Canyon Crest Academy won’t win the Palomar League boys basketball championship, but the Ravens certainly will have a say in who does.
Wednesday night, Canyon Crest beat league-leader Mt. Carmel for the second time this season, 70-55. The loss knocks the Sundevils, who could have clinched their first league title since 1990, into a first-place tie with Torrey Pines.
Mt. Carmel, which had won eight of its last nine, with the only loss coming to Canyon Crest, falls to 16-12 overall, 7-2 in league play. The Ravens improve to 15-12, 5-4.
In Friday’s regular-season finales, Canyon Crest is at Torrey Pines while Mt. Carmel is at archrival Westview.
“We needed this win,” said Canyon Crest coach Brian Baum. “We can’t win the league, but we’re going to have a say in who does.
“Honestly, we’re not trying to play spoiler. We’re just trying to finish the regular-season strong and improve our spot in the playoffs.”
The Ravens, Baum said, want a home game and should be in the top eight of the field of 16 in Division III, allowing them to play at home in the first round. But Canyon Crest wants more, maybe a five seed.
“We’re really coming together late in the league season,” said Ravens senior forward JP Chenevey. “We want a good seed in the CIF playoffs because we think we can do some damage.
“This win gives us a boost. We’re the only team in the Palomar League to beat Mt. Carmel. That should help us.”
Chenevey helped the Ravens on Wednesday, scoring 21 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Riley Adams had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Canyon Crest. Jeremy Dawson added 12 points on four 3-pointers.
Guard Scott Patterson grabbed 11 rebounds as the Ravens outrebounded Mt. Carmel 36-26 and forced 18 turnovers.
Canyon Crest used a 20-3 second-quarter run to open a 40-23 lead just before the half.
After the Ravens pushed the advantage to 20 at the start of the third quarter, Mt. Carmel came back with a 21-6 run to close the gap to five.
But a three-point play by Adams, Alex Tachikawa’s only basket of the game, and a 3-pointer by Dawson pushed the lead back to 13 at the start of the fourth quarter.
“That was a crazy few minutes,” Baum said of Mt. Carmel’s run. “We gave them a few easy baskets. But we kept our composure and had a little run of our own to push it back to double figures.”
Mt. Carmel coach Chris Vitous knew Canyon Crest would “pack it in down low” and that his club would have to hit some 3-pointers to open things up.
The Sundevils, who were led by Deion Alston’s 22 points, made five shots from long range, but missed 15 others.