guard Sam Finley (5) was selected most valuable player of the Oaks Christian… (Steve Galluzzo / For The…)
Corona Centennial Coach Josh Giles still thinks his team has plenty of room for improvement.
Yet it's hard to imagine the Huskies playing much harder or better than they did Saturday night in Westlake Village, where they used their speed and endurance to defeat Santa Monica, 80-69, in the championship game of the Oaks Christian tournament.
Senior guard Sam Finley was selected most valuable player after finishing with 25 points and seven assists and sophomore guard Sedrick Barefield and junior forward Deontae North each added 23 points for the Huskies (15-1), who led 32-26 at halftime and took a 70-52 lead on BJ Russell's three-pointer from the corner with 4:15 left.
"We approached this like any other game -- play hard and play fast," Finley said. "We didn't focus on one player, instead we played defense, crashed the boards and kept them out of the paint as much as possible."
Santa Monica had the edge in the first four minutes, but the Huskies clawed back to take a 15-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Cal-bound guard Jordan Mathews had 32 points, Chris Smith scored 10 points before fouling out with 3:42 left and Erron Vaughn added eight points for the Vikings (11-4), who cut their deficit to 76-65 on Mathews' jumper with 1:11 left but got no closer.
"I'm pleasantly surprised with where we're at, but I don't think we've peaked yet," Giles said of his young but athletic team. "Because of our lack of size, we emphasize speed in practice. I didn't like the fourth quarter, but we played a great third quarter and that gave us a cushion."
In the girls' final, Los Angeles Windward used accurate long-range shooting and ball-hawking defense to overwhelm Oakland Bishop O'Dowd, 58-43, in a matchup between two of the top programs in California.
Tournament MVP Jordin Canada led the way for the Wildcats with 25 points, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer from half court to give the Wildcats a 32-16 halftime lead over the defending state Division III champions.
Courtney Jaco had 18 points and Kristen Simon added nine for Windward (14-0). Canada's steal and layup increased the Wildcats' lead to 44-28 at the end of the third quarter and they led by as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter.