There were dozens of memorable performances during the 2019-2020 high school boys basketball season in Southern California and Scorebook Live’s Connor Morrissette was fortunate to witness many of them.
Here’s a look back at the top 15 individual performances Morrissette covered in LA City and Southern Section basketball:
15. D’Anthony Ward vs. Taft – (Nov. 20)
In Washingon Prep’s second game of the season, Ward scored 29 points in a 72-70 loss to Taft. After not playing high school basketball the year before, Ward, a senior, immediately raised his stock with this performance. He went on to be named Scorebook Live California’s Newcomer of the Year in the LA City Section.
14. Koat Keat vs. Hart – (Dec. 20)
Renaissance Academy’s Koat Keat scored 34 points and was very active on the defensive end in the Wildcats’ 81-62 win over . The sophomore dominated during the early part of the 2019-2020 season and this game was part of that stretch.
13. Josh Christopher vs. Birmingham – (Jan. 25)
Christopher scored a game-high 39 points in Mayfair’s 83-80 loss to Birmingham in the Rolling Hills Prep State Preview Classic. He threw down two huge dunks and showed why he is one of the top 2020 basketball recruits in the country.
12. Malik Thomas vs. Windward – Classic At Damien Platinum Division consolation game (Dec. 28)
Windward beat Damien 73-70 in this one, but Thomas kept the Spartans in the game with his 36 points. When the rest of his team looked a little off, Thomas bailed Damien out. Without him, this game would not have been close.
11. Dylan Andrews vs. Heritage Christian – (Jan. 18)
In a battle of two exceptional sophomore point guards, Andrews scored 28 points to lead Windward to a 73-70 overtime victory against Heritage Christian and Skyy Clark.
10. Justin Williams vs. Bishop Montgomery – Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals (Feb. 18)
Here’s my writeup from Williams’ performance in JSerra’s 61-59 win over Bishop Montgomery:
“Justin was unbelievable defensively,” JSerra head coach Keith Wilkinson said. “He hit the two big free throws and really carried us when Ian [Martinez] struggled a little bit in that third quarter. That kid didn’t want his season to end. He willed us to that win.”
Williams played calm, cool and collected all night long. He hit two free throws with 34 seconds left in the game to put the Lions ahead 60-59. When JSerra trailed 56-53 with 2:43 to play, Williams picked Jalen Vazquez’s pocket, got fouled on his layup attempt and made the two free throws. His work on both ends of the floor was critical.
Williams finished the game with 21 points.
9. Jaylen Clark vs. Sierra Canyon – Southern Section Open Division playoffs (Feb. 21)
Even though Etiwanda came up short (they lost 73-62), Jaylen Clark played phenomenally for the Eagles. The senior led all scorers with 32 points. He got to the rim at will that night.
When playing against Sierra Canyon it’s tough to be the best player on the floor because the Trailblazers are so stacked. Clark took home that honor in this one.
8. Ian Martinez vs. St. John Bosco – (Jan. 10)
Martinez scored 29 points and had the game-winning assist in JSerra’s 55-54 win over St. John Bosco. He was the best player on the court by a wide margin that night.
7. Justin Gladney vs. Westchester – (Jan. 29)
Gladney etched his name into Fairfax vs. Westchester lore by leading the Lions to an 18-point comeback victory over rival Westchester. He finished with 16 points and made multiple defensive plays in the 65-57 win.
Westchester got the last laugh this season though when they beat Fairfax in the LA City Section Open Division title game.
6. BJ Boston vs. Etiwanda – Classic At Damien Platinum Division semifinal (Dec. 28)
The Sierra Canyon senior scored 31 points to lead the Trailblazers to a 57-53 win over Etiwanda, their first of three wins over the Eagles on the year. He was clutch down the stretch in a game where he needed to be; this was the game before Ziaire Williams became eligible for the Trailblazers.
5. BJ Boston vs. Rancho Christian – (Jan. 11)
Boston gets the five spot as well. He scored 30 points to lead Sierra Canyon to a 78-62 win over Rancho Christian just two weeks after the Eagles beat the Trailblazers in the Classic At Damien title game. Boston showed his range in this game, hitting multiple threes from well beyond the arc.
4. Ziaire Williams vs. Etiwanda – CIF State Southern Regional championship game (March 10)
This wasn’t Williams best game for Sierra Canyon, but it was the best possible finish to a high school basketball career, so it makes the list. Williams hit a foul line jump shot as time expired to beat Etiwanda in the CIF State Southern Regional championship. The Trailblazers won 63-61 and Williams finished with 17 points.
3. Dominick Harris vs. Sierra Canyon – Classic At Damien Platinum Division title game (Dec. 30)
Harris scored 30 points to lead Rancho Christian to an 85-81 overtime win over Sierra Canyon in the Classic At Damien Platinum Division title game. Rancho Christian was the lone team from California to beat Sierra Canyon this season.
2. KJ Simpson vs. St. Francis – Mission League Tournament semifinal (Feb. 5)
Simpson scored a career high 41 points in this game, an 83-78 win for Chaminade. He was brilliant.
“That’s the best game mentally I’ve ever had,” Simpson said. “I was really focused nothing seemed to distract me, nothing got in my way.”
He scored 10 points in the second quarter, 14 in the third and 13 in the fourth. He dominated.
1. Ty Harper vs. Heritage Christian – Classic At Damien Gold Division quarterfinal (Dec. 27)
Twice Heritage Christian thought they had beaten Santa Clarita Christian and twice Ty Harper hit clutch shots to keep the Cardinals alive. This was one of the only games this season where I left with my mouth agape in shock. Santa Clarita Christian won 80-77 in double overtime.
Harper finished with 32 points in this game, all of which came in the second half. Santa Clarita Christian trailed 28-18 at halftime and they were playing without starting center Kaleb Lowery. Harper’s brilliance willed them to the win.