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Jason Day: BIW: Artesia Falls to Verbum
Dei in OT--(Dec. 30, 1998)

This was from Tuesday's semifinal games, and since we were out traveling from Santa Maria, to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, we didn't have an opportunity to post it yesterday, but better late than never.  As most know by now, Artesia lost this game, but won the third place game of the Best in the West.   We'll have a full report on that one later, but for now, here's Jason's story:

Artesia High, USA Today's #3 team in the country, faced off against Verbum Dei tonight I the semis of the Best in The West Tournament. It's too early in the morning to try to write an in-depth report...so here's the down and dirty.

I got there at half time and Artesia was up 42-39...the 1st quarter score was 20-19 Artesia. This was a close game. By my count, neither team held more than a 5 pt. lead until the overtime. Yep, overtime. At the end of regulation they were knotted 71-71.

Drama everywhere. Verb's star point, Marlon Parmer, fouled out of the game just before regulation expired. He left the game with 32 huge points on 15 for 24 shooting (2 outta 5 of those were 3 pointers)...he was also 6/6 from the line. And just for good measure, he had 9 assists, 5 steals, and 3 boards. Not a bad night's work, but he was out for the overtime.

Verb's other big gun, Dalron Johnson, had 21 pts, 8 boards, and 6 assists. He was around for the OT.

Shortly after the OT started, Artesia's tenacious point guard, Andre Hazel, was hit with his 5th and final foul, he was out for most of the OT period. He left with 6 pts., 6 assists, and 5 steals. Hazel had been going head to head with Parmer and the tough gambling defense that they can play, got em both in foul trouble. Problem for Artesia was that Parmer did far more damage before he was dismissed.

Ok, let's get to Kapono. If last year was any indication, if Jason has an off night, then Artesia will struggle. Off is putting it mildly. Kapono finished with 21 points, which sounds much less impressive, or decisive, when you also note that he was 9 for 34 from the field. That includes an unbelievable (for him) 0 for 10 from 3. As usual, he tried to contribute wherever he could, like grabbing 12 boards, but the Pioneers are rudderless if Jason can't bury at least SOME of those shots.

I spoke with Verb coach, David Greenwood, after the game and asked if there was any particular thing that stuck out when he was reviewing Artesia tapes to prepare. He said that he thought his boy's could do well if they made it a "perimeter" game. Shoot well on their end, and make Artesia shoot on the other.

That's exactly what I saw them do, and unfortunately for Artesia they just couldn't drop em. They were (get this) 0-for 19 from the arc as a team, and shot a miserable 38% from the field. That just ain't gonna get it done against a team that can, and will, run with your long rebounds and finish with the finesse of a Parmer, the power (and finesse) of a Johnson, and the hustle of a very talented supporting cast. Greenwood reminded me, Verb is a defending state champion, they've been through the wars, and know how to hurt you if a cylinder or two is misfiring. For the Pioneers, it was Mr. Goodwrench time.

To Artesia's credit, with all the "misfiring" they still played Verb to a virtual draw. Amaury Fernandez was 9 of 18 from the field, 10 of 13 from the line, for 28 pts. to go with 6 boards and 2 assists. Jack Martinez finished with 11 pts., 6 boards, and assist and a block. Aaron Hamilton had 7pts., 3 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals. They were game, and played tough basketball matching Verb at every turn in regulation.

But the in the OT you saw Verb with a bit more confidence and control. While there was the tinge of desperation creeping into Artesia's game. And, as often happens on good teams, when their star (Parmer) had to leave the game, the rest of the team took up the slack. Little Man, Huston Hollis, (5'5) filled in for Parmer for most of the OT and did a great job of controlling the ball, making it real difficult for Artesia to commit the intentional fouls it was soon relegated to giving, and even dazzled the crowd with a couple of sweet drives to the hole. He finished with 6. Teammate David Huff had 10, and (one of my favorite kids) Washun Dashiel chipped in 8. Jamaal Dean and Kyle Jones, 5 and 8 respectively, hit the big shot, or got the great putback, or snatched the key rebound. All of cylinders worked just fine.

Hey, I said this was gonna be brief. I gotta go. Pictures from this game, tomorrow, if I can get USA's server to let me post em. I went to this game after attending Pepperdine vs. Rhode Island. Yeah, I got some shots of Lamar Odum, and yeah, Pepperdine did win (upset?). Details and flicks (hopefully) tomorrow, right here at SoCalHoops and over at USA Online. And, oh yeah, in the other semi...Clovis was trailing Dominguez by about 5-6 when I left early in the third.

Later,

Jason Day.

The Swish Award
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