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Bell-Jeff Tournament: Arenas Lights
It Up For 32 Points--(Dec. 17, 1998)

Last night marked the beginning of the Bell-Jeff Holiday Classic in the varsity division, and there were two games, North Hollywood v. Eagle Rock at 6:00 p.m. and Culver City v. Grant High School at 7:30 p.m.  The crowd was somewhat less than capacity, but those who did make it out saw some great individual and some great team basketball, and they saw Gilbert Arenas hit for 32 points, 16 in the first half, as Grant just demolished Culver City.   The final score was 90-45, but that hardly tells the story.

We didn't see the North Hollywood game, but we talked to Rob Bloom, North Hollywood's coach and NoHo won 76-55. And before we get to the Grant v. Culver City game, here are the pools and the schedule for the remainder of the pool play portion of the tournament:

Pool A Pool B Pool C Pool D
Bell-Jeff
Dos Pueblos
DTBusiness Magnet
Culver City
Grant
Half Moon Bay
Hart
Leuzinger
Monroe
Eagle Rock
Marshall
No. Hollywood
Wednesday December 16 Thursday, December 17
6:00 p.m. North Hollywood v. Eagle Rock
7:00 p.m.  Culver City v. Grant
6:00 p.m. Hart v. Monroe
7:30 p.m. Bell Jeff v. DTBM
Friday December 18
3:30 p.m. Eagle Rock v. Marshall
5:00 p.m. Monroe v. Leuzinger
6:30 p.m. Dos Pueblos v. Bell-Jeff
8:00 p.m. Grant v. Half Moon Bay
Saturday December 19
2:00 p.m.  Marshall v. North Hollywood
3:30 p.m. DTBM v. Dos Pueblos
5:00 p.m. Half Moon Bay v. Culver City
6:30 p.m. Leuzinger v. Hart

Back to last night's game between Grant and Culver City:

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Gilbert Arenas at the line shooting for two

Grant was so much better, so much more dominant that it hardly seemed fair.  The game got started late because the Culver City bus got lost, and most of the Culver players probably wish they had just continued on past without stopping at the Bell-Jeff gym.  In the first quarter, Culver City was only able to get off 8 shots, and they only scored once for two points and that was with 1:53 to go in the quarter. . . they didn't score again until about two more minutes had elapsed in the second quarter, and Grant led 34-5 with only 4:20 left to play in the first half.    At the half, the score was 40-14, and most of the Grant players backed way off in the third and fourth quarters. Well, that is if you call "backing off" a third quarter score of 65-29.

Gilbert Arenas (6'-4" Sr. SG) and Grant didn't exactly exploded out of the starting blocks with quick points, but they did just steadily and slowly manage to score on practically every alternating possession in the first half, while Culver City either turned the ball over on questionable passing, had the ball stolen, blocked, or just plain threw it away.  Despite their lack of even trying to attempt shots in the first quarter, Culver City, which really seemed like it wasn't being coached last night, took the quick approach, as if jacking up more shots was going to be the answer against Arenas, and by midway through the second quarter, we honestly lost track of Culver's shot attempts and we had more than 20 shot attempts tallied when we stopped. Yet during the first half, they were only able to hit for 14 points, and 8 of those came on free throws.  Not a fun thing to watch.

Gilbert Arenas scored 11 of Grant's 15 first quarter points (three 2 pointers, one 3 and two free-throws), and in the second quarter he scored 6 more points. In the first half, Gilbert had 5 rebounds, and three steals.   Grant was also paced by the great perimeter shooting of Daniel Tarr (5'-11" Sr. SG) who had (we think) four three pointers and a total of 13 points on the night.  It almost seemed like Tarr and Arenas were playing on two different teams at times, even though they were both in the game at the same time, there wasn't a lot of passing going on between them.   It took an alley-oop though in the third quarter frm Ryan Logan (5'-7" Jr. PG) to Gilbert, which he stuffed, to really get the crowd's attention.  Logan has an excellent handle, good court vision, and he pushes the ball and releases quite well, and he finished with 12 points.   Rawhawd Winston (5'-11" Sr. PG) played well too, connecting with Gilbert for several assists and getting a couple of steals. 

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Arenas blocking the inbounds play
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Krishna Evans (middle) goes up after gettin the board

Justin Buttikofer (6'-2" Sr. SF/PF) did his usual tough job under the boards, taking two straight charges in the first quarter, grabbing about 8 boards, and in general playing hard and doing the things that make Gilbert and the rest of the guys look good.  Buttikofer doesn't get a lot of attention from the media, and with a guy like Gilbert who pretty much is the spotlight, that's understandable, but he'd get our vote for All-League. He's probably one of the smartest players on the floor, and just has a great feel for the game. We hear that he intends to go to San Diego State, and while we hear he's not sure about playing in college, we'd personally encourage him to try to walk on at SDSU, because he's at least as good good as some of the guys there now.  No 'dis intended to the SDSU guys, but we think Justin is pretty good.

gilline.jpg (7778 bytes)
Arenas takes his spot in the key for the rebound

Krishna Evans (6'-4" So. F/C) played very energetically, and hustled all over the floor, but he needs to work on catching the ball, and he had an inordinate number of turnovers, mostly in the first half. But on the positive side, he did hit for 11 points including a three-pointer which is becoming sort of a sub-specialty for him.  Krishna has good size, excellent mobility, rebounded just a ton last night (we counted about 13 boards) and he runs the floor well. He's a great defender and had two huge blocks also in the first quarter.  In a year or so he'll be a great prospect, and he's certainly someone to keep an eye on.

One other player we really enjoyed watching tonight is Michael Charleston (6'-3" So. SG/SF) who is shuttling between the jv and the varsity for now.  Michael was a member of the VNSO All-Stars for the last several years, along with David Gale (5'-10" Fr. PG) from Buckley, and Michael is turning into quite a spot-up shooter, hitting for 5 points all in the fourth quarter, two on successive baskets when he was parked out on the left had perimeter and Ryan Logan fed him the ball off the transition.  Michael is working on developing a great, high arcing shot, and he's also bulked up a bit.  We'd expect him to get to about 6'-6' or 6'-7" and he'll be a potential D-I prospect by next year.  

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Arenas at the line shooting two just after the release
  gilshoot.jpg (9157 bytes)
Gilbert shoots again.
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Sharpshooting Daniel Tarr of Grant
brings the ball upcourt

Grant also had a couple of other guys who we got a chance to see for the first time.  They have another little point guard besides Rashawd and Ryan, a kid named Sung Jeong (5'-8 ?? PG/SG) who moved the ball very well,and he had some great twisting layups, and some nice passes, but needs to improve his peripheral vision a bit because he passed up several opportunities to get the ball to Gilbert (like he needed to score more anyway?)  If Jeong is anything but a senior, Grant will be good at the point for at least another year.

If you get a chance to make it over to Bell-Jeff, you won't be disappointed.  Check it out, and we'll see you there.

The Swish Award
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