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Canyon's Ballestero gets the point
JoJo Ballestero can shoot and he can score. He proved that his sophomore and junior years at Canyon.
This year, Ballestero has displayed another skill. The Comanches senior is a very good passer, too.
Ballestero had eight assists Wednesday in Canyon's 57-40 victory over Westminster in a first-round game of the Orange Holiday Classic at Chapman University.
Canyon (10-4) will play Yorba Linda (10-2) in a tournament second-round game Thursday at 6:50 p.m. at Chapman. Canyon, which has been in and out of the Orange County top 10 this month, will be the first team Yorba Linda will have played that has been in the county rankings.
Ballestero was All-Orange County fourth team last season when he finished among county leaders in 3-point shots made, with 77. He still is shooting the 3s, with 50 made so far this season. But with his sophomore point-guard brother Anthony still recovering from a broken arm, Ballestero has assumed point-guard duties.
"We're a better team with Anthony on the ball," Canyon coach Nate Harrison said. "But JoJo can play that position. We don't want to wear him out, but he is doing a phenomenal job there."
Ballestero, 5-foot-10, had 12 assists in the Comanches' 87-65 loss to second-ranked Mission Viejo on Saturday in the JCTees.com Orange County North/South Challenge at El Toro.
Ballestero scored five points, quite a reduction from his 17 points per game average, which is down slightly from the 20 points he averaged last season. Canyon's leading scorer Wednesday was junior guard Devonte Parker, who scored 16 points including four 3-pointers. Three Comanches scored 10 points apiece – sophomore Nick Anderson (youngest brother of former Canyon All-County players Chris and Jerime Anderson, who attended Wednesday's game), Chandler Dignam and Kalem Rokosz.
Canyon had an 11-8 lead going into the second quarter, and a 29-13 lead at halftime. The Comanches were ahead by 22 going into the fourth quarter. Westminster made a strong rally to open the final quarter, scoring the first 11 points of the quarter, but Canyon resumed control.
Westminster coach Jesse Miramontez hoped for a better effort from the Lions, who were led by 6-foot-7 senior Myron Aiava's 17 points.
"I'm disappointed," Miramontez said, "because we're trying to have an identity as a team that plays hard and establishes a presence defensively. But we did not do that today."
Westminster has a 5-5 record created via a challenging schedule. The Lions have defeated Corona del Mar, perhaps the best team in the Pacific Coast League, and Trabuco Hills, and has lost to Mission Viejo and Santa Margarita.
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