Ramsey Huff, the most unsung player on a Corona Centennial team that has looked unbeatable over the last month, started Tuesday’s Southern California Open Division regional final against Chatsworth Sierra Canyon with a three-pointer. Before the half ended, he had made four threes and drove past two McDonald’s All-Americans, Amari Bailey and Kijani Wright, for a layup as UCLA coach Mick Cronin looked on from the baseline probably wondering, “Who is that guy?”
“He’s been absolutely amazing all year,” Centennial coach Josh Giles said of the 6-foot-1 senior guard. “You can make the argument he’s been our most valuable player at times.”
Sierra Canyon left him open way too many times, and Huff made the Trailblazers pay. He finished with 20 points and all five starters reached double figures in Centennial’s 83-59 victory to earn the Huskies a trip to Saturday’s state championship game at Golden1 Center in Sacramento.
For the last month, Centennial (32-1) has been unstoppable. No opponent has come closer than 20 points.
“This is just an unbelievable group,” Giles said. “Everything about them – they’re a coach’s dream.”
The reason Huff might be overlooked is that Centennial already has the best guard duo in Donovan Dent and Jared McCain.
Dent was creating his usual problems with his ability to penetrate into the key or dish to a teammate. His lob to Aaron McBride, resulting in a dunk, gave the Huskies a 32-20 lead halfway through the second quarter.
And it was 38-24 at halftime after Huff’s layup.
Devin Williams finished with 19 points, Dent 18, McBride 13 and McCain 10.
Sierra Canyon (26-5) received 15 points from Bailey in his final high school game. Isaiah Elohim added 14 points.
Dent played the whole game even though he injured his knee against Studio City Harvard-Westlake.
“He played incredible,” Giles said.
The pregame festivities included a long line of fans outside Centennial’s gym gathering 90 minutes before tipoff; a DJ playing music so loud that earplugs should have been provided; the father of Centennial’s Williams participating in a dance contest in his red sweats, and people complaining the gym was so cold they should have brought a jacket.
The game started with Centennial making three consecutive threes, two by Huff, for a 9-0 lead. Sierra Canyon never got closer than 13 points in the second half.
Centennial has never won a state title and will play Modesto Christian on Saturday at 8p.m.
In Division I girls, Los Angeles Windward defeated Garden Grove Orangewood Academy 61-58. Freshman Samari Bankhead scored 16 points for Windward.
In Division I boys, La Verne Damien defeated Irvine Crean Lutheran 58-53.
Kaleb Smith scored 16 points, and Spivey Word and RJ Smith added 14 points apiece.
In Division II boys, Santa Ana Foothill defeated Hacienda Heights Los Altos 46-41.
In Division III boys, Venice defeated Calabasas Viewpoint 62-55. Devyn Johnson scored 24 points and Tyler Hunt 22.
It’s the first trip to the state championships for Foothill and Venice.