BY OBREY BROWN
For the Record Gazette
Make it three straight years.
Beaumont High School claimed its own Tip-Off Classic tournament championship, having won in 2015 and 2016 before last weekend’s win over Redlands East Valley.
Tourmament MVP C.J. Clemons, who scored 14 points, adding 12 rebounds and nine assists in Beaumont’s season-opening win over Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, had the ball in his hands during crunch time of the Cougars’ semifinals duel against Twentynine Palms last Friday night.
The Cougars were locked in a duel in their own tournament at their own gymnasium.
Their opponents were coming off a 28-4 season that included a Southern Section 3A championship and a berth in the state tournament — with plenty of players returning.
Clemons went to the hoop, made the shot, got fouled and hit the free throw as the Cougars took a four-point lead, holding on to beat a team that reached last year’s state tournament.
Beaumont prevailed, 71-70.
Sophomore Jayden Fordham’s 24 key points topped Beaumont’s scoring against Twentynine Palms. Clemons’ 23 points was part of a 15-rebound, 9-assist performance.
Fordham was picked all-tournament.
Beaumont had also beaten Barstow, 66-61, in its climb into the Beaumont Tip-Off Classic finals against Redlands East Valley last Saturday night. In the championship, Beaumont’s 68-53 win over REV — a highly successful program over the past several seasons — nailed down their third straight title, including REV twice.
The games seemed to get tougher as the tournament played itself out.
REV beat Banning, Menifee Paloma Valley and Riverside Martin Luther King before squaring up against the Cougars in the finals.
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Banning dropped all four games at the Beaumont tournament, losing to REV, Temecula Chaparral and twice to Indio.
UC Riverside’s Ryker Pierce, who hadn’t hit a single shot against visiting Univ. Pacific, double-clutched as time was running out and his team trailing by two points. Pierce launched a three-point attempt that rimmed off in a 57-55 loss to the Tigers, who are coached by onetime NBA all-star Damon Stoudamire.
UCR nearly wrestled this non-conference game away from its visitors.
At one point, Pacific had led 27-11, but UCR’s team defense — five of its eight steals coming from sophomore Dykembe Martin —started pulling the Highlanders (2-4) back into contention.
Pacific’s defense was topped by 7-foot Namdi Okonkwo, who had five blocked shots. One of his blocks came against UCR’s 7-footer, Menno Dijkstra, who buried a 21-footer for three points that pulled UCR to within 56-53.
Seconds later, Dijkstra set up to launch a possible game-tying 3-pointer from the left corner. Okonkwo lunged out, blocked the shot and Pacific (4-4) held on to win as Pierce’s potential game-winner missed the mark.
A few days earlier, UCR was beaten at Michigan by 45 points.
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Mt. San Jacinto College opened fire in the first two rounds of its own tournament last week – nipping Santiago Canyon College-Orange by three points and edging Copper Mountain College-Joshua Tree by one.
In the championship game against Chaffey College, however, the Panthers laid a 70-55 defeat over the host school, dropping the Eagles to 5-7.
Against Copper Mountain, Davon Sanders hit a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left while that was matched by CMC’s Jaleel Simmons three ticks later.
MSJ held off CMC in the final seconds to win.
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Cal State San Bernardino dropped back-to-back games – 77-71 at second place UC San Diego and 83-64 to third place Chico State — last week. The Coyotes, 3-5 overall, will play Cal State Los Angeles (6-3, 2-2) and first place Cal Poly Pomona (6-1, 3-0) next week.
In the 13-team California Collegiate Athletic Association, the Coyotes sit in 12th place after a 1-3 start in conference play.
Girls prep basketball
One day before opening its 2017-2018 season at Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon, Beaumont coach Pete Carr motioned to at least two Lady Cougars who won’t be playing for awhile.
Both Janesso Pilao and Alyssa Contreras are both injured.
One was on crutches. The other wore a knee brace. Carr seemed beaten by those facts. “I hate to see kids hurting,” he said.
The injuries have forced Carr into position changes he’d rather not make, since it forces players out of position.
Against Temescal Canyon (22-6, Sunbelt League runners-up last season), the remaining players couldn’t keep up with the Lady Titans in a 61-38 loss. Last season, Beaumont was 17-9, taking third place in the Mountain Pass League team.
Southern California’s second-ranked Mt. San Jacinto College has lost just once in the early stages of the 2017-2018 season — a three-point setback to Pacific Coast Athletic Conference rival Palomar earlier this season.
That loss came at the Lion’s Club Tip-Off, an MSJ-hosted event, which means Palomar and the Lady Eagles still have a pair of regular season duels lying ahead: Jan. 17 at MSJ and a Feb. 2 trip to the San Marcos campus.
Meanwhile, MSJ swept through the Panther Pride Tournament at Chaffey College, beating NorCal No. 15 Skyline, So Cal No. 11 L.A. Trade Tech and host Chaffey, 68-52, in the finals.
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A win at Stanislaus State, losses to Humboldt State and UC San Diego, was balanced by a 60-45 win over visiting Chico State last weekend for Cal State San Bernardino — 4-3 overall.
Kaitlyn Parks’ 16, Ariana Knox’s 14: the two combining on 19 rebounds, with Genaya Wilkinson adding 10 rebounds and five blocked shots led Cal State’s attack.