The high school basketball season is here and the prestigious Battle Zone Tournament, which took place last week at Centennial High School, drew teams in from all around the area. Great Oak, Rancho Christian and Temescal Canyon all represented the valley in this preseason premier tournament and the Eagles and the Wolfpack both made some noise in their quest for being the best boys basketball team around this season. Rancho Christian took down Etiwanda to win the Open Division Championship and Great Oak defeated Mission Hills en route to their Invitational Championship win.
For the Eagles, the Mobley brothers are back and Isaiah and Evan combined to score 48 points, helping Rancho Christian (6-0) roll to a 78-54 victory in the championship of Centennial’s Battle Zone Tournament. Isaiah, a 6-foot-9 junior, was selected the Most Valuable Player of the tournament and had 30 points and 10 rebounds in the final game. Evan, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Also for the Eagles, Isaiah Knox scored nine points and Luke Turner and Jordan Montgomery each added seven points for the Eagles (6-0). Toby Okwuokei had 15 points off the bench to lead Etiwanda (4-1).
So far this season Rancho Christian has victories over Chino Hills, Etiwanda, Rancho Verde, Foothills Christian and Capital Christian, all teams that started the season with top rankings in the state, which should boost Coach Ray Barefield’s Eagles up quite a few spots. Though the fight for the playoffs could see some theatrics this season as the CIF Southern Section’s Open Division playoff teams are likely going to be trimmed from a 16team field to an 8 team field, Rancho Christian looks to be one of those teams.
The Eagles will take a break and return to action before Christmas at the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas. Rancho Christian then will participate in the Damien Holiday Classic at the end of the month. The Eagles also have showcase games later in the season against Centennial, JSerra and San Diego Mater Dei Catholic.
Great Oak also got off to great start for the 2017-18 season as they won the Battle Zone Invitational Tournament Championship Saturday, Dec. 2. The Wolfpack began the tournament with a loss to Orange Lutheran 71-57, but turned things around to beat Temescal Canyon 61-58 in the second round. After they defeated Serrano in the quarterfinals 86-57 Thursday, Nov. 30, it would be San Bernardino’s turn to fall to Great Oak, 72-60, in the semifinals. In the Invitational Division Championship game, the Wolfpack ended the tournament with a 52-50 nail biting win over a tough Mission Bay team. Great Oak will be playing in the Riverside Kiwanis Tournament which takes place this week through Saturday, Dec. 9.