NorCal Tip Off Classic Recap

Here’s the results and recap from the 8th Annual Prep To Prep NorCal Tip-Off Classic at Newark Memorial (Newark, Calif.). Please make sure to check out on Sunday evening for exclusive player rankings from the one-day, seven-game event.

RELATED: NorCal Tip-Off Classic Player Rankings

NorCal Tip-Off Classic Results
(Teams listed by preseason state ranking)

Game 7: FAB 50 No. 7 Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 63, No. 4 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 55

The Dragons’ quest to win a CIF Open Division state title got off on the right foot by downing perennial power Bishop Gorman before an overflow crowd on Saturday night at Newark Memorial High School in the marquee game of the Prep To Prep NorCal Tip-Off Classic.

The main difference in the game was the start of the third quarter, as Bishop O’Dowd outscored the Gaels 14-0 to take a 44-30 lead after the teams went into the halftime locker room all knotted up.

“We just couldn’t score and we had a couple of unforced turnovers,” said Bishop Gorman head coach Grant Rice. “Bishop O’Dowd did a good job of capitalizing on every single one of them.”

Doing most of the capitalizing was Bishop O’Dowd’s inside-outside combo of Paris Austin and Ivan Rabb. Rabb, one of the nation’s top recruits and a Mr. Basketball USA candidate as well as the front-runner for California Mr. Basketball, had 19 points in the first half and generally outplayed Bishop Gorman’s two likely frontline McDonald’s All-Americans — Duke-bound Chase Jeter and uncommitted Stephen Zimmerman.

Rabb, who is uncommitted and will sign in the spring, finished with game-highs of 28 points and 20 rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals. Jeter and Zimmerman were the Gaels’ only double-digit scorers. Zimmerman finished with a team-high 14 points and eight rebounds, while Jeter had 10 points and four rebounds.

Both teams shot relatively well from the field, with Bishop O’Dowd shooting 47 percent (23/49) and Bishop Gorman shooting 46 percent (22/48). The difference was the aggressive nature in which Austin, bound for Boise State, attacked the basket and created opportunities for himself or teammates. Bishop O’Dowd converted 15-of-25 free throws, while Gorman made 7-of-17 from the charity stripe.

“I wanted to come out play hard and come out aggressive and find my teammates,” said Austin, who finished with 15 points, five assists and three steals. “We wanted to get Ivan going early and we were able to do that and he was motivated to play the rest of the game.”

Austin is arguably California’s best senior point guard and the Gaels’ backcourt was it weakness coming into this season. Starting guard Richie Thornton made only 2-of-9 field goals attempts and finished with five points for Gorman, while wing Nick Blair finished with seven points. Gorman had 23 turnovers, while O’Dowd had 14.

“We wanted to attack them from their zone (defense),” said Bishop O’Dowd coach Lou Richie. “And Paris (Austin) is our best decision-maker so we felt good. We have a chance to be really good if we can enjoy it and be happy for each other.”

Bishop O’Dowd, which came into the game as California’s preseason top-ranked team, also got good performances from forward Isaiah Thomas (4-of-4 FGs, 8 points) and starter Austin Walker also made a big 3-pointer and finished with five points.

“We knew they had some guys around Paris and Ivan,” Rice said. “We knew they’d be good. In order for us to get better, we just have to score when we get the opportunities.”

Gorman, which was ranked three spots higher than O’Dowd in the preseason FAB 50, will look to regroup with three local games before hosting the Tarkainian Classic beginning December 17. That tournament will feature a host of FAB 50-ranked teams, including many from California.

As for O’Dowd, it hits the floor next Saturday December 6 versus Riordan of San Francisco at the Merv Booker Classic. After that, the Dragons will face FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy of Florida on the road in a nationally-televised contest.

“We don’t need to be playing much between now and then,” Richie said.

Game 6: No. 12 Folsom 72, Newark Memorial (Newark) 46

The defending NorCal Division II champions were just too much for the host club, as Folsom got plenty of easy looks from the field and consistently beat the Cougars down the court and to loose balls. Folsom took a 21-7 lead after a quarter and a 36-21 lead at halftime.

Folsom outscored Newark Memorial, 25-5, in the third quarter, but the Cougars attempted to make the outcome respectable by outscoring the Bulldogs 20-11 in the final period.

All-state guard Jordan Ford led the way, as Folsom ran whenever it could and displayed its superior foot speed right away. Folsom led 12-2 and never looked back, as Ford finished with 29 points, three assists, and two steals. Junior wing Jared Wall also had an excellent game for the Bulldogs with 17 points and four rebounds.

Marcus Harris, a senior transfer guard from St. Joseph (Alameda), led Newark Memorial with 14 points. Folsom shot 55 percent from the field for the game (24/44), while the Cougars shot 32 percent (13/41). The main difference was the amount of easy shots the Bulldogs got.

Game 5: No. 16 Modesto Christian 89, Bullard (Fresno) 65

Modesto Christian, one of the few legitimate threats to Bishop O’Dowd for the 2014-15 NorCal Open Division title, overwhelmed Bullard from the start and never looked back in recording a wire-to-wire victory. The Crusaders took a 14-0 lead and led 23-14 after one quarter.

The score was 48-25 in favor of the Crusaders at halftime.

Pacific-bound Anthony Townes dominated the interior from the onset and finished with game-highs of 25 points and 21 rebounds. Bullard, which was led by senior guard Marquis Macumba’s 22 points and eight rebounds, simply had no answer for Townes inside.

On the perimeter, junior guard Christian Ellis was the dominant figure. Bullard is perimeter-oriented and it tried a variety of guards to try and slow Ellis down to no avail. He scored on a variety of power moves to the basket and on the break, finishing with 24 points, 13 rebounds and three assists. Ellis did not attempt a 3-point shot.

Game 4: College Park (Pleasant Hill) 65, No. 33 St. Mary’s (Stockton) 58

After leading 26-22 at halftime and missing all seven of its 3-point attempts, College Park made 6-of-9 3-pointers in the second half to put away the pesky Rams. St. Mary’s stuck around, but couldn’t overcome the barrage of 3-pointers, as College Park went up 47-34 on back-to-back 3-pointers by senior Arash Aliyar He made three 3-pointers and finished with 18 points.

The Rams had major trouble slowing down senior forward Steven Daily of College Park. He was just too strong and skilled for the Rams. He finished with a game-high 21 points, eight rebounds, and three assists.

Senior forward Lance Coleman II led St. Mary’s with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Game 3: No. 20 Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 65, Drake (San Anselmo) 64

In a matchup pitting defending CIF NorCal champions, it was Moreau Catholic (IV) overcoming a 10-point deficit to pull out a victory over Drake (III). The comeback was completed when junior guard Brandon Lawrence (20 points) nailed a 3-pointer with 18.5 seconds remaining to account for the final margin. Although Lawrence hit the big shot, it’s safe to say the Mariners wouldn’t have completed the comeback without junior forward Oscar Frayer.

In front of assistants from his future college destination, the Cal commit blocked a shot by Drake’s Jesse Hunt (team-high 19 points) on the other end after Lawrence’s triple. Drake retained possession and with 2.1 seconds remaining, Hunt got a good look in the key. A host of Mariners’ defenders swarmed him, but they did not foul him on the ground and Hunt, bound for Eastern Washington, stepped away from the goal and threw up a shot fall-away jumper that rimmed out at the buzzer.

“I was scared when he (Hunt) caught the ball and scared when he shot it,” said Frayer, who finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and four timely blocks.

Frayer pinned a shot on the glass and converted a conventional 3-point play on the other end to tie the game at 57-57 with 4:53 to go. Moreau Catholic trailed 63-57 after Hunt’s conventional 3-point play with 2:36 to go, but the Pirates could not hold their lead.

Talented junior guard Terell Brown had 20 points for the Mariners, while senior fowards Jasper Verduin and Dane Wells chipped in 12 points apiece for Drake.

Game 2: San Ramon Valley (Danville) 55, Cordova (Rancho Cordova) 50

Senior Drew Kunde of San Ramon Valley made the shot of the game, a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1:03 remaining, to give the Wolves a five point lead when it looked like the Lancers were threatening to steal the game. Kunde made four 3-pointers en route to a team-high 20 points.

Cordova was led by D1 prospect Jordan Robertson, a shooting guard who finished with a game-high 27 points. He made 8-of-19 field goal attempts, but only 1-of-5 3-pointers and missed two field goals down the stretch when it was a one-possession game. The Lancers only other double-digit scorer was JaQuan Lewis with 11 points.

Game 1: Berkeley 67, St. Joseph-Notre Dame (Alemeda) 66 

The Yellowjackets held off a pesky St. Joseph-Notre Dame team that wouldn’t go away. Senior guard Casey Roquemore led Berkeley with 17 points and four rebounds. St. Joseph, the defending CIF Division V state champs, stayed in the game by hitting its free throws (11/12) and by getting the ball inside to senior forward Lamont Banks.

Banks, a four-year standout, led all scorers with 21 points and made 9-of-9 free throws before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Both teams had four players in double figures, but only Banks and Berkeley’s Asa Allen shot 50 percent or better from the field. Allen had an excellent second half and finished with 14 points, six rebounds and at least three blocked shots.

RELATED: NorCal Tip-Off Classic Player Rankings

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  1. phil60
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Bishop O’Dowd is for real. I don’t see anyone in the south this year that will be able to handle them, barring a major injury. A team from the north wins the major division about every ten years, so this is their year for sure. It could be an all-around sweep with De La Salle and Folsom in football winning the Open and D1. I am a Southern California fan, but ……….

    • Ronnie Flores
      Posted December 1, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Phil60, O’Dowd is indeed the real deal. They are the heavy favorites to win the NorCal Open Division title and will give anyone from down south a major test.

      We’ll see how O’Dowd fares on a national level on the 12th

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