SPORT NOTES: Clippers’ new star took over against Terriers … That cycling connection between Redlands, France … REV gets a transfer.
Kawhi Leonard, who will make an attempt to become the first player in NBA history to win championships with three different teams, made his way through Redlands during his climb to prominence.
It was one of his final prep games, an 82-62 Riverside King win over visiting Redlands High School, which capped the Terriers’ strong season at 25-4. It was a CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA quarterfinals showdown.
“We were ahead by three points,” recalled Randy Genung, the longtime Terriers’ head coach who was an assistant coach. “Second half, Kawhi went to work and it was game over.”
Chris Phelps scored 17 for the visiting-team Terriers, who got a combined 33 points from Tristan Kirk, Ricky Peetz and Nate Fultz. Said Genung: “Our second leading scorer (Kirk) had a sprained ankle in the game before.”
It was a strong season for Redlands, which split its Citrus Belt League games with Rialto Eisenhower, the eventual Division 2 state champion. Brad Scott was Terriers’ head coach.
Heading into their game against King, the Terriers had beaten San Bernardino Arroyo Valley by 69 points and Ontario Colony by 13 in the first two playoff rounds.
After beating Redlands, Leonard’s Wolves’ squad went on to win six of their next seven games before losing to Los Angeles Westchester in the Southern California Regional championship — capping a 30-3 season.
King beat Santa Ana Mater Dei, featuring the Wear twins — Travis and David — for the 1AA title. Both brothers made the NBA, having played collegiately at North Carolina.
Leonard’s travels are well-known to any NBA follower. He played at San Diego State, was drafted by Indiana in the NBA before getting shipped to San Antonio in a draft-day deal. Eventually, Leonard surfaced in Toronto before landing with the Clippers earlier this month.
“Yep,” said Genung. “He was good.”
A TOUR DE FRANCE, REDLANDS CONNECTION
Joey Rosskoff, who scored a strong come-from-behind victory at the 2014 Redlands Bicycle Classic, is one of four Americans who took a shot at this year’s Tour de France — plus European Toms Skujins (Trek-Sejafredo) and New Zealand’s Patrick Bevin (Team CCC), two other past local combatants.
Team Sunweb’s Chad Haga, Teejay van Garderen (Education First) and Ben King (Dimension Data) rounded out the contingent of U.S. racers that have ridden in the Redlands event, now 35 years strong.
Bevin came up two seconds short of Phil Gaimon at the 2012 Redlands Classic, while Spaniard Francisco Mancebo was seven seconds from winning that year’s yellow jersey.
In this year’s Tour de France, Rosskopf, racing for Team CCC, was spotted in a 10th place finish in the 13th stage won by France’s Julian Alaphilippe, who had the overall lead heading into the final week. Rosskopf wound up 73rd overall.
Haga (123rd overall), who nearly won the 2013 Redlands Bicycle Classic, was beaten that year on the final stage by Mancebo, a European veteran who has multiple top 10 Tour de France finishes — plus two Redlands triumphs.
Haga won the 2013 time trial that kicked off the 2013 Redlands event, holding his lead until the final stage Sunset Road Race when he was overtaken by Mancebo.
One year later, Rosskopf came up with a come-from-behind triumph to beat James Oram by six seconds.
Neither of the Redlands-Tour de France cyclists figured in the outcome of this year’s leaders. Bevin and van Garderen abandoned early in the race.
King took 62nd overall last week.
“I rode across town with Ben,” said Redlands committee member Scott Welsh, “to a school visit in about 2010 or ‘11 when he was with Livestrong-Trek.”
Alaphilippe held a two-minute lead heading into the final week. The race concluded on the 21st stage in Paris.
Didn’t win, though. A 22-year-old Colombian, Egan Bernal, wrestled it away. Alaphilippe wound up fifth. Bernal won last year’s Tour of California.
The Tour de France and the Redlands Bicycle Classic have curious working connections.
INCOMING AT … REV
Aquinas multi-sports contributor Jesiah Perez (football, soccer, track) was cleared to play, but only after the prescribed Sit-Out Period by CIF-Southern Section regulations.
REV is getting a multiple-sport athlete.
It could be a big loss at Aquinas, a small-school campus that often relies on multiple-sport athletes to compete.
Perez scored five goals and assisted on two others as a sophomore on the Falcons’ pitch last winter. As a freshman on the Falcons’ 2018 CIF championship side, he racked up three assists, playing in 29 matches. On the football field, mainly at QB, Perez played in 11 games. He threw for a TD, ran for another and came up with five tackles, even kicking off a few times for a 10-2 Falcons’ squad that tore through the Ambassador League.
In last year’s second round, Aquinas lost to eventual Division 5 finalist Palos Verdes, 12-7.On the track, Perez ran sprints, relays, shouldered some of the load in the shot put and discus, even running the 800 and 1600 as a freshman.
Talk about a multiple-sport athlete.