Boys basketball CIF hopes quashed in tough play

Claremont High School boys basketball played one of their best games of the season Tuesday night in Claremont, but ultimately lost to Edison  78-71, ending the Pack’s CIF hopes.

Edison came in ranked much higher than the Pack but Claremont gave them trouble from the very start. The game was scoreless for two minutes as both teams shook off the jitters,. Then matched each other, basket for basket, ending the first quarter tied at 16.

CHS took the lead as the second quarter got going but turned the ball over on three consecutive plays, which gave Edison the opportunity to catch up. From there, the Chargers developed a comfortable lead, ending the half up by double digits at 38-28.

The Chargers tried to slow the pace a bit in the third quarter, riding out the shot clock on each possession in an attempt hold their 10-point advantage to the buzzer, but the Pack put together a drive, led by junior Kyle Scalmanini, that reduced Edison’s lead to just five points at the end of third.

Edison once again extended their lead to start the fourth but, with scarcely three minutes to play, Claremont launched another drive and whittled Edison’s lead down to two. Edison took advantage of a couple of fast breaks to bring their lead back up to eight and held off further attempts by Claremont to gain an advantage.

Edison Coach Rich Boyce had high praise for the high level of competition brought by CHS.

“When you get to this stage [in the CIF tournament], everyone can play. They knocked out West Ranch, which is a tremendous team, so we knew we were in for a tough game. They are going to play hard, shoot well and be hard to defend. We’re just happy to get out of here with a win,” said Coach Boyce.

Asked if he was surprised by Claremont’s late scoring surge, Coach Boyce said he was expecting a tough second half.

“That is a very well-coached team. They’re not going to give up, they’re going to come right at you, and I told my team at the half they were going to cut this [lead] down. We just have to keep doing what we do and keep playing the way we are supposed to play,” he said.

Claremont Coach Stan Tolliver also had high praise for his team.

“I think the guys have been playing well for the last six or seven games. They have really come together at the right time. I am really happy and pleased with everything these guys have put in this season,” he said.

Coach Tolliver gave Scalmanini credit for his leadership and his big push at the end of the game.

“He’s a big-time player. He always shows up when we need him the most—we have seen that happen countless times. The future for him is just so bright here at Claremont and beyond.”

Claremont ends the season with a 6-4 league record, 21-8 overall.

—Steven Felschundneff



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