and Lukhanyo Zantsi each added 11 points for Melbourne.
Siriman Keita led Rancho with 14 points. Kenneth Smith and David McKeever added 11 and 10 points respectively for the Rams.
Because California schools aren’t approved to play the Australian squad, Rancho will face Cypress (Calif.) in the Gold championship game at noon on Tuesday.
Melbourne will play Las Vegas at 9 a.m. in an exhibition game.
Rancho 63, Chaparral 53 — Lamont Traylor had 22 points to power the Rams over the Cowboys in the Gold quarterfinals.
McKeever added 16 points, and Smith scored 10 for Rancho, which led 32-31 at the half.
Chaparral’s Marc Silas led all scorers with 23 points. Edgar Ramirez added 10 points for the Cowboys.
Troy (Calif.) 61, Liberty 20 — Semir Shafi had 16 points as the Warriors routed the Patriots in the Silver semifinals.
Ed O’Bannon scored 13 for Liberty, which had just one point in the fourth quarter.
Liberty 58, Santee (Calif.) 35 — Eugene Williams scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Patriots topped the Falcons in the Silver quarterfinals.
Tai Senor added 14 points, O’Bannon scored 12 and Ryan Taggart 10 for Liberty, which led 30-18 at the half.
Clarence Miller led Santee with 17 points.
Troy (Calif.) 47, Western 22 — Ryan Murase hit four 3-pointers and scored 12 points as Troy routed Western in the Silver quarterfinals.
Matt Mickle added 11 points for Troy, which led 32-12 at the half.
Wyatt Rozea scored 10 for Western.
Hazard (Ky.) 50, Cimarron-Memorial 38 — Hunter Hardy hit five 3-pointers and scored 29 points to lead the Bulldogs over the Spartans in the Silver quarterfinals.
Terrell Walker led Cimarron with 13 points.