All the key parts for Fresno Christian High's boys basketball team returned to Selland Arena late Friday afternoon.
And, oh, how it was evident.
A year after routing Tranquillity 73-54 for the Central Section Division V title, the top-seeded Eagles were in an obvious comfort zone while delivering a repeat performance -- only against No. 2 Laton -- in a 60-40 decision that removed all doubt early.
"The whole experience of being here last year, it definitely helped," Ryan Neufeld said after contributing 12 points, 13 rebounds and three steals for Fresno Christian (24-2).
Brady Lee (14 points, seven rebounds, six assists) and Cooper Belmont (12 points, six rebounds, three steals) -- like Neufeld, impact players in the 2011 final -- balanced the attack in an all-senior starting lineup.
"Awesome group, and I've been around most of them since fifth grade," said coach Josh Justin, whose Eagles will return to their home gym Wednesday for a Southern California Regional game.
The Eagles' opponent will be determined Sunday morning in state pairings that will be determined in the Southern Section office.
Each section boys and girls champion will host a regional opener while the runners-up will also play, likely on the road. In addition, all section boys and girls semifinalists in Divisions III and IV will also play regional games, if interested.
Christian Pilgrim and Colton Minter scored 12 and 10 points for Laton (15-14), whose four section boys basketball titles range from 1955 to 2000.
But the East Sierra League public school with 185 students arrived a bit wide-eyed and far less experienced than the private Eagles of the West Sequoia.
It was 17-6 Fresno Christian after one quarter and never a contest thereafter.
"It was a lot easier to come out strong because we were here before," said Belmont, who combined with Lee and Neufeld for 52 points and 22 rebounds in last year's final.
"Knowing the arena and court, knowing what it feels like, helped a lot," added Belmont, son of former Hoover baseball star Phil Belmont (1978).
"Our younger guys were a little nervous, and that's a natural thing," said Laton coach Rick Alves, who started two seniors. "That's a real good Fresno Christian team; you've got to give them credit."
Central Section boys and girls basketball championships at Selland Arena:
D-IV girls: No. 2 Memorial (13-17) vs. No. 4 Lindsay (20-8), 10 a.m.
D-IV boys: No. 1 Central Valley Christian (26-2) vs. No. 2 Sierra (24-5), noon
D-III girls: No. 1 Ridgeview (24-6) vs. No. 2 Independence (25-5), 2 p.m.
D-III boys: No. 1 Mt. Whitney (28-5) vs. No. 6 Ridgeview (19-8), 4 p.m.
D-I girls: No. 1 Stockdale (26-3) vs. No. 2 Hanford (23-4), 6 p.m.
D-I boys: No. 1 Bullard (28-3) vs. No. 6 Clovis West (21-5), 8 p.m.
D-II boys: No. 1 Memorial 52, No. 2 Tulare 42
D-II girls: No. 1 Monache 79, No. 3 Redwood 50
D-V boys: No. 1 Fresno Christian 60, No. 2 Laton 40
D-V girls: No. 3 CVC 51, No. 1 Kings Christian 35
Go to fresnobee.com/picturethis to see a gallery from the day's action.