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Richard Lee: Best In The West:  
Artesia vs. Bishop Montgomery--(Dec. 29, 1998)

We weren't at the Best in the West yesterday, but Richard Lee was, and he wrote some pretty good stuff about yesterday's action, which was posted up over at Cyberbears (http://www.cyberbears.com).  Richard told us it would be fine with him if we posted his stuff over here at SoCalHoops also and we're happy to do so.

Best in the West Invitational
Artesia 70, Bishop Montgomery 64

By Richard Lee

Holy sh*t. Errick and Derrick Craven, the 6'2" sophomore twin combo guards for Bishop Montgomery, aren't just good -- these guys are incredible.

Basically, the twins did everything for the Knights. That includes scoring (both thru creating their own shots and thru 3-pointers), rebounding, passing, ballhandling, defending, whatever. They are both better than NorCal's best sophomore point guard, 5'10" Joe See of De La Salle. At least, that's my opinion.

Anyway, I kept track of the scoring for 4 guys -- Artesia's Kapono, 6'9" SO Amaury Fernandez, and 6'7" SO Jack Martinez, and also 6'10" SR Gabriel Hughes (Solomon's brother) of Bishop Montgomery. I wish I had kept track of the Cravens, but then, I couldn't really tell them apart and kept getting confused as to which guy was which number (#22 or #24).

Artesia led after the 1st quarter, 21-13. Jason Kapono scored 6 points on 3 for 3 shooting as all eyes were on him. Pretty much everyone expected Artesia to win, and it seemed they'd win going away after this initial lead.

Well, suddenly, Kapono went cold from the floor, Jack Martinez disappeared, and the Cravens just erupted. These guys were everywhere, and they set up Gabriel Hughes for his only 4 points of the half on great interior passes. Artesia only led 33-27 at halftime, and Bishop Montgomery wasn't going to go away. At halftime, Kapono had 8 points (4-8 shooting, including 0-3 on 3-pointers), 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 fouls. Martinez had just 2 points (1-1 from the field), 2 rebounds, and 1 turnover in a very quiet performance (at that point). Amaury Fernandez had 8 points (3-5 fg, 2-2 ft), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover, and 1 foul, as he did his best to pick up the slack. Gabriel Hughes, again, had 4 points (2-3 fg), and 3 fouls.

In the second half, it was more of the same -- the Cravens doing it all, saving the Knights on every possession and just outjuking the Artesia guards on nifty dribbling, and Artesia trying to pound it inside. Kapono didn't seem to look for his shot and instead passed the ball around, setting up Fernandez and Martinez, who woke up in the 2nd half. Artesia led after 3 quarters, 53-46.

In the 4th quarter, one of the Cravens (Errick?) had a major slam dunk. He didn't just get up in the air, he got in the _SKY_ for the slam -- unfortunately, he also got called for a technical for hanging on the rim. To me, it seemed like he was just hanging to avoid jumping down onto an opposing player, but he did hang on for a while. Still, it was a big call against Bishop Montgomery because Kapono was pretty automatic from the free throw line tonight, and the technical took away the Knights' momentum. In crunch time, Kapono played point guard and handled it well, and Artesia ended up winning, 70-64.

Kapono's line: 14 points (5-13 fg, 0-4 3-pointers, 4-4 ft), 8 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, and 3 fouls -- Kapono wasn't hitting from the field, so again, he started setting up teammates instead. Fernandez's line: 18 points (7-9 fg, 4-6 ft), 6 rebounds, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls. Martinez's line: 14 points (6-7 fg, 2-2 ft), 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 turnovers, and 1 foul. Gabriel Hughes' line: 10 points (4-6 fg, 2-4 ft, including an airballed free throw), 2 rebounds, 1 turnover, and 3 fouls.

And, Artesia has Verbum Dei next, which, again, is scheduled for 7:30pm on Tuesday night in the West Gym. Artesia likes to trap, and they'll probably trap Marlon Parmer all night. Next game to review: Dominguez vs. Long Beach Jordan

Richard Lee


p.s. This game had probably 4 of the 6 or 7 best sophomores in the state (the others being
Dominguez's Tyson Chandler, San Francisco Lincoln's Geormel Benson, and Oakland Tech's DeMarshay Johnson, and maybe Joe See of De La Salle -- some people think PG Keilon Fortune of Dominguez belongs in that company, but since he doesn't play much cuz Dominguez is so loaded, I couldn't tell). This game also featured a fight right outside the gym just before play started. I was sitting pretty close to the entrance/exit, so I could actually hear the thwacks. Interesting.

The Swish Award
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