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Kenneth Simpson Jr. of Chaminade scores 41 points in semifinals of Mission League tournament

In a performance that was nothing short of spectacular, junior guard Kenneth Simpson Jr. of Chaminade contributed a career-high 41 points, plus the game-saving steal to deny St. Francis a potential tying basket, in Chaminade’s 83-78 victory on Wednesday night at Crespi. The win sends the Eagles (23-6) into Friday’s 7:30 p.m. Mission League tournament championship game at Crespi.

“He was feeling it,” Chaminade coach Bryan Cantwell said.

Simpson scored 13 points in the fourth quarter. He finished 10 of 10 from the free-throw line.

""I just did what I had to do to get my team the win,” Simpson said.

Andre Henry scored 25 points and Jason Gallant 22 points for St. Francis (22-7). The Golden Knights had possession of the ball with 13 seconds left and were trying to set up a potential game-tying basket when Simpson made the steal and clinched the win with two free throws.

Kenneth Simpson has 37 points. Chaminade 77, St. Francis 75. 1:33 left. pic.twitter.com/DxTfTowjjI

Keith Higgins Jr. added 15 points for Chaminade. Eagles coach Bryan Cantwell, who missed practice on Tuesday because of a sore throat, sat on the bench doing more observing than coaching because of his illness.

“It was a test for me to step up and be a coach on the floor,” Simpson said.

Chaminade will play Harvard-Westlake in the 7:30 p.m. final on Friday night.

The Kenneth Simpson. Pepperdine wants him. St. Francis 40, Chaminade 39. pic.twitter.com/3vj0WWJIOx

In other games, Justin Gladney made a basket with three seconds left to give Fairfax a 69-67 win over University in the Western League. David Cheatom scored 35 points for University.

Justin Gladney gives Fairfax 69-67 win over University. pic.twitter.com/UaavzRiJvM

Corey Cofield scored 23 points in Birmingham’s 80-65 win over Granada Hills, which played again without suspended coach Don Loperena. Birmingham pulled into a first-place tie with Taft in the West Valley League when the Toreadors lost to El Camino Real 57-48.

Sun Valley Poly improved to 11-0 in the East Valley League with a 69-54 win over Arleta.

El Camino Real 57 Taft 48WVL Standings: Boys 🏀Birmingham 7-2Taft 7-2Birmingham owns tiebreaker (common opponents) for seeding purposes. Granada Hills 5-4El Camino Real 5-4Granada Hills owns tiebreaker (head-to-head) for seeding purposes. ONE game to go! #CIFLACS pic.twitter.com/uSCE7T8Lz7

In the Valley Mission League tournament, Will Bailey made a three-point basket at the buzzer to give Kennedy a 52-49 win over San Fernando in the semifinals.

Rolling Hills Prep (25-2) defeated New Roads 80-25. JT Tan had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Corona Centennial finished the regular season at 26-2 after a 78-58 win over Eastvale Roosevelt. Paris Dawson scored 22 points.

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