Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High players, coaches and fans probably won’t be able to sleep Friday night without thinking about Trent Perry, a 6-foot-4 junior guard, and Jacob Huggins, a 6-7 senior center for Studio City Harvard-Westlake. They combined to inflict pain and agony in delivering a Mission League tournament championship with a 75-71 victory at Bishop Alemany.
Perry scored 24 points and proved to be a roadblock every time Notre Dame (20-9) tried to come back from a 16-point deficit. He’d contribute a basket, make two free throws or take a charging foul to halt the Knights’ momentum.
Huggins, who will attend Princeton, had 23 points and 17 rebounds while repeatedly frustrating the Knights with baskets off offensive rebounds.
“Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games,” said Harvard-Westlake coach David Rebibo, whose team improved to 28-1. “Jacob is an elite player just scratching the surface. Trent is a winner.”
At the end of the first half, Perry slipped, lost the ball and gave up a layup, then responded by making a three-point basket at the buzzer while smiling at the Notre Dame student section.
“I’m living in the moment,” Perry said. “My motto is if you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t be doing it.”
The two teams played in a double-overtime league game won by Harvard-Westlake on Jan. 18. This time, the Knights struggled rebounding and had trouble attacking except for a late surge aided by a full-court press. Caleb Foster finished with 26 points, Dusty Stromer 19 and Mercy Miller 15.
It was the fifth consecutive Mission League championship for Rebibo, who has built the Wolverines program into one of the best in the state. Junior guard Robert Hinton supported Huggins and Perry with 14 points.
It was an impressive win considering Notre Dame came in with a six-game winning streak that included two victories over Chatsworth Sierra Canyon. Now all three Mission League teams are headed to the Southern Section Open Division playoffs.
“I think we can win the championship,” Perry said.
The Southern Section released Friday the eight teams selected for the Open Division playoffs. Despite losing three of its last five games, Sierra Canyon made the tournament.
The other teams are Harvard-Westlake, Notre Dame, Corona Centennial, Bellflower St. John Bosco, Santa Clarita West Ranch, Torrance Bishop Montgomery and Playa del Rey St. Bernard. Seedings will be announced Sunday for the two four-team pools.
The eight teams selected for the Open Division girls’ tournament are Sierra Canyon, Santa Ana Mater Dei, Etiwanda, Corona Santiago, Newport Beach Sage Hill, Los Angeles Windward, Ontario Christian and Bishop Montgomery.
In another big game Friday night, King/Drew won the Coliseum League championship with a 53-50 win at Crenshaw. Donald Thompson scored 22 points for King/Drew.
Etiwanda won the Baseline League championship with a 57-49 victory over La Verne Damien. Curtis Williams scored 14.