Atascadero to Host CIF Championship Game Friday
Friday, Jun. 11 at 6 p.m., the Atascadero boys basketball team (15-4, 11-1) will play for a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Central Section Division 2 Championship in their building against Roosevelt High School. To get to the Championship game, the Hounds first had to go through their bitter rival, for a third time this season, in the semifinal game on Wednesday night.
It was as close to a packed house as COVID-19 would allow on Wednesday night, and, as always, the crowd was divided nearly down the middle, with those on one side wearing crimson while those on the other wore orange. Due to tickets being limited to only four people per athlete, Wednesday’s game was the hottest ticket in town, while all that couldn’t make it tuned into the Livestream on the Voice of Paso or following updates online.
The Bearcats made the first basket of the game on a Darius Thompson free-throw jumper, but that would be the only time Paso Robles held the lead in the game as the Hounds jumped out to a big lead early thanks to their smothering defense and excellent rebounding. Junior point guard Stevie Waiters answered Thompson’s bucket with a baseline jumper of his own, and on the next AHS possession Logan Reyes nailed a three from the top of the arc, and the Hounds were off.
The Greyhounds defensive gameplan was clear from the beginning; they would not let Thompson get comfortable in the post. Atascadero would send waves of bodies at the Bearcat big man, all with active hands, ready to take a charge, if necessary, and made Paso Robles try and beat them shooting from the outside.
Atascadero held Paso Robles to nine points in the first quarter and only six points in the second quarter. The Greyhounds scored 18 points in the first quarter and took a 33-15 lead into halftime.
Paso Robles came out of halftime and gave the Hounds their best shot narrowing it down to only 11 with a quick 7-0 run that forced AHS head coach Augie Johnston to take a timeout, but as they have all season, the Hounds settled down and ran their offense. A few seconds later, Mitchell Carpenter took two dribbles and pulled up for a baseline jumper, and Atascadero was back in control.
Wednesday night, the Hounds showed their championship-level defense, which carried them to an Ocean League title, but also their championship depth. Four of the Greyhounds five starters scored in double figures against the Bearcats led by Drew Ardouin and Logan Reyes, who each had 16 points. Ardouin added nine rebounds, and Reyes sprinkled in two assists. What makes the Hounds so hard to stop offensively is that the points can come from anywhere, and because of their great chemistry, they always find the right man.
If it wasn’t Reyes, Ardouin, or Carpenter on Wednesday, then it was Waiters who did a bit of everything for the boys in orange. Waiters finished with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds while also handling the bulk of the ball-handling in the second half while the Bearcats pressed to force turnovers.
“I felt like I had to set the pace and calm things down,” Waiters told the Atascadero News. “They were all over me, and I just needed to be calm and not turn the ball over, which I felt like I did.”
Every time Paso Robles made a run, the Greyhounds would answer, and eventually, they sealed the 62-47 win, advancing them to the CIF Championship game.
Atascadero has won two CIF Championships in boys basketball in school history but none since the invention of the digital camera. The Hounds last lifted a banner for basketball 47 years ago, in 1974. Atascadero’s first-ever CIF Championship came just a few years before that, in 1969.
Friday night, Ewing Gymnasium will host Roosevelt High School with a shot at immortality on the line. The Rough Riders are 13-4 this season and will be one of the biggest teams that Atascadero has faced all year. According to Maxpreps.com, Roosevelt is led by a big three of their shooting guard, forward, and most importantly, number two, Giant Myers, who is the key to their team. Myers is averaging 15 points per game, nine assists, and six rebounds.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the Voice of Paso for all those who cannot attend due to the COVID-19 restrictions.