Damien’s Jeremy Hemsley scored a game high 35 points against the Wolfpackin in last night’s CIF SS Division 1AA Playoff game. Helmsley is ranked the number four High School recruit in the country. Unfortunately for the Spartans, one man alone couldn’t win the game.
Great Oak’s Latrelle Franklin and Torin Webb scored 21 points apiece as they led the underdog Wolfpack over Damien 71-65. They presented the defending CIF Champion Spartans with their earliest playoff departure since 2008. This is also the deepest a Great Oak team has been in playoffs since 2007, the school’s third year in existence. Coach Bill Moyer, now AP/AD at Temecula Valley High, brought his 20-11, 5-5 team into the CIF quarterfinals and lost to St Bernard 67-61. The Wolfpack had opened round one by knocking off a highly-ranked Colony team that had gone undefeated in league. Of course, that was before Great Oak was moved to Division 1A.
“We played together well,” said Latrelle Franklin. “We made an effort to rebound as a group and control the boards. When we rebound we are very hard to beat. “Everyone stepped up as a team and it was a really great team win”.
“You have to give them credit,” said Damien Coach Matt Dunn. “They’re a great team and they played really well. We didn’t get any loose balls, we didn’t rebound the ball, and ultimately in games like this, those come back to get you.
Number 33 Isaiah Wesby played an incredible game for Great Oak. He scored 11 points and was everywhere and did everything for the Wolfpack. “Isaiah played his heart out” said Franklin. “We all knew he had it in him and when his number was called he is always going to give it 110%. He was tremendous for us tonight and gave us a great spark off the bench”.
Great Oak fell behind 4-12 early in the game but the Wolfpack refused to cave in and overcame the eight-point deficit to take and hold the lead for most of the game. The Wolfpack led 35-34 at the half.
“Staying focused and poised was the key for us tonight,” said Franklin. “I knew they would make runs but as long as we made good choices it was our game to lose. We were home and we finished it as we should have”.
Indeed, the Wolfpack would outscore the Spartans 21-15 in the third period to take the lead they would hold till the final buzzer. Great Oak held off a 9-2 Damien surge midway through the final period that pulled the Spartans to within 58-57 but it was not enough. The pack put it all together and pulled away for the victory.
Jeremy Smith scored 10 points for Great Oak. Damien’s Isaiah McCullough also had 10 points and Malik Fritz scored seven.
The Wolfpack will now travel to Inglewood to take on the Sentinels. Inglewood (17-11, 7-3, Ocean #3) defeated Los Alamitos (24-5, 10-0, Sunset #1) in a close 46-44 game last night. The Sentinels start a young line-up with two sophomores and a freshman. The Quarterfinal Match will be played at 7pm Friday night.
“The sky is the limit for us,” said Franklin. “We know we’re capable of beating anyone. We will keep working and keep taking it one game at a time.”