LA North: Oaks Christian 66, Buckley 48

March, 5, 2011
3/05/11
11:40
AM PT
ANAHEIM -- Blair Holliday looked toward his Westlake Village Oaks Christian High teammates during the first half of Saturday's Southern Section boys' basketball championship game and put three fingers in the air after another one of his 3-pointers found nothing but the bottom of the net.

The senior guard, as they say, was feeling it.

At times, it seemed as if he could not miss.

Holliday connected on four three-pointers in first quarter alone against Sherman Oaks Buckley, had five from beyond the arc by halftime and finished with career-high 26 points for the Lions in a 66-48 Division 4A victory at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“Blair was pretty average today,'' Oaks Christian coach Andre Chevalier jokingly said. “He led us to a title today, he stepped when we needed him the most.''

The fact Holliday played particularly well might come as a surprise to some considering he is thought to be a football players first, which best explains his gridiron scholarship to play at Duke next year.

Nevertheless, he scored 12 points in the first quarter to help top-seeded Oaks Christian (24-7) take a 11-point lead. Holliday scored seven straight points in the second quarter and the Lions ended up taking a 32-11 lead at the break.

“During warm-ups, I wasn't hitting my shots, I was a little worried,'' Holliday said. “After my first shot went in, then the second, I started feeling good. I play my best, I think, on the big stage.''

Sixth-seeded Buckley (22-5) struggled throughout, especially in the first half. The Griffins did not reach double digits until Ryan Levy scored with 1:41 remaining in the first half to cut the deficit to 19 points.

Holliday got things going after intermission, of course. He hit a three-pointer to open the second half and added a breakaway dunk minutes later. Before the Griffins knew it, they trailed 43-27 at the end of third quarter.

Try as it might in the fourth quarter, Buckley was never able to mount a rally down the stretch. Matters certainly were not helped by the fact that one of the Griffins top scores, Nick De Bonfilhs, was held to one point in 22 minutes.

Ultimately, Holliday proved to be too much to handle. He also added five rebounds, five assists and three steals.

“Blair did a good job of coming off screens and hitting some big shots for them, and at some point, there's not much you can do,'' Buckley coach Mike Hamilton said. “We did a good job of stopping everyone else, but not Holliday.''

Dillon van der Wal had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Lions. Teammate Chass Bryan scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half.

Tyler Coppin-Carter scored 22 points and added eight rebounds for Buckley.

Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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