On senior night at California Tuesday, the Trojans earned the outright Section 5 AA title by drubbing Beth-Center, 83-44.
It is California's first section championship since the 2007-2008 season.
The game started out tight, with the teams tied at 6-6 with 3:45 remaining in the first period. The Trojans (18-2, 13-0) went on a 15-0 run to finish the quarter up 21-6. Senior Jared Marinos led the Trojans with nine points in the quarter, all on 3-pointers. Marinos would finish the game with 12 points.
California coach Phil Pergola went with his seniors exclusively in the first quarter.
“I think they are a special group of kids, those seniors,” Pergola said. “Three of them have been with me since I moved up here (1,000-point scorers Brian Fisher and Tanner Huffman, along with Evan Patterson) when they were going into the fourth grade.”
All six seniors scored in the game. The other two are Mike McKula and Kyle Newman.
The Trojans opened the second quarter with an 8-2 run to push the lead to 29-8. Beth-Center (9-10, 5-7) kept pace for the rest of the quarter, going into halftime down 40-18.
California's Fisher and Huffman paced a third-quarter run, pushing the lead to 57-30 going into the fourth. Fisher ended the game with 24 points and Huffman added 16.
With 3:18 left in the game and the Trojans up 69-39, Fisher and Huffman saw their last action on the California hardwood.
Pergola knew the section championship was assured.
“I think the kids worked hard all year to get to where they are,” he said. “Now, you'd like to finish up with a victory on Friday (against Charleroi).”
Beth-Center had two players in double figures, Dean Holt with 15 and Cody Durant with 14.
Naz Victoria is a freelance writer.
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