It wasn’t the way they planned it, but Kobe Paras and the Cathedral HS Phantoms have formally ended their 2014-15 campaign as they fell to the La Verne Damien HS Spartans, 68-62, in the Regional Finals of the 2015 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division III State Boys Basketball Championship last Sunday (PHL time).
Combining deft marksmanship from the perimeter and strong drives to the cup, Paras tallied a game-best 23 points to lead the Phantoms with floor general Milan Acquaah backstopping him with 17 markers. But the duo’s offensive efforts were not enough to lift top seed Cathedral over second-ranked Damien for a spot in the state championship game.
The Spartans were spearheaded by the triumvirate of Bryce Peters, Jeremy Hemsley and Malik Fitts. Peters registered a team-high 20 points while Hemsley had 17 markers and grabbed seven boards. Fitts scored 15 and hauled in seven caroms as well.
With the loss, the Phantoms finished the season with a 22-8 win-loss slate. This record may have been two wins fewer compared to the 2013-14 edition in which the team registered a 24-6 overall mark, but the 2014-15 squad did improve on its prior national ranking, from 417th place to no. 80, and made a huge jump in their California state rankings. Cathedral wound up at no. 14, a big improvement from last season’s 47th place finish.
In all, it was quite an impressive first season of US prep ball for Paras. Gaining more hoops experience under his belt, expect the UCLA-bound swingman to carve out his own his niche among the competition in his senior and final playing season of HS hoops, starting in the latter part of this year.
Watch Paras’ highlights in Cathedral’s regional final contest against the Damien HS Spartans in the video below:
Photo c/o FIBA Asia