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WEST HILLS >> Chaminade defeated St. Francis 67-64 in Wednesday night’s Mission League bout behind 24 points from junior KJ Simpson.
The Eagles led 34-33 at halftime, in large part due to the play of Wilson Poole (13 points) and Keith Higgins, who offered 13 at the half and finished with 16. Simpson had just four points at the end of the second quarter but roared to life after the break, hitting a pair of late three-pointers as part of his 20-point second half to seal the victory.
Largely, though, credit should go to Simpson for playing stellar defense on St. Francis star and UC Irvine commit Andre Henry. Henry dominated much of game, scoring 25 points in the losing effort, but had to settle for free throws down the stretch as Simpson shadowed him all over the floor.
“He’s just a competitor,” said Chaminade coach Bryan Cantwell of Simpson. “He tries to get all of his teammates involved as the game goes on, but then he’ll just take the game over.”
St. Francis (18-5, 1-1) took away the inside game and forced Chaminade to drive and shoot, leading to some frustrated possessions and turnovers on the Eagles’ end.
“They did a great job taking [the inside] away, that’s where our advantage was, and [the game] was close because they did a really great job taking that away,” said Cantwell.
Chaminade 6-foot-10 center Abe Eagle scored only six points, but was a major factor in the fourth quarter, helping control the glass with offensive rebounds and tip outs that led to extra opportunities.
Henry consistently finished at the rim despite drawing a double team. Kai Glassen hit a trio of three-pointers in the opening half and finished with 14 points. Frederick Harper added eight points.
Alemany defeated Notre Dame 73-71. Brandon Whitney led the Warriors with 18 points and Nico Ponce had 14. Harvard-Westlake remains unbeaten in league after its 73-49 win over Loyola. Sophomore Cameron Thrower scored 15 points.
There was a shocker in the West Valley League. Granada Hills Charter topped El Camino Real 52-40 led by Khalil Forrester’s 21 points and Kris Cook’s 13. After El Camino Real and Taft topped Birmingham last week, the anticipation for Friday night’s showdown between the Conquistadores and Toreadors has lost some luster.
Taft and Granada Hills remain the only unbeaten teams in the league.
Birmingham defeated Cleveland 70-38 to snap a six-game losing streak. Corey Cofield and David Elliott each had 15 points in the win. Ramel Lloyd scored 27 points in Taft’s 74-48 win over Chatsworth. Demetrius Calip added 22.
In the Canyon League, senior guard Clark Slajchert scored 36 points in Oak Park’s win over Royal 77-49. Agoura edged Camarillo 72-70 in overtime. Jed Miller and Cam Theus led the Chargers with 19 points. Simi Valley defeated Moorpark 78-50 led by Angel Navarro’s 17 points.
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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News