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John R. Wooden High School Invitational:
Dominguez Beats Up On Waltrip--(Dec. 6, 1998)

Well, we took a whole bunch of pictures on Friday night at the Wooden High School Invitational, the Second Annual such affair, and most of them that we took were of perhaps one of the best teams in the United States, the Dominguez Dons.   We were sitting right next to the Dons bench throughout the game, and we got some great shots. Really we did.

Only one big problem.

In the rush to get out the door yesterday morning to make it back down to the Pond, we grabbed the wrong stack of disks to use with our digital Sony Mavica camera which is a really cool little piece of hardware, and so all those really swell pictures you've seen of UCLA, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine and Kansas. . . well, we inadvertently formatted over the Dominguez pictures so now we don't have them. Bummer.

Because you've really got to see this team to believe it. Dominguez is perhaps the deepest team we've seen this year, or in any other year, and they are perhaps a better team now than they were last year with Tayshaun Prince who is now at Kentucky smoking all the juniors and seniors.  We won't bother reprinting the roster, but you know the drill. Either look in the 98-99 High School Previews for the Dominguez Preview, or use the search engine ("Search SoCalHoops") on our navigation bar.

This game was billed as a matchup of two teams who are potential state champions this year:  Waltrip from Texas, features Antonio Falu (6'-6" Sr. G), one of the year's hottest recruits, Lonnie Brooks (5'-11" Jr. G)   Jermaine Byrd (5'-8" Jr. G), Field Williams (6'-3" Jr. G), Antonio Nutall (6'-4" Fr. F) and Vincent Anderson (6'-9" Sr. C), among the better players who came for the trip.  But one look at them during warm-ups and comparing them with Dominguez, who did one of the best and most graceful warm-up drills we've ever seen (it gets better each year) and you knew this was going to be a huge mismatch right from the start. Antonio Falu, one of the hottest players this summer turned out to be quite good, but with no real support besides Field Williams, a freshman, who scored 20 points,. Falu ended up with a game high 24 points, but that's about half the story.  Antonio is a thin, quick and wiry guy, strong yet slender, and he's rumored to be a good shooter, and he was in the first quarter tonight, providing the only really offense for Waltrip with 8 points on 3-5 shooting.   But overall, Waltrip had one of the worst shooting nights in the first half that we've ever seen. In the first half, Waltrip only shot .187 from the field (7-38), .125 from the three point line (1-8). Field Williams went 1 for 10, Vincent Anderson went 1-4, Antonio Nutall went 1-5, Ben Patterson shot 1-5, and the only real bright spot was Falu, who went a dismal 3 for 9 from the field. 

Dominguez started Ronald Jackson (5'-10" Sr. PG), Marcus Moore (6'-4" Sr. PG), Keith Brooks (6'-7" Jr. F), Keith Kincade (6'-4" Sr. SG/SF), and Tyson Chandler (7'-0" So. C).  The game started with two huge Chandler blocks, one right after another, and then with about 24 seconds gone, Tyson picked up his first foul, and Anderson of Waltrip made both free throws. It was the first and only time that Waltrip led in the game.  Kincade struck first right off the tip on a pass from Marcus Moore and then Tyson got two big blocks.  With Marcus Moore at the one, and Jackson at the  two, this was just a very quick offensive set and no matter that there were two points, because both of them were equally adept at handling the offense, although we'd have to say that Jackson was having more success early on.

Falu started his shooting by hitting a pretty jumper, the first of three that he hit in the first half. Tyson and Vincent Anderson got into a small shoving match, and Anderson at 6'-9" looked to be at least three inches smaller than Tyson, and he was really not much of a match for Tyson in the paint.  Waltrip wasn't going to have any success inside, so they tried to go outside with their little guards and with speed.  Jermayne Byrd, at only 5'-8" is just blindingly quick, and he took Tyson to the basket, but didn't score and his shot was rejected forcefully, giving Tyson one more block.

The outside shooting wasn't much better, and when we said dismal at the outset of this article, we meant it. Rarely have we seen a team shoot as badly as Waltrip did, and we're sure they're really a better team than this game showed. But Byrd could do it, so they resorted to guys like Larry Manual (5'-8" Sr. G), who couldn't either, going 0-2 from the field.  For Dominguez, the guy they call "man-child", Darius Sanders (6'-5" Fr. F) was the first one off the bench and into the game for Keith "Big House" Brooks. With 3: 30 left to play in the first quarter, Keilon Fortune (5'-11" So. PG) went in for Marcus and Cedric Thompkins (6'-7" Jr. F) went in for Tyson, as if to even up the lineups.  But it didn't matter and with them in, they boosted the lead to 17, 32-15 over the first and second quarters.  

With 2:03 left to play, this one was looking more and more like a rout.  Micah McKinney (6'-2" Jr. G) was just about the only Don on Friday night who was having any kind of trouble in the game, and he just seemed  not ready to shoot. Every time he'd get the ball, he'd hold it high over his head, and Russell and the rest of the coaches would shout "triple threat, triple threat" reminding him that as long as he held the ball over his head, he was either going to be fair pickings for a better defense somewhere down the road, or at the very least, his defender could afford to back off because he clearly was telling everyone he wasn't going to shoot.   Which is exactly what he should have done because the defenders were backing way off of him, giving him clear looks at the basket, and Micah is (was) known as a pretty good perimeter shooter.   But with the entire Dominguez bench shouting at him to "shot, shoot,"  he just wasn't.  Result: Russell Otis yanked him pretty quickly.

Tyson played well virtually every time he was in. He had just a couple of huge slams, one of which threatened to pull down the backboard (he doesn't weight enough, but he did shake it pretty good anyway).  At the half the score was 45-24, and it didn't look like Waltrip was coming back out.   In contrast to Waltrip's dismal night, Dominguez was just onnnnnnn in the first half.  Keith Kincade shot 7 for 9 from the field, and went 5 for 6 from the line for 19 points.  Tyson had 4 blocks and 7 points, all on monster dunks which just got the crowd going crazy.  Ron Jackson went 3 for 3 from the field and 2 for 3 from the line; Chandler shot 3 for 4 from the field and Keith Brooks was the only one shooting lower than .500, going 3 for 7 from the field for 6.  Oops, Cedric, Darius and Marcus all went scoreless, with Marcus going 0 for 2 and Darius and Cedric each missing their only shots.  Darius was especially effective on the boards with 5 rebounds.   Keith had 7 boards, and Marcus had 6 as well.

In the second half Tyson scored the first basket, a twisting drive into the lane, but Dominguez looked sluggish to start and when Tyson cleared out, Marcus was able to score in the lane.  Marcus then tipped the ball  and Kincade got the basket off the feed from Marcus on the transition. But Dominguez was not as hyped as they were originally,and when the crowd started to lull to sleep, Waltrip managed to creep up, and with 2:20 to play the score was 59 to 38 where it stayed until 1:44 in the quarter as Micah hit a very pretty pull up jumper and even though Waltrip tried to run with them, it was no use as Dominguez finished the quarter on a Micah McKinney layup to stretch the score to 67-42.

The fourth quarter was nothing to write home about, but it did give the rest of the Dominguez bench the chance to get some big minutes. James Jackson (5'-1`0" Sr. PG), Donald Bluitt, Joey Aubrey, Kejon Kindred, Bobby Jones, and Lyman Edwards all got at least 4 minutes in the game, and all of them except Edwards scored.

Overall, Dominguez shot .550 from the field (33 for 60), .286 on three pointers (2 for 7), and they made half of their free-throws (19-38).   Keith Kincade was the high scorer of the game for Dominguez and he picked up 21 points on 8 for 11 shooting from the field and 5-7 from the line.  Marcus Moor had 6 assists, but was plagued by turnovers and he had four, but did manage two steals. Tyson finished with 14 points, and 4 blocks, but he also had 3 turnovers. His shooting from the field was excellent though, and he made 5 of 6 shots. Ron Jackson had 9 points, Keith Brooks 12, and Cedric Thompkins had 8.

Waltrip probably was wishing they hadn't shown up.   Have we said they shot horribly?  How about Antonio Nutall's 1 for 6 from the field?  How about Field Williams taking 22 shots from the field and only making 7?   or taking 12 three pointers and only making 4?  Antonio Falu went 8 for 20 from the field and only 1 for 5 from three point range.

Oh, the final score was 60-87, but it could have been 200 to 20 if Dominguez had left it's starters in the game and had the result really counted.   Really.  We don't mean to exaggerate, but the Dons are really good.   Waltrip may be a fine high school team, but there's no comparison. Guess we're spoiled, but it didn't seem like Dominguez was really trying all that hard in the second half.

The slam dunk contest which followed the game was at least entertaining, even though we don't know why Mike Strawberry entered it, because he clearly wasn't ready to be dunking.  While Tyson Chandler won it (was there any doubt. . . he's the guy everyone came to see anyway, right),  Aaron Abrams of Rancho Buena Vista gets our vote as the dunker with the best form, that is for a 6'-4" guy.  Hey, it's hard to compete with a 7'-0" guy in a dunk contest, but somebody had to do it.

Big fun, heck of a night. 

And next time we'll save the pictures.  We promise.

The Swish Award
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