Valley prep boys basketball roundup: Tulare returns to D-II final

The Fresno BeeFebruary 28, 2012 

Tulare High is back in the Central Section Division II boys basketball championship.

The second-seeded Redskins rode 33 points from William Stallworth to a 76-49 victory against No. 3 East Bakersfield in the semifinals Tuesday.

Tulare, which lost 43-33 to Clovis North in last year's final, meets top-seeded Memorial -- the Panthers beat No. 5 Garces 56-42 -- for the championship at 8 p.m. Friday at Selland Arena.

Keonta Vernon added 19 points for Tulare (28-4).

Division III

Mt. Whitney 58, Frontier 53: Will Nelson had 20 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks for the top-seeded Pioneers, who battled back from a 10-point third-quarter deficit.

Mt. Whitney (28-5) didn't take its first lead until two Alex Palomino free throws with 1:29 left. Jaz Thind had 15 points for No. 5 Frontier (18-10).

This will be the Pioneers' first trip to Selland since the facility began hosting the section championships in 2005. Mt. Whitney will face No. 6 Ridgeview, which upset No. 2 Independence, at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Division IV

Sierra 69, Chowchilla 62: Ira Bill hit a 3-pointer late in the game to put the Chieftains up by four and the second-seed made 11 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to top the No. 3 Redskins.

Jake Blunt scored 20 points, while Casey Blunt added 15, Derek Austrum 14 and Bill 12 as Sierra moves on to face top-seeded Central Valley Christian at noon Saturday for the title.

Central Valley Christian 61, Kingsburg 45: Grant Verhoeven tallied a game-high 28 points with 17 rebounds, 10 blocks and five steals to help the Cavaliers return to Selland for the second straight year.

Last season, CVC was beaten in the final 48-44 by Washington.

Division V

Fresno Christian 73, Tranquillity 34: Ryan Neufeld had 18 points, 10 rebounds and six steals to lead the top-seeded and defending division champion Eagles back to Selland, following an easy victory against the No. 4 Tigers.

Cooper Belmont also scored 18 points for Fresno Christian (23-2), which will face No. 2 Laton at 4 p.m. Friday for the title.

The Eagles will return the same starting five -- Neufeld, Belmont, Chandler Vargas, Brady Lee and Tyler Krigbaum -- that produced a 74-53 victory against Tranquillity for the 2011 title.

Laton 68, Riverdale Christian 44: The second-seeded Mustangs are back in the final for the first since 2000, as a balanced scoring effort keyed a 24-14 second-quarter scoring edge and a 29-19 halftime lead.

Colton Minter scored 24 points for Laton. Chris Romero had 18 for the No. 3 Christ Ambassadors.

Selland Madness

Central Section boys basketball finals at Selland Arena:

Division I: No. 1 Bullard vs. No. 6 Clovis West, 8 p.m. Saturday

D-II: No. 1 Memorial vs. No. 2 Tulare, 8 p.m. Friday

D-III: No. 1 Mt. Whitney vs. No. 6 Ridgeview, 4 p.m. Saturday

D-IV: No. 1 CVC vs. No. 2 Sierra, noon Saturday

D-V: No. 1 Fresno Christian vs. No. 2 Laton, 4 p.m. Friday

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