High School Sports

Central Section basketball finals: Kern Valley ends Fresno Christian boys’ D-V run

Fresno Christian High’s Trevor Trevion eyes the hoop while being defended by Kern Valley’s Austin Hurley in their Central Section Division V championship game Friday at Selland Arena. Trevion and his 14th-seeded Eagles teammates fell just short of arguably the biggest upset in the history of the Selland championships, losing to the top-seeded Broncs 57-54.
Fresno Christian High’s Trevor Trevion eyes the hoop while being defended by Kern Valley’s Austin Hurley in their Central Section Division V championship game Friday at Selland Arena. Trevion and his 14th-seeded Eagles teammates fell just short of arguably the biggest upset in the history of the Selland championships, losing to the top-seeded Broncs 57-54. ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

It was a developing story unlike any other in the 12-year history of the Central Section basketball championships at Selland Arena.

There was Fresno Christian – the 14th-seeded 8-21 team, the one that went 1-9 in the West Sequoia League – leading top-seeded Kern Valley-Lake Isabella by five points in the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as nine in Friday’s Division V final.

“I had been watching them all year and no way they’re a 14 seed,” Kern Valley first-year coach Kyle Dooley would say later. “That’s an unbelievable basketball team.”

But the most unbelievable story failed to sustain itself. Kern Valley closed with a 10-2 run for a 57-54 victory.

Fresno Christian, down 56-54, turned the ball over with 8.7 seconds remaining. And then, down 57-54, the Eagles had a Tyler Breedlove 35-foot, straightaway three-point try bounce off the front of the rim.

It was dead-on, but an inch short of forcing overtime.

“It’s a really difficult loss, no question,” Fresno Christian’s Justin Houts said. “But I’m extremely proud and grateful of how my teammates played. I wouldn’t trade those guys for anyone.”

Zach Bushling launched the Broncs’ drive to the wire with a basket and finished with 17 points, Justin Gould delivered 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Austin Dilley had a jumper and drive after his own steal in the decisive run as Kern Valley improved to 21-2.

Nicholas LeBlanc made four three-pointers and had 14 points, and Houts finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds while earning his team’s Fighting Spirit Award, an honor given to each of the 20 participating teams in the five-division, two-day showcase.

Kern Valley and Fresno Christian, in addition to one more D-V boys team from the section, will each advance to Southern California Regionals on Wednesday. Seedings will be announced Sunday.

Fresno Christian, under second-year coach Jon Penberthy, hardened its game with a nonleague schedule loaded with higher-division opponents, then knocked off the Nos. 3, 6 and 10 seeds – Tranquillity, Liberty-Madera Ranchos and Strathmore to make it to Selland, where it had captured its third and fourth section titles in 2001 and ’12.

“I told my wife (Kerri, Thursday night) we worked too hard to lose by 30,” said Penberthy, a 2002 Hoover graduate. “But I also hate losing a game like that (to Kern Valley). I’m just proud the way we played. We were down 10 or so and took the lead. That’s our attitude: fight, fight, fight.”

Penberthy has only three seniors among his 14 players.

A three-year fight it’s been for High Desert teams such as Kern Valley.

When the league transferred from the Southern to the Central Section, it was on the condition that its teams travel for all section playoffs, regardless of seeding, for three years.

That resulted, for example, traveling 172 miles to Sierra and 145 to Riverdale in the quarterfinals and semis before busing another 150 to Selland.

But that agreement ends this school year.

“Oh, my gosh, our boys were getting deader and deader,” Dooley said. “Every game, you could see us losing speed. I had to tell them, ‘I know you guys are tired, but you have to dig deep.’ This is a dream come true. When I took over the program, I knew we would be good, but, man, I didn’t realize this good.”

Andy Boogaard: 559-441-6336, @beepreps

Kern Valley 57, Fresno Christian 53

Fresno Christian

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Houts

25

4-8

2-2

3-11

0

2

10

Trevino

28

2-7

3-4

2-8

4

2

8

Walker

19

3-9

3-4

2-2

2

5

9

LeBlanc

27

5-14

0-1

0-2

1

0

14

Martinez

20

1-3

0-1

1-4

3

4

2

Boyce

7

0-0

0-0

1-1

0

1

0

Christ.

19

2-4

1-1

3-7

2

2

5

Kollen.

2

0-1

0-0

1-1

0

0

0

Breedlove

13

2-6

0-0

1-1

0

0

6

Totals

160

19-52

9-13

15-42

12

16

54

Percentages: FG .365, FT .692. 3-Pointers: 7-24, .292 (Trevino 1-3, Walker 0-1, LeBlanc 4-12, Martinez 0-2, Breedlove 2-6). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocks: 2 (Houts, Walker). Turnovers: 20 (Houts 2, Trevino 6, Walker 5, LeBlanc 4, Martinez, Christopher 1, Kollenkark). Steals: 3 (Walker, Boyce, Christopher). Technical Fouls: None.

Kern Valley

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Gould

28

5-7

2-2

5-10

0

1

12

Hurley

20

2-6

1-3

4-7

0

2

5

Green

26

4-12

2-4

1-3

5

4

10

Bushling

27

5-14

6-10

2-3

3

4

17

Dilley

29

5-19

1-1

2-7

2

2

11

Chadd

7

1-2

0-0

1-1

0

0

2

Wagner

15

0-1

0-0

1-4

2

0

0

McColl.

8

0-1

0-0

0-2

1

0

0

Totals

160

22-62

12-20

16-38

13

13

57

Percentages: FG .355, FT .600. 3-Pointers: 1-16, .063 (Gould 0-1, Green 0-2, Bushling 1-6, Dilley 0-7). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocks: 1 (Hurley). Turnovers: 10 (Gould, Hurley, Green 3, Bushling, Dilley 2, Chadd, Wagner). Steals: 15 (Hurley, Green 9, Bushling, Dilley 3, Chadd). Technical Fouls: None.

Fresno Christian

10

21

12

11

54

Kern Valley

16

20

6

15

57

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