NORWALK– It took four quarters to pull away, but Rancho Christian defeated Ribet Academy 75-56 in the primetime game of the SoCal Finale at Cerritos College.
Evan Mobley led both teams with 19 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Dominick Harris had 17 points, and Bryson Stephens and Luke Turner both chipped in ten. Tre White and Barrington Hargress led Ribet Academy with 15 points each, and Tyler Powell had ten as well. Here are three observations from the game.
It’s time for a few days off before the Southern Section playoffs start, and both of these teams–all teams–could really use it with the regular season finished. While it was only slightly noticeable, tired legs were on display in this one.
A lot of jumpers were flat or missed short, a lot of makeable shots inside were missed with a lack of elevation, and both teams were seriously winded down the stretch. Neither team was playing lazy, but there was a touch of flatness that looked as simple as February fatigue.
RIBET BATTLING THE ODDS
Given the circumstances, Ribet Academy did an outstanding job keeping this game to single-digits until well into the fourth quarter. They looked more physically flat than Rancho to start the game, and created a lot of good looks in the first half without finishing the plays.
They really needed to shoot the heck out of the ball to pull out a win, largely because Rancho makes them look small. With Evan Mobley towering over everybody on Ribet Academy and more good size on the wings and at the forward spots for Rancho with the likes of Luke Turner, Jaden Simpson, and Dominick Harris, it was actually a testament to the Fighting Frogs’ toughness that they somehow kept the game within striking distance for 3.5 quarters. They had to play physical, box out bigger players, avoid turnovers, and play outstanding perimeter defense to make it as far as they did.
MOBLEY AGGRESSIVE IN POINT CENTER ROLE
Everybody knows that Evan Mobley has a combination of agility, ball-handling, and court vision/passing that has very nearly never been seen in a seven-footer before, particularly at the high school level. Some days he pushes the ball in the open floor much more than others, and this was one of those days.
Not only did he dominate the paint on the glass and on defense, but also he was putting his ability to push the ball on full display. Mobley led the game in not only points but also assists, and forced the defense to continually readjust every time he took a rebound across the court in just a couple of seconds (and strides) while keeping his head up.