Los Angeles Preps: Emerson Castaneda
January, 26, 2012
By Tim Haddock | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE – Crespi is finding out how important Michael Milligan Jr. is to its basketball team.
St. Francis found an offensive weapon in Tei Vanderford that might prove valuable as the season unfolds.
Vanderford scored a career-high 24 points to lead St. Francis to a 66-52 win over Crespi, the No. 6 team in the ESPN Los Angeles basketball rankings, at St. Francis High School on Wednesday night.
“He’s a baseball player first. He did not play varsity basketball last year,” St. Francis co-coach Ray O’Brien said. “He’s just a great athlete that’s great under pressure. He’s gotten better every game. He’s learned our system.”
It was the third loss in a row for Crespi, playing without Milligan, the team’s 6-feet-4 forward. He has missed the past two games with a concussion, but coach Russell White said he expects Milligan to return for Crespi’s game against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame on Friday.
When asked if playing without Milligan makes that much of a difference, White said simply, “Apparently.”
“I didn’t know he was,” White said. “The proof is in the pudding.”