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HomeNewsState Basketball: Pacifica Christian falls in Division II men's final

State Basketball: Pacifica Christian falls in Division II men’s final


With their fate on the line and a one-point lead, the Newport Beach Pacifica Christian High coaches stepped aside during a timeout and let emotional frontman EJ Spillman vent.

They were playing Fresno’s San Joaquin Memorial for two quarters Saturday in the Division V men’s basketball state championship game at the Golden 1 Center. But even in the second quarter, it was clear that the 6-foot-7 Panthers senior Mike Davis Jr. would be a confusing problem, as no one on Pacifica’s roster had enough volume to hit him in the paint.

Then Spillman, barely a sophomore, faced off against his Pacifica classmates.

“All of you, let’s get over it!” Spillman yelled. “We can’t let the No. 5 outrun our entire team.”

But he got past them hard, Davis helping Memorial pull away early in the fourth quarter with a difficult backfield basket. Pacifica Christian couldn’t find an inch of space inside as Memorial drove into a zone in the first half, daring the Tritons to shoot, and his jumpers rang off the rim the rest of the way in a 58-47 loss.

Davis finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Panthers. Spillman scored 11 for Pacifica Christian, but shot 3-for-13. Northwestern’s engagement Parker Strauss added 11 on 3-for-11 shooting.

Strauss got emotional afterwards, having come back during the playoffs after being sidelined with injury, repeatedly diving and laying everything on the court trying to spark a comeback.

The loss ended a special brotherhood on full display, with Pacifica Christian’s teammates linking arms throughout the media room.

“The most important guy in the room is who?” asked coach Jeff Berokoff.

“The boy next to you,” the mermen replied, without a second’s hesitation.

“That is special, and that is something I will never forget. … I’m so sorry we couldn’t do it,” Berokoff said, his voice shaking. “I wanted it so much for them. I love this group”.

V Division Girls

Angels Camp Bret Harte 62, Huntington Beach Marina 39: With a population of less than 4,000, the town of Angels Camp is known for its jumping frog competition. Many turned out for the state championship game Saturday morning at the Golden 1 Center to celebrate the city’s most famous teen: three-sports star Aariah Fox.

Fox helped deliver a state championship to the Bullfrogs (26-7), scoring 22 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, dishing out four assists and collecting five steals.

“That was great,” Fox said of the crowd’s support. “That was literally the entire city here.”

Fox had 230 spikes during the volleyball season and showed off her versatility and speed off the court Saturday by running up and down the court like it was practice. She said that she hasn’t decided whether to pursue volleyball or basketball in college. And there’s always a track season ahead.

Marina (21-16) got a big performance from freshman guard Rylee Bradley, who scored a game-high 23 points.

“I was a little nervous because I had never actually played in an arena,” Bradley said. “But I feel like I adjusted to the situation and played better in the second half.”

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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