Las Vegas Sun

November 21, 2017

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Canyon Springs spanks Valley in Northeast Division showdown

Michael Thompson and Jared Brandon score 55 points of the Pioneers’ 93 points


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Canyon Springs basketball players Jared Brandon and D.J. Anderson.

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Michael Thompson couldn’t lose track of where Canyon Springs teammate Jared Brandon was on the floor even if he wanted to.

At this point, it’s become second nature. Thompson and Brandon have developed a feel for each other that few can match after playing hundreds of games together over the course of many years.

Valley knows about it all too well after Tuesday night. Thompson and Brandon, both seniors, led Canyon Springs to a 93-73 home beat down against the team that’s supposed to cause it the most problems in the Northeast division.

“We’ve been playing together since we were young kids,” Thompson said. “It’s a great feeling playing with him, knowing where he’s at and us just looking out for each other.”

Thompson had 21 points with eight rebounds, while Brandon scored 24 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Both players added a handful of assists, mostly to each other.

The prettiest came during the Pioneers’ run to pull away from the Vikings in the third quarter. Thompson dove at a loose ball going out of bounds, managed to get a hand on it and threw it behind his back to Brandon under the basket.

“I was just trying to hustle and get my team the ball so we could keep the tempo going,” Thompson said.

Brandon converted on a three-point play after laying it in and getting fouled. It directly followed another three-point play from Brandon and a three-pointer from Thompson to open the third quarter.

Suddenly, a closely contested game that was 45-39 at halftime became a 72-53 romp at the end of the third quarter.

“We felt we gave up too many points in the first half,” Canyon Springs coach Daryl Branham said. “So we talked to them about playing better defense in the second half and that’s what showed.”

Canyon Springs senior forward Chris Willis helped shut down Valley’s inside scoring opportunities late in the game. He also had nine points and nine rebounds.

But it was Brandon who often led the defensive charge, blocking four shots and coming up with a couple steals.

“This year, he’s really coming out,” Branham said. “I’ve told everyone I think he’s the biggest sleeper in town.”

Trey Evans scored 13 points for the Pioneers and Donald Anderson added 12. The Pioneers were able to overcome a balanced night from the Vikings.

Five players — Johnny Arbeleaz, Christian Kessee, Angelo Coleman, Jarrett Coleman and Royce Finley — scored nine points or more. But no one had more than 12.

With the win, Canyon Springs kept its top spot in the division standings and improved to 16-1 on the year.

“I love where we are,” Thompson said. “We are playing together with heart and intensity. We’ve just got to keep the streak going and hopefully play for the state championship.”

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

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