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 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.

About the Prep blog

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 or

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