Los Angeles Preps: Ashton Robinson

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.

Inland Empire: Five things from the weekend

January, 31, 2011
1. Huge upset in the Inland Valley League on Friday night as the Moreno Valley Canyon Springs boys’ basketball team surged to a 13-point halftime lead against visiting Moreno Valley Rancho Verde and held on for a 55-50 victory. Rancho Verde came in ranked No. 4 in the Inland Empire by ESPNLA and undefeated in league play over the last two seasons. With the victory, the Cougars (13-10, 8-2) moved within a game of the Mustangs (18-4, 9-1). Rajshah Head scored 16 points and Taj Spencer had 14 for Canyon Springs.

2. Regardless of the sport, there’s usually never a dull moment when Redlands and Redlands East Valley get together. The boys’ basketball teams clashed again Thursday night and it was REV coming out on top for the second time this season, 74-62, at Redlands. Paulin Mpawe, a 6-foot-9 center for REV who’s headed to Pepperdine, had 18 points and 18 rebounds. Redlands senior guard Ashton Robinson, scored 29 points but actually lowered his scoring average to 34, which is still second best in the state. REV improved to 19-4, 5-1. The Terriers dropped to 15-6, 3-3.

3. Etiwanda came up two victories short of matching its 23-game winning streak to start the season three years ago. The Eagles were defeated Saturday night, 70-64, by Los Angeles Loyola at the Fairfax State Classic Preview, dropping their record to 21-1. Etiwanda has had some close calls this season but the Eagles actually let this one get away, building several double-digit leads before unraveling in the fourth quarter. Byron Wesley scored 30 points for Etiwanda, but only four in the fourth. The Eagles won’t have time to sulk as they travel to second-place Glendora for a key Baseline League game Tuesday.

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Inland Empire: Five things from the weekend

January, 24, 2011
1. The Rialto Eisenhower boys’ basketball team faced a short-handed Richmond Salesian team from Northern California on Saturday in a showcase held at the University of La Verne, but still couldn’t close the gap against the team that came in ranked 10th in the West Region by ESPN RISE. The game featured 13 lead changes but Salesian led when it counted and won, 57-54. The Pride played without standout sophomore Jabari Bird, a 6-5 wing who was averaging 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds. He was ruled ineligible the day before by the North Coast Section for violating CIF transfer rules. He played for Benicia as a freshman. Salesian also had to forfeit 16 victories this season.

2. Ashton Robinson of Redlands hasn’t let up on his remarkable scoring binge. He scored 43 points in an 18-point loss to Eisenhower on Tuesday, they came back with 26 in a 12-point win Thursday against Fontana Miller. His 34.4 scoring average is second-best in the state and seventh in the nation. He’s also among the Southern Section leaders in three-point shooting and free-throw shooting. Robinson’s surge in offensive production is especially noteworthy because the senior guard averaged just 8.2 points for the Terriers last season.

3. Corona Centennial point guard Michael Caffey scored 25 points Thursday night to help the Huskies holds off Eastvale Roosevelt, 59-56, in a Big VIII League game at Centennial. Among his teammates, which includes New Mexico-bound Dominique Dunning and Weber State-bound Gelaun Wheelwright, Caffey has shown the most improvement in his offensive game this season, bumping up his scoring average from 12.6 last season to 18.5. He’s also averaging 6.4 assists and 3.2 steals. Caffey has signed with Long Beach State.

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Inland Empire: Five things from the holiday break

January, 3, 2011
1. Etiwanda is off to a 14-0 start after winning the Westlake Village Oaks Christian tournament last week. The Eagles still have a ways to go to match the 23 straight they won to start the 2007-08 season. USC-bound guard Byron Wesley is playing to expectations, averaging 18.3 points. Jordan Daniels is at 12.5 and Tyler LaCour is at 11.2. The Eagles open Baseline League play Friday against visiting Rancho Cucamonga.

2. Corona Centennial certainly joined the upper-echelon of Southland boys' basketball teams with its performance last week at the Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines High School. Playing in the prestigious National Division, the Huskies won three of four games, including a 61-58 victory against Woodland Hills Taft, ranked No. 2 in the state by ESPN RISE heading into the tournament. They followed that up with a 59-51 victory against another City Section power, Westchester, in the fifth-place game.

3. Justin Gudger of Murrieta Valley was expected to be one of the top players in the Inland Empire this season, but he was better than advertised at the Holiday Classic. Playing in the Senator’s Division, the 6-foot-4 senior forward averaged 23.5 points over four games. He was especially hot over the last two, scoring 30 points on 12-for-19 shooting in a 67-62 loss to San Diego St. Augustine, then putting up 28 on 12-for-14 shooting in a 66-55 victory against North Hollywood Campbell Hall.

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