Dorsey-Holiday matchup doesn’t disappoint as Maranatha wins CIF title

You could argue the anticipation of the CIF Southern Section Division 4A game took a backseat to no other division except, maybe, the Open this weekend.

No. 1 Maranatha against No. 2 Campbell Hall.

Tyler Dorsey vs Aaron Holiday.

The Minutemen were looking for its first CIF title as a program. Holiday was looking to win his first and bring some hardware to the family discussions with he and older brothers Jrue and Justin, both Campbell Hall alums, who won two during their time with the Vikings.

The allure of Maranatha hanging its first banner was just too much for Holiday and the Vikings to overcome in the Maranatha 59-53 win.

"It’s exactly how I wanted to go out," Dorsey said, who won the CIF Southern Section title at St. John Bosco two years ago.

The stage was set. The Felix Event Center on the campus of Azusa Pacific University provided the backdrop for two of the nation’s most talented guards.

While they guarded each other on occasional cross matchups during the first three quarters, for the better part of the game’s final eight minutes, the Pac-12-bound guards went head-to-head and neither backed down.

In the rare game that lived up to its billing was the even more rare individual matchup that didn’t disappoint.

The end of the third quarter provided a preview as Holiday was able to blow by Dorsey to knock down a running jumper. His Vikings (24-9) trailed Maranatha (20-8) 40-39 after the third.

In the fourth is when all the fun happened. Dorsey took the smaller Holiday down to the block and knocked down the tough turnaround jumper as Maranatha regained a 42-41 lead.

Later in the fourth, Holiday drove against Dorsey but was stripped by the Maranatha guard. Somehow, he regained the basketball and muscled a shot up and in over Maranatha 6’10" forward Chase Stanback despite being fouled.

The future Oregon Duck and the future UCLA Bruin went back and forth, neither willing to give an inch.

"That’s what you live for," Dorsey said. "In the fourth quarter big players want the ball and we went at each other. We came out with a win and that’s all that matters at the end of the day."  

Dorsey finished the game with 25 points. Holiday matched him with 25 points to lead the Vikings.  

As bright as the stars shined, it was the role players who made their mark before all was said and done. Namely, Maranatha senior guard Tey Williams who hit four huge free throws in the game’s final 31 seconds to seal the deal for the Minutemen. 

After trailing by 13 at one point in the first half, the Minutemen used a 9-0 run to close the deficit to four at the half.

Maranatha began to assert itself in the third quarter, outscoring Campbell Hall by five in the frame thanks to the shot-blocking exploits of Stanback and sharpshooting from Dorsey, who had nine points in the quarter.

"They came out faster and harder than us (in the third quarter)," Holiday said.

Stanback scored all eight of his points in the second half and had three of his game-high five blocks in the final 16 minutes.  

Dorsey finished the game 9 of 17 from the field and 7 of 7 from the free-throw line to go along with eight rebounds.