REDONDO BEACH, Calif — The atmosphere Saturday at the Jordan Brand Take Flight Challenge was more reminiscent of a Vegas nightclub than your idea of a typical high school basketball game.
The gym at Redondo Union high school was dressed up in Jordan’s best, the lights in the stands turned down low to give the spotlight effect on the many talented teams who took the floor and the DJ in the corner kept the crowd entertained during timeouts, quarter breaks and halftime.
Whether you liked the setup or not - I thought it was pretty cool - there was still plenty of good basketball to watch throughout the eight games that were played.
The game or game(s) of the night were perhaps the last two: Redondo Union vs. Santa Margarita and Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart vs. Mission Hills Alemany, respectively.
Redondo beat Santa Margarita, 72-65, behind 20 points from unsigned senior guard Leland Green. Green was named “Player of the Game” due in large part to him scoring 19 of his 20 points in the second half.
The Sea Hawks jumped out to an early 13-6 advantage in the first quarter before Santa Margarita was able to get its footing.
The Eagles settled down behind the shooting of junior Kaden Rasheed (20 points), the rebounding of junior Adrease Jackson (7 points, 16 rebounds) and all-around hustle of sophomore Jordan Guest, trailing Redondo, 31-30 at half.
Guest sank a right-wing 3-pointer with 2:27 left in the third quarter to give Santa Margarita a 42-41 lead, but Redondo answered with a 10-0 run, capped by two 3-pointers from junior Jailen Moore, to give the Sea Hawks a 51-42 lead with 50 seconds left in the period.
Redondo’s Morgan Means closed out the third with a buzzer-beating, offensive rebound put-back that gave the Sea Hawks a 53-42 lead heading into the fourth.
Redondo extended its lead to 14, 62-48, with 5:11 to go before Santa Margarita mounted a furious comeback attempt.
A left corner 3-pointer from Eagles’ sophomore J.T. Robinson cut Redondo’s lead to 70-59 at the 1:46 mark of the fourth. Kaden Rasheed then hit a triple from just right of the top of the key to make cut the deficit to five, 70-65, with 13.7 seconds remaining.
Santa Margarita was fouled Green intentionally on the inbounds and the 6-foot-2 guard capped his “Player of the Game” performance by sinking both from the charity stripe to close out the win.
In the second “Game of the Night”
Though Cantwell-Sacred Heart defeated Alemany by 10, 65-55, it was a much closer contest than the final score depicts.
The first quarter was a bit sluggish, which wasn’t surprising because of the post-8:30 p.m. start time of the game, but Alemany sophomore D.J. McDonald woke everyone up with his buzzer-beating layup to close the first quarter.
Cantwell led 15-12 after one.
Cantwell's Luka Radovic (left) and Alemany's Ernie Sears III prepare to tip-off the final game of the Jordan Brand Take Flight Challenge. Photo Credti: Devin Ugland
Cantwell senior Jacob Davison answered McDonald’s buzzer-beater with one of his own at the end of the first half. The Eastern Washington-bound wing spun through the paint and kissed a scoop layup off the glass, giving the Cardinals a 29-28 advantage at the break. McDonald’s 14 first half points helped keep Alemany close.
The third quarter gave us more back-and-forth play with superb execution from both teams. Davison had some more late-quarter heroics in store, scoring with seconds left in the period, but Alemany’s Brandon Davis nailed a 3-pointer before time expired, tying the game at 46 through three quarters.
Cantwell began to pull away from Alemany in the fourth. A corner 3-pointer from Eli Zedan gave the Cardinals a 59-53 lead with under two minutes to play and they went on the close the win at the free throw line.
Davison finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds and garnered “Player of the Game” honors. Luka Radovic added 14 points and junior Jaedyn Bonilla chipped in 13 points for Cantwell.
McDonald led Alemany with 21 points and Davis added 16.
In the other six games:
Torrance Bishop Montgomery 73, Corona Centennial 51
The “Big Three” of Jordan Schakel (25 points), Ethan Thompson (21) and David Singleton (14) combined for 60 of the Knights 73 points in a dominate win. Schakel added seven rebounds to his “Player of the Game” performance.
The Huskies were led by junior UCLA-commit Jalen Hill and senior Long Beach State-signee Jordan Griffin who scored 19 points apiece. Centennial was without 6-foot-9 senior Ike Anigbogu who is signed with UCLA.
LA Cathedral 63, Long Beach Poly 53
The Phantoms’ Milan Acquaah and Lucas Siewert took advantage of an injury-riddled Poly squad, scoring 26 points each en route to the 10-point win.
The Jackrabbits were without three starters - Drew Buggs (knee), Myles Johnson (knee) and Zafir Williams (ankle) - but stayed competitive throughout due to their defense and hustle. Harrison Bonner and Jeremiah Sadler played well on both ends and senior Reuben Williams knocked down a handful of 3-pointers for Poly.
Siewert was named Player of the Game.
Beverly Hills 49, LA Loyola 44
Matt Reskin and Maddox Daniels led the way for the Normans, scoring 14 and 12 points, respectively. Daniels earned “Player of the Game” honors.
Senior forward Josh Lavergne was Loyola’s leading scorer with 13 points.
Eastvale Roosevelt 62, Compton 57
Jemarl Baker turned in one of the two most electric individual performances of the day as he scored 30 points - 21 of those coming from behind the arc - to lead Roosevelt to a victory. Baker, a junior who committed to California on Friday, was by far and away the Player of the Game.
Raysean Scott, a senior bound for Florida Gulf Coast, led Compton with 19 points. Chris Barnes added 17 for the Tarbabes.
Santa Monica 61, Pasadena Maranatha 47
USC-signee Jonah Mathews had the second of the two most electric performances mentioned above. The SaMo senior poured in 30 points in the Vikings 14-point win. Sophomore wing Rip Economou added 14 points for Santa Monica. Mathews was named “Player of the Game”
Stanford-bound big man Trevor Stanback paced Maranatha with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Leuzinger 63, Brentwood 47
Leuzinger’s Davion Crowder scored 19 points and earned “Player of the Game” honors. Kavon Fair added 15 for the Olympians.
Brentwood freshman Bralee Albert scored 10 points and showed a lot of promise as a long-term prospect.