Foothills Christian will travel to Santa Margarita High School Thursday at 6:00 p.m.
Story and photos by Liz Alper
February 26, 2019 (Spring Valley) - Foothills Christian boys basketball has trekked through the CIF San Diego Section playoffs and now, it’s time for the state playoffs. The Knights are the #5 seed in the SoCal Division 1 Regional. Tonight, they faced the Conquistadors of El Camino Real from Woodland Hills at neutral Mount Miguel High School.
After Foothills senior Derrick Carter-Hollinger put on a scoring clinic to open the game, including a steal followed by a monster dunk to open the scoring, the Knights couldn’t contain ECR senior Jahville Collins, who got hot just at the right time for the Conquistadors, and senior Tyrese Willis, who nailed back-to-backs threes at the end of the quarter to tie the score at 20 going into the second.
Willis stayed hot on the Knights’ trail in the middle frame; Foothills couldn’t get much going. The Knights got a slight lead, Willis tied it back up with a three. The Knights took to drawing fouls and getting to the line. This strategy proved effective and freshman Jaden LeBel put the cherry on top with a buzzer beating three to give the Knights a 37-32 lead at the half.
Just like he did in the first half, Carter-Hollinger opened the second half scoring with a monster one-handed alley-oop from junior Yassine Gharram. The Knights were finally able to run away from Willis and the Conquistadors and get a big lead, thanks to Gharram and his fast-break steals that turned into hoops at the other end. Willis showed up again at the end of the quarter with a three that pulled the Conquistadors within four, but Gharram countered with a high, floating three (similar to Valhalla’s Joe Avalos) and the Knights led by six, 51-45, after three.
Foothills senior Jaren Nafarrete was itching to make a three all night and to open up the fourth, he finally made it to increase the Knights’ lead. He nailed another towards the end of the game to solidify the Knights’ advancement, along with a rebound layup after Gharram missed a three. Nafarette’s hot hand (and some help from Gharram) carried the Knights through the fourth to the end of the game. The Knights win 70-56 to advance onward in the state playoffs. Nafarette finished with 13 fourth-quarter points. But as usual, Carter-Hollinger stole the show. The Montana commit scored 20 points and was 9-for-15 from the floor and 2-2 from the charity stripe.
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