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Chatsworth, CA – With the crowd calling for senior Daniel Messinger, Sierra Canyon head coach Andre Chevalier signaled him into the game. With the crowd on its feet, his teammates found Messinger for two contested 3-point baskets. And with the ease of a seasoned veteran, Messinger found the bottom of the net, igniting a wild celebration in the crowd, sealing a fun-filled, dominating 97-47 victory over Viewpoint on Thursday.
Sierra Canyon captured the Gold Coast League title with the win, a stepping stone as they hope to make a deep playoff run. The Trailblazers finished the regular season 21-3 and went a perfect 7-0 in league play.
Chevalier said it's a joy to watch how much this team loves each other.
“You saw how they celebrated those 3-point baskets,” Chevalier said. “It’s great to see our team coming together at the right time.”
The Trailblazers, who won the league outright, continued their recent dominance in league play. Sierra Canyon has not lost a league game since the 2011-2013 season when they went 4-8.
In front of artist Kanye West, NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen and former NBA All-Star Kenyon Martin, the Trailblazers turned the game into a track meet — pushing the ball constantly while showcasing their jumping ability.
Midway through the second quarter, leading 37-16, junior Kenyon Martin Jr. threw down a ferocious dunk off an assist from senior Will Washington. With their offense clicking on all cylinders, the Trailblazers full court press and trap defense held the Patriots to just six second-quarter points to take a commanding 45-16 lead at the half.
“We were locked in and having fun with each other,” Chevalier said.
It was more of the same in the second half, as junior Cassius Stanley joined the dunk fest with a rattling one-handed putback jam midway through the third quarter. The Trailblazers were all cheers even after forward Terren Frank missed a breakaway dunk.
“We enjoy playing for each other,” Martin Jr. said. “This game was fun, but we know that come playoff time we have to go up to another level.”
Washington Jr., who played his last regular season home game, called this moment “bittersweet,” but said that there's still a lot more basketball left in his high school career.
“It feels like just yesterday I was a freshman,” Washington Jr. said. “I have this chip on my shoulder that I’ve never had before.”
He added that the team is coming together at just the right time and that moving forward every game will be a war.
As the Trailblazers await their seeding in this year’s playoffs they know that they have to maintain the same mindset going into the postseason.
“We need to stay humble and take it one game at a time, but we have to take pride in what we accomplish this season,” Chevalier said.