NorCal Tip Off Classic Recap

Here’s the results and recap from the 13th Annual NorCal Tip-Off Classic at Newark Memorial. Bishop O’Dowd opens up season with a big win over preseason state No. 9 Modesto Christian. No. 14 Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco scores a big win over No. 17 JSerra of San Juan Capistrano while No. 26 Mitty of San Jose defeats defending D2 state champ Campolindo of Moraga. Other results from big events around the state show state No. 3 Rancho Christian of Temecula losing twice.

RELATED: To see 2019-20 preseason state rankings, CLICK HERE ; To see the list of major tournaments and showcases involving California’s best teams, CLICK HERE ; To see a list of all-time preseason No. 1 teams in our current state Top 20 format (1988-89), CLICK HERE ; To see the vast list of transfers that will impact the 2019-20 season, CLICK HERE

2019 NorCal Tip-Off Classic Results
(Teams listed by preseason state ranking)

Game 7: No. 32 Dublin 76, No. 12 Weston Ranch (Stockton) 52

The complexion of this game completely changed when Weston Ranch’s Gavin Wilburn, one of the top returning players in NorCal, was unavailable due to receiving two technical fouls in the Cougars’ season opening-loss to Dougherty Valley of San Ramon. The way Dublin’s Anthony Roy played, however, it may not have mattered who suited up for the opposition.

Roy, who had a terrific summer and is ranked No 47 in the latest Cal-Hi Sports Hot 100, only missed one field goal attempt all game for Dublin (1-0). He finished with 26 points, nailing all five of his 3-point attempts and all 11 of his free throws for the Gaels, who will test themselves against some of the state’s best teams later in the month at the 66th Annual Gridley Tournament (December 12-14) and The Classic at Damien (December 26-30).

Donjae’ Lindsey, a 6-foot-2 junior, led Weston Ranch (0-2) with 22 points.

AJ McGee from Sacramento Grant was the MVP of the game he played in against Newark Memorial. Photo: Gerry Freitas.

Game 6: No. 24 Mitty (San Jose) 60, No. 21 Campolindo (Moraga) 58

In this game, it looked like the CIF Central Coast and West Catholic Athletic League power was in control throughout and it felt like the Monarchs built a big lead. Every time it looked like the Monarchs would push their lead to double-digits, Campolindo would answer. The Cougars, last season’s CIF D2 state champs, trailed 57-46 halfway though the final period but made one final rally and had a chance to win despite star guard Aidan Mahaney, last season’s Cal-Hi Sports State Freshman of the Year, shooting 0-for-8 from the field in the third period.

Mahaney got off the schneid with a driving bucket to cut Mitty’s lead to 57-48 and the resilient Cougars kept chipping away until Mahaney’s 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds remaining cut Mitty’s lead to a single point, 59-58. Mitty’s Owen Browne was in a 1-and-1 situation with 5.2 seconds remaining and missed the front end, but Campolindo (0-1) could not secure the rebound. The Monarchs’ Mason Ryan then went to the line, made one, missed the second and Mahaney got the rebound with 2.9 seconds remaining and had momentum going towards his basket, but head coach Steve Dyer had already signaled for a timeout. Following the timeout, the Cougars’ last gasp by Carter Mahaney from near half court was off left.

Browne led Mitty (1-0) with 20 points, while Ryan added eight points. Junior Mikey Mitchell, who already is committed to Pepperdine, added six points and eight assists.

Aidan Mahaney finished with 23 points on 7-for-23 shooting for the field. Sophomore Matt Radell, a 6-foot-6 forward, was Campolindo’s second double-digit scorer with 12 points. Campolindo was missing some of its bench depth because its football team was playing for the CIF North Coast Section D2 title, which it lost to Clayton Valley of Concord, 27-7.

Game 5: No. 7 Windward (Los Angeles) 67,
No. 25 Clovis West (Fresno) 62 

In a game of runs, Clovis West got the final one and had a chance to tie the game on its last possession. The hot hand belonged to junior Cole Anderson, who hit a 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining to bring the Golden Eagles within one-point (63-62). After Windward’s Brandon Richard hit crucial free throws with 14.4 seconds remaining, Anderson got the ball at the top of the key with his momentum going away from the basket with two defenders rushing him and the potential game-tying shot was off to the left of the rim.

Richard, a 6-foot-7 junior, also converted an important conventional 3-point play with 1:31 remaining to give Windward a 63-59 advantage.

At halftime, Clovis West (1-1) led 34-24 and was up by as many as 13 points in the first half. The Wildcats promptly went on a 23-5 run at the point of their largest deficit and outscored the CIF Central Section’s top preseason ranked team, 25-5, in the third period after going on a 23-2 run over the final portion of the second period and the start of the third. Windward (5-0) took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish on a 3-pointer by Devin Tillis with 4:43 remaining in the third period.

Tillis, one of SoCal’s most underrated players and the No. 52 in the latest Cal-Hi Sports Hot 100, was a key to the Wildcats’ victory with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore point guard Dylan Andrews led Windward with 25 points, as Windward looks to keep pace with the state’s top-ranked team (league rival Sierra Canyon) and looks for national FAB 50 recognition. Earlier in the day, state No. 6 St. John Bosco lost to unranked, but quickly-rising, Renaissance Academy of La Canada in the championship game of the El Tournament while No. 5 and NorCal No. 1 Sheldon of Sacramento rolled past Santa Clarita Christian in the BattleZone Tournament (the team that beat No. 3 Rancho Christian in the semifinals) 87-56 behind tourney MVP and returning all-stater Marcus Bagley (28 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, four steals).

Game 4: No. 14 Riordan (San Francisco) 64, No. 17 JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) 59

In one of the most anticipated games of the event, the Crusaders served notice that they will be in the thick of the NorCal Open Division playoff race with a hard-fought victory over a team that is one of SoCal’s most talented, but which could conceivably finish in third place in the powerful Trinity League behind preseason state No. 2 Mater Dei of Santa Ana and No. 6 St. John Bosco of Bellflower. The latter lost to unranked Renassiance Academy of La Canada in Saturday’s El Monte Tournament championship game.

Defensively JSerra (1-2) couldn’t stay in front of Sam Houston St.-bound point guard Bryce Monroe, who got hot from the outside early and got in the key for numerous attempts and makes. He finished with 33 points, while putting pressure on JSerra’s defense the entire game. Backcourt mate Je’Lani Clark, headed to Nevada, added 12 points. The difference in the game down the stretch was the rebounding and interior Riordan defense, particularly from 7-foot sophomore Mor Seck. The talented newcomer finished with 12 points and a handful of key rebounds and blocked shots.

JSerra lead Riordan (1-0) 32-29 at halftime, as Utah-bound Ian Martinez had 17 points. Riordan led by two points (47-45) entering the final period and 53-47 with just under six minutes remaining. Martinez scored nine late points to make it interesting, but Riordan scored just enough to pull out the victory despite some shaky ball-handling in the game’s closing moments.

It was Riordan’s first game of the regular season, while the Lions dropped their second game in three outings. JSerra lost to Centennial of Corona, which was unranked to start the season after losing three transfers. It looks like Centennial coach Josh Giles has found some excellent young pieces around Portland St.-bound Paris Dawson, as the Huskies also defeated preseason No. 3 Rancho Christian of Temecula at their own BattleZone Tournament. This came in the third place game, as state No. 5 Sheldon of Sacramento defeated Centennial in a semifinal contest. Rancho Christian fell on Friday to unranked Santa Clarita Christian, and even though the Cardinals and Centennial are excellent teams, it’s still a shocker to see the Eagles lose two games this early in the season.

Game 3: No. 38 Grant (Sacramento) 58, Newark Memorial (Newark) 55

After trailing 38-22 at halftime, the host Cougars made a valiant effort, only to fall short after having an opportunity to tie the game on their last possession. The late turnover by Grant (1-0) was made 85 feet from the basket by junior point guard Corey Yerger, but the 3-pointer by Abdur-Rahman Gilchrist of Newark Memorial (0-1) was short of the mark.

Grant got the cushion it needed on a late 3-pointer by A.J. McGee and a backcourt steal and bucket by sophomore guard Jayson Matthews. McGee scored a game-high 21 points for the Pacers, while his backcourt mate Yerger added 14 points.

Junior guard Elijah Carlton led Newark Memorial with 19 points.

Game 2: No. 26 Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 65,
No. 9 Modesto Christian 49

The Dragons continue to play well and knock off highly-regarded teams at this event, as freshman power forward Jalen Lewis had a coming out party in his first regulation game for the Dragons. The 6-foot-8 first-year player matched up with Modesto Christian’s Cal-St. Northridge-bound senior Alex Merkviladze and finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.

Modesto Christian (1-1) led early, 8-4, then the Dragons went on a 9-0 run and never looked back. Cal-bound senior Monty Bowser of Bishop O’Dowd (1-0) had a key block and 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to thwart a Modesto Christian comeback bid. He finished with 12 points.

The Crusaders, who were without a couple of key pieces due to transfers not yet eligible, got 15 points from senior guard Michael Pearson. They also received 10 points apiece from junior Chris Fan and sophomore Oziyah Sellers.

In 2014, the Dragons recorded the big win over Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) in the best game ever played at the Tip-Off Classic and went on to win the 2015 CIF Open division title. Two years later, the Dragons upset a Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) team that opened up No. 1 in the state and went on to capture the CIF Open Division crown.

Game 1: St. Patrick-St. Vincent (Vallejo) 93, Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 58

The Bruins received a terrific game from senior guard Jalen Scott and junior wing Jaden Alexander in pulling away from the Mariners down the stretch. Scott hit six 3-pointers for St. Pat’s (1-0) to finish with 26 points, while Alexander also finished with 26 points on a variety of spectacular dunks and finishes.

The leading scorers for Moreau Catholic (1-1) were junior Jonathan Langford (15 points) and sophomore Trey Knight (14 points). The Mariners trailed by two points (23-21) after one period, but it was all Bruins the rest of the way.

RELATED: To see 2019-20 preseason state rankings, CLICK HERE ; To see the list of major tournaments and showcases involving California’s best teams, CLICK HERE ; To see a list of all-time preseason No. 1 teams in our current state Top 20 format (1988-89), CLICK HERE ; To see the vast list of transfers that will impact the 2019-20 season, CLICK HERE

Ronnie Flores is the managing editor of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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