Cleveland High guard Joey Manliguis waited for the storm, keeping one eye on the door. Forward Richard Branham held his breath. The rest of the Cavalier team cowered as Coach Bob Braswell took a deep breath and prepared to lambaste the team for another exhibition of less-than-perfect basketball.
What followed might surprise a few folks.
"You want to know what I said to them? Nothing, I didn't say anything," Braswell said with a laugh. "I've spent the last few games laying it on these guys at halftime and it hasn't done any good, so tonight I really didn't say anything at all."
Braswell did not call a single timeout during the first half of Cleveland's 78-56 win Tuesday over Dorsey in the Chaminade tournament. He stayed about as calm as a coach can, considering his team turned the ball over 12 times before intermission.
Even though Cleveland held a two-point lead at halftime, the players knew that all wasn't well with Braswell.
"It was weird," Manliguis said. "We usually know when he yells that he cares about us. Tonight he didn't say much, just that he had never seen this kind of thing at Cleveland High, and that's what really got to us."
Call it the calm before the storm, as Cleveland outscored Dorsey by 20 points in the second half to advance to the final of the tournament. Cleveland (7-2) will play Manual Arts in the tournament final at 8:30 tonight. Manual Arts (9-1) defeated Gardena in the other semifinal game, 103-59.
Cleveland converted 13 of 29 field-goal attempts in the first half to go with an assortment of turnovers and mental errors. Manliguis, a 5-10 senior, tossed in five three-pointers in the first half to give the Cavaliers a slight edge, 35-33.
The team expected another interminable intermission, but after Braswell instead gave them a cold shoulder, Cleveland came out red hot.
"I guess he's tried being hard on us and it didn't work," Branham said. "Tonight he was just straightforward."
Branham was a straight forward, too. The 6-4 senior forward scored all of his 13 points in the second half. It was a Branham dunk off a pass from Manliguis with 3:43 remaining in the third quarter that gave Cleveland a 48-39 lead and the edge that Braswell was trying to find.
"It probably shouldn't take something like that dunk to fire them up," Braswell said. "But it usually does the trick."
Manliguis--who had a game-high 22 points--iced the game with 5:12 remaining and Cleveland leading, 60-44. Dorsey assistant Al Campbell tossed a clipboard onto the court after Dorsey was called for an offensive charge. Campbell was hit with three consecutive technicals and was ejected from the game. Manliguis made 5 of the 6 free throws to give Cleveland a lopsided 65-44 lead.
Damon Charlot added 16 points for Cleveland. Marcus Nash had a team-high 15 points for Dorsey (7-2), which plays Gardena for third place at 7 p.m.
Serra 51, Chatsworth 46--Tony Gillette and Cas Banazek combined for 28 points to lead Serra past Chatsworth in a semifinal game in the consolation bracket.
Senior guard David Waco led Chatsworth with 11 points, followed by Stuart Thompson with 10.
Chatsworth plays Santa Paula for third place in the consolation bracket today at 4 p.m. Serra faces Jordan for the consolation title at 5:30 p.m.
Washington 65, Burbank 58--Despite 15 points by senior center Mark Nielsen, the Bulldogs lost to Washington and will play St. Patrick at 11:30 a.m. for seventh place in the championship bracket.
Washington was led by Agee Ward's game-high 16 points. Sean Keyes added 13 points for the Generals, who face Crossroads in a fifth-place game at 2:30 p.m.
Chaminade 40, Masada 35--Andy Connolly scored 12 points and John Carolan added 10 for Chaminade (6-3), which plays Santa Monica at 1 p.m in a game for fifth place in the consolation bracket.
Santa Monica 62, Calabasas 56--Santa Monica, the defending Southern Section 4-A Division champion, advanced despite 28 points by Jon Drezner of Calabasas, which plays Masada at 10 a.m. Sean Obusek added 10 points for Calabasas.