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April 19, 2014

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Canyon Springs’ defensive pressure proves too much for Liberty

Jared Brandon and Michael Thompson lead Canyon Springs in big win

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Steve Marcus

Jamaal Martin (45) of Canyon Springs High School watches a loose ball after getting in a scramble with Liberty High School’s Mark Fernando (21) during a game at Canyon Springs in North Las Vegas Tuesday, December 7, 2010. Liberty’s Timothy Rambo (25) watches at right. Canyon Springs won the game 101-58.

Canyon Springs vs. Liberty

Harly Tagab (31) of Liberty High School fouls Donald Anderson of Canyon Springs High School as Anderson steals the ball during a game at Canyon Springs in North Las Vegas Tuesday, December 7, 2010. Canyon Springs won the game 101-58. Launch slideshow »
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Transitioning from football to basketball

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer wrap up the football season by discussing Bishop Gorman's second straight state championship and introduce the basketball season. They also discuss who to look out for next football season and debate the merits of sweatpants.

Team pages

In case anyone needed a reminder of how dominant last year’s state runner-up was, Canyon Springs provided it Tuesday night against Liberty.

The Pioneers used a relentless defensive effort to frustrate the Patriots and take an impressive 101-58 victory.

“That’s the biggest thing for us,” senior forward Jared Brandon said. “We’ve got to get after people.”

Liberty players would be the first to attest to the fact that Canyon Springs does that well. The Pioneers had about 20 steals as a team and made it difficult for the Patriots to even get the ball across half court.

At one point in the second half, Canyon Springs stole four straight inbounds passes. The Pioneers full court pressure never stopped all night.

“That’s what we preach,” Canyon Springs coach Daryl Branham said. “We’re fairly deep, so we’ll just keep throwing guys at them and hope to wear teams down. That’s what our goal is.”

Canyon Springs didn’t have to wear Liberty down. The Pioneers stormed out to a 16-point lead in the first quarter and the rout only continued.

Brandon led the charge with 18 points. He did a little bit of everything — swished a three, knocked down free throw shots, dished three assists, grabbed six rebounds and recorded five steals.

“Jared is a very versatile player,” Branham said.

Senior guard Michael Thompson dazzled coaches from Boise State, where he has committed to play in college, in the crowd with 15 points and four assists.

Marquan Webster also pitched in 15 points, while Trey Evans had 16.

“I like where we are,” Brandon said. “We’re playing good.”

Brandon had the highlight of the night when he snagged the ball from a Patriot under the basket and went up for a dunk. If last season serves as any indication, there will be plenty of more of that in the future.

Canyon Springs went 26-4 last season and the only in-state opponent it lost to was Bishop Gorman in the state championship. The Pioneers are off to a 2-0 start this season after the Liberty game and a 91-56 win against Foothill last week.

“The effort was there tonight,” Branham said. “We hit the boards well, we hustled and we defended pretty well. We kept Liberty where we wanted them.”

Liberty slipped to 1-2, but can feel comfortable going forward with its whole roster. Tuesday was the first time this season all of the Patriots were in uniform after football players missed two games because of their run to the state semifinals.

One of those football players, Jeremy Lagasca, stood out with nine points against Canyon Springs. Aaron Navitsky was the Patriots leading scorer with 10.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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