Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 | 11:04 p.m.
The Canyon Springs boys basketball team advanced to the championship game of the Foothill Holiday Classic with a 77-53 victory over Redondo Union of California on Tuesday.
The Pioneers were led on offense by senior forward Jared Brandon, who recorded a game-high 23 points to help Canyon Springs improve to a perfect 9-0 on the season.
“I just try to play hard and do what I can to help my team,” Brandon said. “I just try to play as a team and do what I have to do to get the win.”
Brandon was one of five Pioneers in double-figures scoring. Trey Evans and Marquan Webster each had 12 points and Chris Willis and Michael Thompson each had 11.
“I’ve been telling everybody that Jared is kind of a sleeper,” said Canyon Springs coach Daryl Branham. “He’s just showing what he can do. We know that he has that potential and capability and it’s coming out.”
Brandon scored 11 points in the first seven minutes of the second half, including nine consecutive points for the Pioneers to help open up a 61-33 lead.
Thompson, who is committed to play at Boise State next fall, hit three 3-point field goals in the opening half, including back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the Pioneers lead to 24-9 halfway through the first half.
Canyon Springs came out of the gates quickly as the Pioneers built a 16-2 advantage over Redondo Union in the first four minutes of play and never looked back.
“We talked about having a fast start,” Branham said. “That’s one of the things we preach to the kids — that we have to come out of the gates early and put pressure on a team to get back on defense.”
The Pioneers led by as many as 18 points in the first half as they took a 40-26 lead into the halftime intermission.
Canyon Springs continued to build its lead in the second half, as the Pioneers were the beneficiary of a balanced scoring attack.
The Pioneers built their largest lead of the game of 30 points at 77-47 before the Sea Hawks of Redondo Union fought back with the last six points of the game.
Canyon Springs held a double-digit lead almost the entire game. The comfortable lead allowed Branham to rest his starters in the second half to avoid fatigue for Wednesday’s championship game.
The Pioneers will put their undefeated record on the line against the winner of the Melbourne-Salpointe Catholic (Ariz.) matchup in the championship game at 7:40 p.m. Wednesday at Foothill High School.