East County Sports

Norris has Helix elevating in state regional playoffs

Torrence West can't stop Helix's Miles Norris in a CIF State Division 4 playoff game Saturday night in La Mesa. / EastCountySports photo





By Ramon Scott



LA MESA – Helix’s MILES NORRIS swooped, glided and jammed his way to 30 points and teammate DYLAN LEE took advantage of West High’s feeble attempts at clamping down on the 6-foot-9 star to get free and rattle home 17 more as the Highlanders moved to within one victory of the CIF State Division 4 Regional championship game with an 80-62 win over the visiting Warriors, of Torrence, Saturday night.

With the win, second-seeded Helix (29-5) earned a third-straight home game in the state playoffs.

Helix’s DYLAN LEE controls the tempo Saturday night in the CIF State Division 4 playoffs. / EastCountySports photo

The Scotties, who have won 20-straight contests, will host Carson (23-6), 61-49 winners over San Bernardino in a game also played on Saturday night, in the Regional semifinal on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Norris was simply dominant in the second half.

The junior had 13 points in the third quarter to help Helix pull away from the Warriors’ concerning threat out of halftime.

“I’m a competitor no matter what type of game it is,” Norris said. “To me, it’s just another game you have to win. It’s a lot of fun having the big crowds come out to watch us play.”

Make no mistake, while there was generations of Highlanders and legends, as well as, Helix’s rabid Dawghouse fan base as part of the capacity throng, there is also a select crowd that is there to see specifically the 5-star prospect.

The transfer from Mater Dei Catholic is the second greatest talent ever to play at the old gym – he’s only played half a season – and there are more than a dozen major college programs trying to woo the still-developing superstar.

Norris and Lee both had eight in the first half as the Scots took the lead 35-23 at the half. Lee hit a three with just under 20 seconds left.

However, the Warriors hit back-to-back threes to bring their fans to their feet, trailing just 39-33 two minutes into the third, forcing Helix coach JOHN SINGER to stop the momentum with a time out.

But Norris had a pair of inside buckets to up the lead to 43-35, then moments later, he blocked the shot on one end, grabbed the rebound, dribbled the length of the floor and skied in for a finger-tip layin with 4:40 left in the third.

Then following another Helix steal, he got a breakaway dunk for an absolute rim-rocker from football quarterback CARSON BAKER’s on-the-run throw, to put the Highlanders ahead 47-35 midway through the period.

“I give props to my teammates for giving me the open shots and open looks I need,” Norris said. “But I was still able to get it out to my guards when they were coming down on me. They stayed ready and made the shots.”

Lee had a three-pointer in the opening minute of the third quarter, but later in the half, the senior guard once again tried one of his fearless, daredevil approaches to the hoop, but paid the price on a hard foul by the Warriors, which sent him hard to the deck.

“They were trying to double down on Miles so I would just try to find the angle for him to see me for the skip pass and I was just wide open,” said Lee had seven points in the fourth, including a 6-for-6 night from the foul line. “I knew they were going down tonight, except for those two misses where I got robbed.”

One of the more significant contributors for Helix was freshman forward MAURICE HOLMES, who worked himself into seemingly perfect scoring position during Helix’s critical surges in the second and third periods, en route to 10 points.

Helix’s JAYLEN ARNOLD looks for a teammate Saturday night. / EastCountySports photo

Early in the fourth, West (23-9) was able to force some turnovers, including slapping a couple of rebounds away from Norris’ grasp, but the Warriors couldn’t finish at a time that proved most critical if they were to mount any comeback.

In the fourth, JAYLEN ARNOLD fed Norris for an alley-oop jam that all but sealed the deal, as Helix led by 16 with three minutes to play. Arnold also added an offensive rebound and putback that had Helix up 17.

“(Miles) is a five-star for a reason that’s why he’s putting up numbers like he is,” Arnold said. “But we’ve got so many threats right now all over the court. It’s been a fun ride.”

Baker got in on the fun with a steal and a layup with 1:40 left, as he finished with 10 points, including six in the fourth.

Arnold fell victim to some teasing in the final seconds when the basketball gods rim-rejected his beat-the-shot clock freebie dunk attempt down the right baseline.

The Highlanders partied again with the students at center court after the buzzer sounded.

“We’re enjoying the experience because not a lot of teams make it this far,” Lee said.

West’s Alex Minshew scored 20 points in a steady performance, while Nick Snyder kept the Warriors in the game early in the third with his back-to-back treys.

The Warriors’ Ricky Turner fouled out after scoring 12 points, while Noah Carroll, who had to shoulder much of Norris’ presence, added 12 points.

In Carson’s win on Saturday night, the game was called while there was still time on the clock as a San Bernardino player was ejected with a second technical foul with 59.7 left, then had to be separated from a confrontation with Carson fans.

The Colts’ Kylan Wallace scored 12 points, as Carson pulled away after leading 49-45 with 4:46 remaining in the game. The contest was a defensive struggle in the first half with the Colts ahead, 25-18, at halftime.

Demoni Sanchez, a 5-foot-10 sophomore also had 12 points in the game, while senior forward Giovani Sanchez added 11.

Third-seeded Carson finished a distant third in the Marine League at 8-4, averaging 57.8 points per game. Junior Aaron Jelks is the team’s second-leading scorer (9.3 ppg).

“Defense has been our calling card all season,” Carson coach Kevin Shaw told The San Bernardino Sun following the game Saturday night.

The Colts lost the L.A. City Section Division 2 final to Gardena, 64-52.

2017 CIF State Boys Basketball Championships Division IV

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