Roger Wilson, leading a Lemoore High School fast break on seven-game Super Saturday at Edison, didn’t turn to see Jaylunn English because he didn’t have to.
“He’s always running with me down the court,” Wilson said. “And every time he does, we say, ‘Showtime.’ ”
It was, indeed, as Wilson purposely tossed the ball off the backboard, English caught it in stride and flushed it with a thunderous dunk in the third quarter as the fourth-ranked Tigers roared to a 79-64 win over Roosevelt.
A minute after the slam, English made a three-pointer from the right elbow. And, at that point, the 6-foot-7 senior had outscored Fresno State-bound center Bryson Williams 28-18 with Lemoore leading 68-45.
Williams, a 6-8 senior, was typically powerful with 33 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. Despite the score, his will was never broken, evident by his 15 points in the final 3:30.
Lemoore center Jaylunn English contributed 30 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks while going head-to-head against Roosevelt’s Bryson Williams
But on this day, the player of the game – especially when it mattered – was English, who finished with 30 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks while continually challenging Williams at the basket.
“I’ve thought Jaylunn has been the best 6-7, 6-8 guy in the Valley since before the summer,” Tigers coach Joel Sligh said. “Quite honestly, I think he’s stolen that title from the other big men.”
English had plenty of help as Lemoore (16-2) displayed excellent ball distribution, active-handed defense and depth while making yet another statement as not only a Central Section Division II contender but for the division overall.
“We’ll win it,” said English, who said he’ll begin his post-prep career at an undetermined community college.
With No. 1 Ridgeview, No. 6 and defending champion Hanford and No. 10 Hanford West among The Fresno Bee’s overall Top 10, and several other powers such as Memorial, Mission Oak, Independence and Fresno present, a convincing argument can be made that D-II is superior to D-I this season.
As the most glaring testament to D-II’s dominance, Ridgeview (17-0) went on the road and defeated No. 8 Centennial (67-59) and No. 3 Central (80-59) of D-I last week.
Lemoore is two wins from sweeping the section’s preeminent league, the D-I Tri-River Athletic Conference, having beaten Clovis (65-39), Buchanan (66-38), Clovis East (78-65) and Clovis North (72-64). The Tigers have not played Central and Clovis West from that league.
I saw Ridgeview beat Central, and I think we could beat Central also. D-II is a very deep, very tough division. When you talk about Ridgeview, Mission Oak, Hanford and the others, they are all very talented.
Coach Joel Sligh of D-II Lemoore
“I saw Ridgeview beat Central, and I think we could beat Central also,” Sligh said. “D-II is a very deep, very tough division. When you talk about Ridgeview, Mission Oak, Hanford and the others, they are all very talented.”
The Tigers, who will play at Hanford in a West Yosemite League showdown Friday, routinely disrupted Roosevelt’s flow behind the backcourt defense of guards Wilson, Reggie Davis and Allen Perryman, each of whom contributed prominently to the school’s 10-3 football team, which won the WYL at 6-0 and placed second in D-II to Ridgeview.
And senior forward Matt Borba, in a wire-to-wire picture of hustle, scored 17 points for Lemoore, which arrived without key players Jerald Campbell (at Nebraska on a football visit) and Spencer Stinger (school formal).
Stephen Perry, a freshman coming off a game in which he made seven three-pointers in a 101-43 win over Reedley, made four more from long distance while scoring 14 for D-III Roosevelt of the North Yosemite League.
Central Section basketball rankings
(Records through Friday, Jan. 15)
- 1. Ridgeview (17-0)
- 2. Clovis West (13-3)
- 3. Lemoore (15-2)
- 4. Immanuel (10-5)
- 5. Central (12-2)
- 6. Clovis East (13-5)
- 7. Hanford (11-5)
- 8. Centennial (9-10)
- 9. Clovis North (11-6)
- 10. Hanford West (16-5)
- Division I: 1. Clovis West. 2. Central. 3. Clovis East
- Division II: 1. Ridgeview. 2. Lemoore. 3. Hanford
- Division III: 1. Selma (15-4). 2. Porterville (15-3). Roosevelt (14-4)
- Division IV: 1. Immanuel. 2. Granite Hills (15-2). 3. Madera South (13-4)
- Division V: 1. Caruthers (10-4). 2. Tranquillity (13-5). 3. Kern Valley (9-2)
(Records through Friday, Jan. 15)
- 1. Clovis West (15-3)
- 2. Edison (16-3)
- 3. Clovis (13-7)
- 4. Hanford (12-5)
- 5. Independence (10-5)
- 6. Redwood (15-4)
- 7. Ridgeview (14-4)
- 8. Mission Oak (13-4)
- 9. Orosi (11-4)
- 10. Central (14-4)
- Division I: 1. Clovis West. 2. Edison. 3. Clovis
- Division II: 1. Independence. 2. Redwood. 3. Lemoore (10-5)
- Division III: 1. Mission Oak. 2. Exeter (14-4). 3. Fresno (11-4)
- Division IV: 1. Orosi. 2. Kingsburg (15-4). 3. Sierra Pacific (11-4)
- Division V: 1. Memorial (10-3). 2. Caruthers (8-6). 3. Minarets (6-3)