LAS VEGAS — Without question, Simi Valley's Don MacLean has been the center of attention at the Eldorado tournament.
With several college coaches and a large press contingent in attendance, MacLean didn't disappoint as he scored 44 points and pulled down 18 rebounds to lead the Pioneers to a 77-64 quarterfinal victory over Clark of Las Vegas on Saturday night at Eldorado High.
The win sends Simi Valley (7-0) into Monday's semifinal round against Bonanza of Las Vegas. Bonanza defeated host Eldorado, 65-54, Saturday.
Simi Valley Coach Bob Hawking, displeased with Friday's performance, was not satisfied with Saturday's, either.
"After last night's game, I thought the kids would come out and play with some fire," Hawking said. "We haven't played in 10 days and obviously it has hurt us. But it's better to be playing poor now than in March."
With the score tied, 10-10, midway through the first quarter, MacLean began to assert himself. The 6-10 senior powered inside for four baskets as Simi Valley surged in front, 18-10. MacLean finished the quarter by scoring the Pioneers' final 12 points as Simi Valley took a 22-14 lead.
Clark (2-4) drew within 32-26 with 3:13 remaining in first half before MacLean and Shawn DeLaittre each scored two baskets to give the Pioneers a 40-28 halftime advantage.
Simi Valley continued its onslaught in the third quarter, with MacLean's rebound slam dunk giving the Pioneers their biggest lead of the game, 50-32.
With Simi Valley leading, 63-47, in the final quarter, Clark rallied for nine unanswered points to cut the deficit to 63-56 with 3:02 to play. But Darren Aurand drilled a jumper, DeLaittre dropped in two free throws and MacLean scored underneath to put the game away.
"Our defense is still inconsistent, we still need to work on some things," Hawking said. "Hopefully the day off will help."
DeLaittre backed MacLean's performance with 19 points and 9 rebounds and point guard Butch Hawking recorded 9 assists.
Clark was paced by Terrance Taylor with 17 points and Nino Samuel added 16.