Los Angeles Preps: Antonio Worthy

Inland Empire: Boys' basketball second-round primer

February, 17, 2011
When the second round of the Southern Section boys’ basketball playoffs begins Friday night, a number of Inland Empire teams face interesting matchups. Here’s a closer look:

Long distance award – Palm Springs is seeded second in Division 3AA, but the Indians won’t get a break, traveling nearly 300 miles to play at Arroyo Grande.

Haven’t we met before? – Victorville Victor Valley hosts Villa Park in Division 2AA, a compelling rematch from earlier this season, when the eighth-seeded Jackrabbits rallied from 13 points down with four minutes remaining and beat ninth-seeded Villa Park, 75-73, at Villa Park.

Act II -- Elsinore, the second-seeded team in Division 2A, travels to Riverside North for another regular-season rematch. The Tigers defeated North, 67-60, on Dec. 30 in the championship game of the Paloma Valley Shootout.

Act III -- Redlands East Valley will host San Bernardino Cajon in Division 1A. These teams met Dec. 29 in a semifinal of the Kiwanis tournament and REV came away with 47-45 victory after the Cowboys missed the front end of three one-and-one free-throw situations down the stretch.

Not you again – Moreno Valley Rancho Verde will travel to Mater Dei for a Division 1AA game against the second-seeded Monarchs. The Mustangs lost to Mater Dei twice in the postseason a year ago, 94-58, in the section semifinals and 80-48 in the second round of the Southern California Regionals.

Power couple – Get ready for an interesting matchup between big men in Division 1AA. Eastvale Roosevelt and 6-8 senior forward Shannon Fowler will take on Montebello and 6-11 senior center Antonio Worthy. Roosevelt is seeded 10th and the Oilers are No. 8.

Underdog vs. underdog – Moreno Valley Vista del Lago will host Lancaster Eastside in Division 2A. Both teams should feel fortunate just to be lacing their sneakers one more time. Eastside upset fourth-seeded Glendora, 72-65, in overtime. Vista del Lago got past 13th-seeded Garden Grove, 59-47.

Bad memories – Fontana Summit will travel to Huntington Beach in Division 2AA. The last time the SkyHawks played in Orange County they lost two years ago to Anaheim Loara, 68-66, in a Division 2A second-round game. That marked the first time Loara had ever advanced to the quarterfinals in the program’s 47-year history.

MONTEBELLO -- The game was billed as the high-scoring guard against the imposing big man. Few expected they'd end up on the same team by the end of the night.

The best scorer on the floor Wednesday turned out to be Montebello sharpshooter John-Michael Carabes, who scored a career-high 36 points in a 72-48 victory against visiting Redlands in a Southern Section Division 1AA first-round game.

"I just felt it today," said Carabes, a 6-foot senior guard. "I took it as if it was going to be my last game and I didn't want it to be."

Along with his defense on Redlands guard Ashton Robinson, who came in with the second-highest scoring average in the state, Carabes formed an dangerous duo with 6-foot-11, 275-pound teammate Antonio Worthy, who finished with 13 points, a career-high 21 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Robinson, meanwhile, who came in averaging 34.1 points, was limited to 15 on five-for-30 shooting from the floor. Carabes was the primary defender on Robinson but had plenty of help.

"Sometimes I'd get tired and he'd beat me," Carabes said. "Luckily, we have Antonio there."

The eighth-seeded Oilers (26-3) led by nine at the half after holding Robinson to five points. They scored the first 10 points of the second half as frustration began to set in for Redlands and Robinson began forcing shots.

"Our plan was to over-help on him and force him to get rid of the ball and see if somebody else can beat us," said Montebello coach Marino Angulo. "He tried early on to pass the ball. He got frustrated because he wasn't scoring very much and I think he pressed the issue."

Rocky Caro, who also scored 15 points for the Terriers, cut the deficit to 11 with a three-point basket early in the fourth quarter but Montebello followed with back-to-back threes of its own to end the comeback.

"We just didn’t play hard enough," Robinson said. "They wanted it more."

Montebello must now head inland for the second round Friday, playing on the road against the winner of Perris and 10th-seeded Eastvale Roosevelt. Worthy said the Oilers won’t be satisfied with anything less than another victory.

"We’re not going to be one and done, or two and done," Worthy said.