East County Sports

Leaf dons All-American jersey prior to win over Army-Navy

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By James McHugh
© East County Sports.com
RANCHO SAN DIEGO (1-28-16) – On Wednesday night (Jan. 27) prior to Foothills Christian’s Coastal League contest against Army-Navy Academy, senior T.J. LEAF was presented with a commemorative edition of his McDonald’s All-American jersey at Cuyamaca College. Foothills Christian Athletic Director Tim Griggs and Leaf’s father, and Head Coach Brad each spoke before Leaf was presented with one of 12 McDonald’s All-American West jerseys.


Assistant Coach and older brother TROY LEAF was proud to be on hand for the special night. “That was awesome just to see all his hard work and sacrifices pay off. He works as hard or harder than anyone and to see his dream kind of coming true was an awesome moment.”



Luis Salgado attempts a three-pointer Wednesday night for Foothills Christian against Army-Navy.

After the festivities two of the top teams in the San Diego section played to a 32-32 tie for the first 16-minutes. The Knights eventually came away with a 69-57 victory, completing their first round of Coastal League play unblemished at 6-0 and moved to 15-3 overall on the season.


Army-Navy found themselves in all kinds of foul trouble in the second half. Northern Arizona-bound Aziz Seck picked up three fouls before the break and a fourth well before the fourth quarter. Seck finished the night with 10 points. Richard Polanco had just two fouls headed into the second half. However, with Foothills Christian leading 34-33, Polanco picked up his third foul of the night, sending Leaf to the line.


Following an 8-0 run by Foothills Christian which included two more Leaf baskets and well as a JAREN NAFARRETE to OMAJAE SMITH alley-oop and short runner from JORDAN STARR, Polanco picked up his fourth foul with the Warriors trailing 45-37.


Foothills Christian closed out the third quarter on an 11-0 run expanding their lead to 48-37 when T.J. Leaf found freshman Nafarrete for a dagger from beyond the arc just before the period expired.



Leaf looks to work against Army-Navy on Wednesday night at Cuyamaca College.

The Warriors closed to within 58-50 in the final frame before Polanco was whistled for his fifth and eliminating foul. Aziz Seck soon followed with his fifth and the lack of depth showed for Army-Navy. Thirteen points in the fourth from JC Canahuate kept things mildly close for Army Navy, but T.J. Leaf found his way to seven additional points in the quarter, finishing with 32 points and 15 rebounds. Jordan Starr had five fourth quarter points and seemed to find a rhythm with Nafarette and T.J. LOWERY, who each contributed significant minutes for the Knights.


“Jaren was a spark for us in the second half when we desperately needed a spark. Him (Nafarette) and T.J. Lowery gave us a great boost of energy and Jaren was distributing the ball and running the show like a senior,” Troy Leaf said after the win.


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Leaf backs down Wednesday night.

Foothills Christian next travels to Horizon this Friday (Jan. 29) to begin their second round of Coastal League action. Game time is set for 7:30 pm at Horizon.


Foothills Christian:  T.J. Leaf 32 (15 reb, 5 blk, 4 ast, 1 stl), Omajae Smith 11 (8 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl), Luis Salgado 8 (2 reb, 1 blk, 1 stl), Jordan Starr 7 (6 reb, 3 stl, 2 ast), Jaren Nafarrete 5 (5 ast, 2 reb), Jordan Van Ommering 3 (2 reb), Nikko Paranada 2 (2 ast, 2 stl), Kale Baldado 1, T. J. Lowery (1 reb, 1 stl).

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