It happened a few days later than expected, but the matchup between two of the area’s top big men did not disappoint Thursday night.
And when the dust cleared (and the floor dried), it was Pharaoh Compton and the Arbor View Aggies coming out on top.
Compton had 28 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots to lead the fourth-ranked Aggies to a 68-63 road win over Tee Bartlett and Coronado, the No. 1 team in the Review-Journal’s Class 5A rankings.
“It was a tough game for sure, from start to finish,” said the 6-foot-8-inch Compton, who has signed with San Diego State. “My team put it together in the end, and we got the win. But it was a hard-fought battle.”
The game originally was scheduled for Monday, then moved to Wednesday and finally postponed until Thursday because a substance that was sprayed on a balloon arch for a senior night celebration got on the floor, making it unplayable.
But once the teams actually took the court, the matchup between Compton and the 6-11 Bartlett was a good one throughout.
“It’s always fun,” Compton said of going up against another big man. “I always know it’s going to be a really good game. I really just come early and take a lot of time to get prepared before the game, because I know it’s going to be a good matchup.”
Bartlett got the best of things early, scoring 11 points in the first quarter. But Arbor View (18-7, 9-2 Class 5A Southern League) began to bring more double teams to the post, especially in the second half, and the Aggies were able to slow Bartlett and Coronado (16-11, 9-2) down some.
“That was big, because he hurt us early, so we were doubling down just to get it out of his hands or make it more difficult for him,” Arbor View coach Dustin Clayton said. “That definitely helped after the first quarter, because he hurt us pretty good.”
Bartlett finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds and hit a pair of first-half 3-pointers. But he definitely wasn’t able to get the easy looks that he had early when he recorded a pair of first-quarter dunks.
“I feel like I had him contained by myself a little bit, so once that added pressure came, it was even better for me,” Compton said. “It just helped me get it out of his hands.”
The Aggies also hit some key 3-pointers to help spark the offense. DeMarion Yap and Maximus Romero each hit a pair of 3-pointers, and Brian Townsend’s 3-pointer with 6:45 to play pushed the lead to 54-47.
“I thought we ran a couple pretty good sets for our shooters, and they knocked some down,” Clayton said. “That kind of helped when we didn’t have much rhythm.”
Romero and Trammell Darden each added 10 points, and Townsend had nine points and eight rebounds. Darden also had five assists and four steals.
Jonny Collins added 16 points and three steals for the Cougars.
Arbor View’s win coupled with Desert Pines’ 62-61 upset win over Liberty left a four-way tie atop the Southern League standings on the final night of the regular season.
Coronado ended up getting the top postseason seed on a tiebreaker. Liberty will be the No. 2 seed, Bishop Gorman No. 3 and Arbor View No. 4.