An intriguing matchup is brewing tonight in the championship game of the Covina Christmas Classic boys’ basketball tournament.
J.W. North is set to take on Damien at 8:30 p.m. at Covina High and there will be no shortage of tall talent.
North’s front court is anchored by senior Aaron Peck (6-4) and juniors Dorian Butler (6-5), Marcus Baugh (6-5) and Adrian Hughes (6-8), with sophomore point guard Deshon Taylor (6-0) running the show.
Damien (12-1) is led by 6-7 senior forward Chris Reyes, who signed with Saint Mary’s in October after also taking recruiting trips to Gonzaga, UC Santa Barbara and Boston College.
Reyes is averaging 19 points and 12.1 rebounds for the Spartans, ranked No. 1 in the Southern Section Division 3AA preseason coaches’ poll. He had 16 points and 10 rebounds in a 59-39 semifinal victory Wednesday against Northview.
North (10-2) advanced to the championship game with a 69-53 victory against tournament-host Covina. The Huskies trailed by three early in the second half and didn’t put the game away until a 10-4 run to start the fourth quarter. Butler scored 18 points and Peck had 12 for the Huskies.
North was ranked No. 7 in the Southern Section Division 2AA preseason poll.
A number of other Inland Empire teams are making deep runs in various holiday tournaments.
Etiwanda reached the semifinals of the Holiday Hardwood Classic at Oaks Christian in Westlake Village. The Eagles will meet Santa Monica tonight at 7 p.m., with the winner playing either Oaks Christian or Cleveland in Friday night's final.
Etiwanda (12-1) beat Eisenhower for the second time in a week in Wednesday’s quarterfinals, 57-48. Sophomore point guard Jordan McLaughlin led the way with 21 points.
Down south, Murrieta Valley (10-1) reached the semifinals in the Mayor’s Division at the Holiday Classic hosted by Torrey Pines High School. The Nighthawks pounded Bingham (Utah), 71-39, in Wednesday's quarterfinals. Reid Shackelford continued his impressive senior season for Murrieta Valley, scoring 23 points to lift his season average to 18.4.
The Nighthawks are scheduled to play Agua Fria (Ariz.) tonight at 7 p.m. at Rancho Bernardo High School.
Out in the Palm Springs area, Riverside King (9-2) remains unbeaten in pool play of the Classic Division at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic, beating Las Vegas (Nev.) Silverado, 78-68, on Wednesday. The Wolves resume pool-play action today at 2:30 p.m. against Crescenta Valley at Cathedral City High School.
Way up north, Montclair (12-0) beat Templeton, 68-40, at the Atascadero tournament to reach the championship game today at 2:30 p.m. against tournament host Atascadero. It will be a rematch of last season's title game, won by Montclair, 68-65.
More locally, the semifinals are set for the San Bernardino Kiwanis tournament at Arroyo Valley High. Cajon will face Summit at 6 p.m. tonight, followed by Redlands East Valley and Las Vegas (Nev.) Centennial.