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KYUSUNG GONG, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Canyon's Nick Anderson, right, shoots over Tesoro's Nick Pallas during Tuesday's CIF-SS Division 2AA semifinal at Canyon.

Anderson, Canyon too much for Tesoro

STAFF WRITER

Nick Anderson lacks any and all fear.

Canyon’s senior point guard has come a long way in a short amount of time, and the finished product, Comanches coach Nate Harrison said, is a dynamo.

Anderson did it all Tuesday, completing his quest to get Harrison back to Honda Center by scoring 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half as Canyon defeated visiting Tesoro, 71-54, in the CIF-SS Division 2AA semifinals.

The Comanches (22-9) will face Lawndale in the championship game Saturday.

“Nick was the best player on the floor tonight,” said Harrison, who is 2-0 in title games played at Honda Center.

Anderson, Chandler Dignam and Kaleb Phillips played large roles early, but center Donald Schaal perhaps played the largest. Schaal isn’t asked to do much offensively, but his touches keep Canyon’s offense humming. He scored six points early, contributing to Canyon’s fast start.

Schaal’s activity drew Tesoro’s bigs away from the rim, opening driving lanes. Defensively, he kept Nick Pallas and Adrease Jackson off the glass.

“We have so many guys,” Harrison said, “but Donald doesn’t need touches to impact the game.”

Canyon went cold in the second quarter, missing shots from its sweet spots. Tesoro (19-11) pulled even at 25, before heading into halftime down three.

Harrison has seen his share of droughts this season, but he said after the game that making shots in this offense is almost besides the point. Canyon wants to control the tempo, execute, he said. The mark of this year’s team has been its ability to play well through scoreless stretches.

“As long as we’re taking good shots,” Harrison said.

Canyon hit two threes to open the third quarter, and then Anderson opened the floodgates.

A steal near half court led to a one-handed dunk in traffic that Anderson called “exhilarating.” It brought the house down, spurring Canyon’s extended run. Tesoro couldn’t buy a basket in the quarter, and Canyon’s defense underneath kept Jackson at bay.

“We show up in big games,” Anderson said. “And this was the biggest game of the season. We came out, wanting another ring. We’ve had a little bit of adversity this year, losing games, not winning league, but we found our groove in CIF, and that's when it matters.”


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