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FOOTHILL CLASSIC: Pioneers’ quick start fuels tourney victory

Canyon Springs boys basketball coach Daryl Branham said his team is fond of fast starts.

The Pioneers looked like sprinters coming out of the starting blocks Tuesday at the Foothill Holiday Classic.

Canyon Springs rocketed to a 16-2 lead less than four minutes into the game on the way to a 77-53 win over Redondo Union (Calif.) in the Gold Division semifinals.

“We preach to the kids that we have to come out of the gates early and put pressure on a team to get back on defense and play,” Pioneers coach Daryl Branham said.

Canyon Springs faces Salpointe (Ariz.) for the tournament title at 7:40 tonight at Foothill. Salpointe lost 67-55 to Melbourne 1 (Australia) in the other semifinal. But the Australian team has to catch a flight, so Salpointe will play for the title instead.

With their high-pressure defense leading the way, the Pioneers often resembled sprinters as they raced up and down the court following turnovers.

Canyon Springs forced 10 turnovers in the first half, turning them into 13 points and the early lead.

Senior guard Michael Thompson, who has signed with Boise State, had 11 points in the game, and nine came early on as he knocked down three 3-pointers, the last of which gave Canyon Springs a 24-9 lead with 9:35 remaining in the first half.

“That’s part of our fast start,” Branham said. “Mike is Mike. He kind of had a rough day yesterday shooting the ball, but he’s going to bounce back.”

After Thompson’s fast start, senior forward Jared Brandon took over. Brandon finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

“I’ve been telling everybody that Jared’s kind of a sleeper, and he’s showing what he can do,” Branham said. “We know he has that potential and that capability, and it’s coming out.

The 6-foot-5-inch Brandon scored in a variety of ways: running the floor on the fast break, posting up and driving the ball relentlessly to the basket.

“He likes to go to the basket, he likes to draw the contact and he likes to go to the free-throw line,” Branham said. “He’s working hard and he’s being aggressive both offensively and defensively.”

Marquon Webster and Trey Evans each added 12 points and Chris Willis scored 11 for the Pioneers, who had only eight turnovers in the game.

Valley 74, Arbor View 65 — At Foothill, Christian Kessee scored a game-high 27 points to help the Vikings rally for a win over the Aggies.

Caleb Carter added 22 points and 11 rebounds for Valley, which trailed 30-28 at halftime. Royce Finley supplied five points, six assists and eight rebounds for the Vikings, who will take Salpointe’s place in the third-place game.

DeAndrea Johnson led five Aggies in double figures with 19 points. Chase Ealy (12), Will Martin (11),

Blake Claxton (11) and DeAndre Bright (10) also scored in double digits for Arbor View.

Palo Verde 62, ThunderRidge (Colo.) 53 — Eris Winder had 23 points and seven rebounds to help the Panthers defeat the Grizzlies.

Nahjee Matlock and Jordyn Martin each added 10 points for Palo Verde, which held a 26-25 lead at the half.

Martin grabbed eight rebounds, and Matlock had four assists and two steals.

Foothill 75, Denver East 71 — Brannon Cresanto was 5-for-7 from 3-point range, finishing with 23 pionts, to lead the Falcons past the Angels.

Greg Cox added 18 points and four assists for Foothill, which outrebounded East 46-30.

Ernes Kalac led the Angels with 17 points.

Legacy 69, Las Vegas 66 — Zach Lane had 24 points as the Longhorns nipped the Wildcats.

Chris Cook scored 11 points and Brandon Galindo added 10 points for Legacy.

Phil Dunigan led Las Vegas with 12 points. Travon Langston had 11 points for the Wildcats, who were 14 for 33 from the free-throw line.

Lincoln 64, Liberty 55 — Dominic Williams and Chris Abeyta each had 22 points to lead the Lancers past the Patriots.

Abeyta hit five 3-pointers, all in the second half.

Aaron Navitsky had 16 points for Liberty.

Hug 60, Desert Oasis 47 — Robin Dhatt’s 3-point barrage in the second half helped lift the Hawks over the Diamondbacks in the Silver Division semifinals.

Desert Oasis led 47-37 with 11:16 to go, before Hug rallied behind Dhatt, who hit three 3-pointers in a span of 2 minutes, 40 seconds, to lead the comeback.

His final 3-pointer gave Hug a 52-47 lead with 6:20 to go, and Desert Oasis couldn’t get closer.

Cameron Mich’l and Anthony Lianzo had teamed up to lead the Diamondbacks to a 36-31 halftime lead. The duo took all but one of Desert Oasis’ first-half shots, and scored all 36 points as Mich’l netted 26.

But the duo cooled off in the second half, combining for just seven points. After making 14 of 29 shots in the first half, Lianzo and Mich’l made just 3 of 14 after the break.

Mich’l finished with 31 points and six rebounds, and Lianzo had 12 points, four assists and three steals.

Dhatt finished with 13 points, all in the second half.

Javon Brown led Hug with 14 points and nine rebounds. Sam Williams added 13 points and seven rebounds, and Andrew Johnson had 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Hawks.

Gulliver (Fla.) 73, Shadow Ridge 53 — Mauricio Boschettti hit 5 of 8 3-pointers and finished with 18 points as the Raiders rolled past the Mustangs in the other semifinal.

David Everage led Shadow Ridge with 17 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.

Zach Ducksworth added 13 points and five boards for the Mustangs.

Bonanza 70, Galena 55 — Teyshawn Campbell had 17 points to help the Bengals down the Grizzlies.

Matt Figgins added 15 points for Bonanza.

Zane Copenhaver paced Galena with 14 points.

Green Valley 55, Valhalla 50 — Austin Tebbs sank 3-of-5 3-pointers en route to 15 points to help the Gators beat the Norsemen.

Michael Thornton added 12 points, and Earl Thompson had 10 points and six rebounds for the Gators.

Valhalla’s David Wilschetz led all scorers with 22 points.

Faith Lutheran 80, Melbourne 2 (Australia) 54 — Brett Lubbe had 24 points and the Crusaders rolled to the win.

Christopher Stroud and Greg Thomas each added 10 points for Faith Lutheran, which had 11 players in the scorer’s column.

Claudio Campos led Melbourne with 17 points.

Del Sol 45, Basic 34 — James Johnson scored 12 points to help the Dragons beat the Wolves.

Fekadue Gebretekle added 10 points for Del Sol.

Lorenzo Lucero led Basic with eight points.

Desert Pines 81, Melbourne 3 (Australia) 49 — Najee McIver had 20 points as the Jaguars cruised to the win.

Joshua Velarde (16), William Hill (14) and Leon Saunders (13) also scored in double figures for Desert Pines.

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