67th Kendall Arnett Tournament

Hillmen maul Matadors

Jensen, Klem have big nights as Placer reaches semis with first-round win
By: Eric J. Gourley Journal Sports Writer
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It couldn’t have been much easier for guard Michael Jensen in Placer High’s opening game at the 67th Kendall Arnett Tournament Monday night. “I was open and it kept going in, simple as that,” the junior said with a smile. Jensen scored 14 of his season-high 23 points during the decisive second quarter as the Hillmen routed Mira Loma 81-50 to advance to tonight’s semifinal against San Juan, which beat Del Campo 61-47 earlier in the day. Placer jumped out to an 8-0 lead, but the Matadors cut it to 13-12 at the end of the first quarter. Leading 19-16 with 5:30 left in the second quarter, the Hillmen scored 23 unanswered points to enter halftime up 42-16. “The kids played well and shared the ball,” head coach Mark Lee said. “I was impressed with our bench play.” The Hillmen improved to 5-8 overall after a 1-6 start. They’re 4-2 in six games since junior guard Josh Klem and senior guard Matt Ross joined the team after an extended football season took them to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship game. “We’re getting there,” said Klem, who scored a season-high 19. “We’re still kind of feeling it out but we’re getting more comfortable out there.” Ross added eight points, but it was Jensen who stole the show Monday. He was called up from the junior varsity squad as a sophomore just in time for last year’s tournament and was 9-for-11 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc in an impressive shooting performance Monday. Senior center Jeff Patton and junior forward Zach Aubuchon also finished with eight points apiece as 10 Hillmen scored in the rout. The win sets up a rematch of last year’s semifinal between Placer and San Juan, which beat the Hillmen 62-50 a year ago. Lee, who coached at San Juan during the early 90s, helped Spartans coach Erich Wohlenberg secure his first coaching job at the school more than a decade ago. “We still talk every other day,” Wohlenberg said Sunday.