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Rancho Christian boys basketball team tops Etiwanda to win BattleZone Tournament

By in Press Enterprise on December 3, 2017

By Eric-Paul Johnson

CORONA — Rancho Christian made a loud statement this week and staked an early claim for being the best boys basketball team in the Inland Empire this season.

Isaiah and Evan Mobley used their combination of length and athleticism to counter Etiwanda’s aggressive man-to-man defensive pressure Saturday. The brothers combined to score 48 points, helping Rancho Christian roll to a 78-54 victory in the championship of Centennial’s BattleZone Tournament.

“(Etiwanda coach) Dave Kleckner is a helluva coach and someone I have so much respect for,” Rancho Christian coach Ray Barefield said. “We go way back. When I played in college, he was one of my graduate assistants.

“We know the style of basketball Etiwanda plays, and we told the kids that the only way we were going to win this game tonight was imposing our will. Fortunately it worked that way against an extremely well-coached team.”

Isaiah Mobley, a 6-foot-9 junior, had 30 points and 10 rebounds en route to be selected the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. His brother, Evan, a 6-10 sophomore, finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds.

What makes the Mobley brothers difficult to defend goes beyond size. Both players handle the ball well and can score in the post or out on the perimeter.

“Obviously we can’t match up against their size,” Kleckner said. “Our goal was to try to deny them the ball and collapse and help whenever they put the ball on the floor… We needed to do a much better job of anticipating.”

Isaiah Mobley said he relied on past experiences for Saturday’s game.

“We’ve played Etiwanda in this tournament in past years,” Mobley said. “They play real good defense, so you just have to find the little cracks and gaps.”

Etiwanda grabbed the early lead, as Krystian Wilson knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to start the game. Rancho […]    

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