December 28, 2013
Cap Christian knocks off SoCal powers to reach tourney final

UC Iroegbu scored 29 points to lead Bee No. 1 Capital Christian to a 47-43 win over Westchester of Los Angles in tonight's Open Division semifinals of the MaxPreps Holiday Classic in Palm Springs.

Capital Christian will play Jackson of Mill Creek, Wash., in Monday's 8:45 p.m. championship game of the prestigious tournament.

Jackson defeated Long Beach Poly 53-52 on Brian Zehr's 3-point at the buzzer in overtime of tonight's other semifinal at Rancho Mirage High School.

Against Westchester (11-4), Capital Christian (14-1) battled basket for basket with one of Southern California's traditional boys basketball powers.

Westchester's Layon Gooden put his team up 43-42, but Iroegbu, a 6-foot senior guard, scored the game's final five points, all on free throws.

D.J. Wilson added nine points and Tiegen Jones seven.

Capital Christian played without 6-6 center Nifae Lealao, who is on his way to Army All-America Bowl football festivities against the nation's best seniors in San Antonio.

On Friday, Capital Christian upset Etiwanda unbeaten and ranked No. 5 nationally by USA Today 48-42 by playing hardnosed defense and making 23 of 28 free throws.

Tyler Jennings had 12 points, including 10 of 10 from the free throw line; Iroegbu added 11 points as did the 6-9 Wilson, who also had 10 rebounds.

Etiwanda led 25-17 at the half.

But Capital Christian didn't allow a point for more than five minutes in the fourth quarter. During that period, Iroegbu made a layup and two free throws to give his team a 42-38 lead with 1:20 left.

After an Etiwanda free throw, Jennings made two to go up 44-39.

Elijah Johnson hit a 3-pointer for Etiwanda to cut the deficit to 44-42 but Jennings clinched it with two free throws with 15.1 seconds to go.

Etiwanda entered the game 12-0, including a 69-58 win over Centennial of Corona, though it played without USC commit Jordan McLaughlin (injured shoulder). Centennial beat Capital Christian 69-66 in the championship game of last Saturday's St. Hope Elite Classic at Sacramento High.

"This is a big win for Northern California and especially the Sacramento area, which doesn't get a lot of respect," Iroegbu told MaxPreps.com Senior Writer/Editor Mitch Stephens. "This is a big win for our city."

Capital Christian defeated Orangewood Academy of Garden Grove 76-34 and Beverly Hills 62-49 in earlier tournament games.



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Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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