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PLEASANT GROVE — Corner Canyon senior Max Toombs was feeling it in two games at the 5 For The Fight National Hoopfest.
Toombs dropped 44 points to go along with three assists as the Chargers rolled to an 88-63 win over Maryland's Bishop Walsh in the second game of 10-team invitational Wednesday afternoon at Pleasant Grove High.
The 6-foot-2 senior with three years of varsity experience was unconscious from the field, shooting 14-of-26 from the field and 8-of-14 from 3-point range to go along with three assists and a pair of rebounds.
"I went 2-for-7 last game, so I had to do a little better today. I think 8-for-14 is better," Toombs said. "The flow was moving towards me, and it depends on the flow."
If you don't know Toombs' name yet, you'll know it soon enough.
Toombs had a game-high 17 points at halftime, buoyed by 7-of-7 makes from the free-throw line and a pair of 3-pointers to lead the Chargers. The senior guard shot 4-of-10 from the field through a stingy defense that let him with a pair of cuts on his shooting arm which he taped up at halftime.
But Corner Canyon was also added by defense, holding Bishop Walsh to just 30% shooting before the break. Toombs nailed a 3-pointer 35 seconds into the second half, and the Chargers continued to pull away.
"We always like to play an aggressive defense," Toombs said. "We believe the defense leads to offense, and we got it going both nights.
"I think we showed that we can play with anybody. We have a really good chance at winning the state championship, I think. We've obviously got things to work on, but if we can keep working the way we have been, I think we'll be fine."
Corner Canyon certainly announced its intentions in a big way.
It may have been a surprise, perhaps, for everyone except the Chargers. Corner Canyon has been competing against programs like Bishop Walsh all summer, ever since the 43-39 loss to American Fork in the 6A championship last March.
"We have played this type of schedule all summer and all fall long," said Corner Canyon coach Dan Lunt, who improved to 105-53 with the Chargers. "We played Arizona Compass and all of these teams; it's just something that gives our kids confidence: that we can play with anybody, and we can beat anybody. At the same time, we've got to play the right way, and our kids did the right things."
In the invitational finale, Corner Canyon led for all but 32 seconds including a 16-second lead by Bishop Walsh. The Chargers simply dominated from start to finish, out-rebounding the Spartans 52-28 as Brody Kozlowski posted 11 points, 19 rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots for Corner Canyon.
Jaxon Roberts added 10 points and six assists, and Taylor Feroah had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Chargers, who improved to 2-0 on the season.
"Everybody contributed," Lunt said. "Kallen Lewis hit three 3s, and every single one of them was huge."
Corner Canyon (2-0) wasn't the only team that broke out during the season-opening National Hoopfest in Utah County. Wasatch Academy also went 2-0 in the invitational, and Tiger Cuff led American Fork with 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting from deep in a 56-55 upset over Sunrise Christian (Kansas) before a loss to the Tigers.
But the start of the Chargers' second game was Toombs' show after he shot just 2-of-7 from 3-point range in a 87-51 win over Bingham in Tuesday's opener. The senior with mostly junior college offers like Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon finished with 26 points Tuesday, but was on another level a day later.
"We can hang with most of these guys," Toombs said. "Once we get our name out there and show college coaches that we can hang with these guys, I think that we'll be seen more.
"I believe that I have D-I talent … if I can become more of a guard that can score over 6-10 people, I think I'll be fine. I think I have a D-I body, my shooting is very good, and I think I'm good at seeing the floor."
The pre-Thanksgiving tournament, then, was important — not only for a group of Corner Canyon upperclassmen angling to play at the next level, but for the Chargers to open the season on a high note.
But it's still only the beginning.
"It's a good gauge for us to see where we are at," Lunt said. "We've still got a lot of work to do, but it's a good start."
5 For The Fight National Hoopfest
Pleasant Grove High School
Tuesday's results, top player
- Corner Canyon 87, Bingham 51 (CC: Jaxon Roberts 22 points, 6 assists; BHS: Brayden Whitehead 15 points, 6 rebounds)
- Wasatch Academy 63, Bishop Walsh 50 (WA: Jeremiah Johson 13 points, 4 assists; BW: Emmanuel Okitondo 17 points, 10 rebounds)
- AZ Compass Prep 65, Montverde Academy 54 (AZ: Rayvon Griffith 12 points, 5 rebounds; MA: Liam McNeely 13 points)
- American Fork 56, Sunrise Christian 55 (AF: Tiger Cuff 13 points, 2 assists; SCA: Mikel Brown 15 points, 5 assists)
- Cyrus 58, Pleasant Grove 49 (CYP: Quentin Meza 23 points, 6 assists; PG: Isaac Garrett16 points, 5 rebounds)
Wednesday's results, top player
- RSL Academy 76, Bingham 51 (RSL: David Katoa 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists; BHS: Brayden Whitehead 19 points, 6 rebounds)
- Corner Canyon 88, Bishop Walsh 63 (CC: Max Toombs 44 points, 3 assists; BW: Mike Williams III 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists)
- Wasatch Academy 69, American Fork 64 (WA: Jeremiah Johnson 18 points, 3 assists; AF: Aaron Dunne 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists)
- AZ Compass Prep 53, Sunrise Christian 47 (AZ: Jordan Ross 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists; SCA: Mikel Brown 12 points)
- Montverde Academy 85, Pleasant Grove 42 (MA: Kwame Evans 17 points, 4 rebounds; PG: Isaac Garrett 14 points, 3 rebounds)