CHATSWORTH, Calif. — 20 years after their fathers squared off, Sierra Canyon’s Bronny and Bryce James and Christ the King’s Kiyan Anthony did it all over again.
A New Jersey arena that housed 11,000 people in February 2002 was, instead, a tightly packed high school gym on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
Rather than Danny Ainge courtside, it was a smattering of celebrities both inside and outside of the basketball worlds that watched closely on a frigid winter night. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Scottie Pippen and Lakers guard Scotty Pippen Jr., LaLa Anthony, and Kim and Khloe Kardashian were among those in attendance.
The stat sheet was more modest as Sierra Canyon took home the 62-51 win. Bronny finished with 12 points and two big dunks, while Kiyan Anthony scored 8 points on a couple of threes.
Two decades ago, Anthony’s father Carmelo powered Virginia powerhouse Oak Hill Academy to a six-point win with 34 points. LeBron James, a year younger than his senior counterpart, had 36 points for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
In Sierra Canyon, an energetic dunk from Bronny sparked a first quarter charge that was led by five-star recruit Isaiah Elohim. Elohim, a physical scorer in his junior year, had 17 points on the night and is one of the best prospects in the nation.
The game was quiet in the first half but came back to life after a break during which LeBron, Bronny, and Bryce James posed for a photo alongside Carmelo and Kiyan Anthony.
Christ the King’s standout talent was UCLA commit Brandon Williams. The 6-foot-7 forward erupted for all of his 17 points in the second half to bring his school back into the affair.
Williams, who is young for his class, has the means to become a positional mismatch in the future based on his ballhandling, burly frame, and flashes of shooting. He will join the Bruins in Westwood next season, where he’ll need to keep growing on the court as a decision maker.
Anthony, who is growing quickly both literally and in the basketball sense, was intriguing. He has effortless range, picture perfect shooting mechanics for his age, and also displayed some of his father’s grit on the glass when he came in for a put-back in traffic.
Anthony, who is close to the Bryant family, sported “Mambacita Sweet 16” Kobe 6 sneakers in a nice touch. The Christ the King sophomore recently picked up an offer from Syracuse.
But in the end, Sierra Canyon closed out the game.
A three, a tough finish at the rim and an emphatic lob from Bronny put an exclamation mark on the star-studded night. As is often the case with the senior playmaker, he let the game come to him and that eventually paid dividends for his team.
Majok Chuol, a near 7-foot center who can put a lid on the rim, also deserves credit for his play down the stretch. The big man is light and coordinated for someone his size, competitive in the paint, and shows soft touch shooting in warm-ups. He is still early in his basketball trajectory and is someone to monitor long term.
Up next, Sierra Canyon travels to Akron, OH to face St. Vincent-St. Mary — LeBron’s alma mater which is undefeated this season — on Saturday.