Campbell Hall beats St. Francis basketball with last-second shot, advances to Silver Division final in The Classic

LA VERNE — Before every game, Campbell Hall boys basketball coach Stephen Tolbert II has his team attempt shots from well-beyond the 3-point line.

On Thursday night, that work paid off in a huge way.

Junior guard Aaron Powell made a buzzer-beating 3-point shot from roughly 30 feet to give his team a come-from-behind, 55-52 win over St. Francis in the Silver Division semifinals of The Classic at Damien tournament

Campbell Hall will take on La Mirada for the Silver Division championship on Friday at 8 p.m. at Damien.

Campbell Hall’s Aaron Powell postgame after hitting a game-winning 3 to send the Vikings to the @ClassicAtDamien’s Silver Division Championship game.

He scored 8 of his 10 in the fourth quarter, including a buzzer-beater 3. @SGVNSports

— Jorge Ramos (@byjorgeramos) December 30, 2022

“That’s my first game-winner at (Campbell Hall),” Powell said. “It felt great and this game definitely meant something to me. I think (Tolbert), without knowing it, prepared us for that moment and it showed out there.”

Thirty-five minutes and 15 seconds is how long St. Francis (13-3) led before Vikings guard Sean Gee splashed his first 3-pointer of the fourth quarter to give the Vikings a 48-45 lead with 2:45 remaining.

Up until that point, the Knights fought off several Vikings runs in the second and third quarter and when they fell behind briefly in the final minutes, they answered with a game-tying three-pointer of their own, courtesy of Knights guard Mazi Mosely, to tie the game 52-52 with less than a minute remaining.

On the next Vikings possession, a long 3-pointer spilled out toward half court where Golden Knights guard Jackson Mosley picked up the ball and looked to break out on the other end with less than 15 seconds remaining.

As Jackson headed up court, the Vikings trapped the Knights guard, forced the turnover and the ball found its way to Powell for his game-winning 3-pointer.

Powell scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter and was one of the catalysts who fueled the Vikings’ second-half run.

“We’ve been talking about fighting and scrapping until the last minute,” Tolbert said of the team’s come-from-behind victory. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight and that last play was a culmination of the whole game.”

Before Powell’s heroics, it was the Knights who were in control for most of the game and it took all of Vikings guard Isaiah Johnson’s game-high 19 points to keep the Vikings afloat in the opening half.

In the opening quarter, the Knights dominated the Vikings via its suffocating on-ball defending and the offensive output of Jackson and Dantzler. St. Francis harrassed the Vikings into six first-quarter turnovers, holding Campbell Hall to just four points and no made field goals through the first six minutes of the first quarter.

St. Francis’ defensive acumen in the first half allowed for Jackson, who scored a team-high 16 points, to find his spot on the offensive side of the floor. Jackson scored eight first-quarter points and was a 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

Dantzler added six points and helped the Knights to a 14-2 lead thanks to 7-0 run with 2:11 remaining. Campbell Hall answered with a 6-0 to end the quarter thanks to Johnson, who poured in six points, and help cut the lead to seven points, 19-12 heading into the second quarter.

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Campball Hall’s 6-0 run to end the quarter sparrked the Vikings huge surge to start the second quarter. The Vikings dribble penetration and superb shot-making in the second quarter sparked an 8-2 Vikings run to start the second quarter, evaporating the Knights’ double-digit lead to one, 21-20, with 4:33 remaining.

Despite the Vikings’ inroads on the Knights’ lead, a St. Francis 11-5 run to end the quarter ballooned the halftime lead to six points, 32-36.

It wasn’t enough for St. Francis as Campbell Hall outscored the Knights in the second half and two clutch three-pointers in the closing minutes sent the Vikings to the finals.



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