Keppel ends Baldwin Park dream run, 77-63; Bishop Amat advances to face Price; Damien pounds Irvine, and La Verne Lutheran moves on

By Fred J. Robledo
— The Keppel High School boys basketball team got exactly what it wanted against host Baldwin Park during Wednesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 2A quarterfinal – another strong effort from junior twins Jordan and Justin Young, and a near flawless performance from point guard Timmy Wong.
But as Aztecs coach Hung Duong explained it, when senior guard Sam Thim is on his game too, the Aztecs are nearly unbeatable, which was the case as Thim poured in 28 points to lead the third-seed Aztecs to a 77-63 victory, sending them to Friday’s semifinals against second-seed Pasadena at Muir High School. (To continue click thread)

Bishop Amat Gamer: It’s been awhile since the Bishop Amat High School boys basketball team hosted a truly meaningful playoff game in its own backyard. The wait is over, though, after the Lancers used a strong third quarter to post a 63-49 win over host Lawndale in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs on Tuesday night. The win lands Amat (21-8) a semifinal showdown against top-seeded Price (27-3) on Friday night at West Covina High School. Amat hasn’t been this far in the playoffs since winning a CIF title in 2002.

Damien Gamer: Damien High School boys basketball coach Matt Dunn wanted his team to control the tempo of the game and defend the 3-point line. His players held up their end of the bargain by knocking off University of Irvine 60-46 in a CIF-Southern Section Division 2A quarterfinal Tuesday night. The fourth-seeded Spartans (22-7) will face top seed and defending CIF-SS champion Eisenhower in a rematch of last year’s divisional semifinal on Friday at a site to be determined. Eisenhower beat Mayfair, 79-59.

Boys Basketball
Tuesday’s Quarterfinal Results
All games at 7 p.m.

Division 2A
Damien 60, University Irvine 46
Keppel 77, Baldwin Park 63
Division 4A
Bishop Amat 63, Lawndale 49
Division 5AA
La Verne Lutheran 68, Brentwood 51

Friday’s semifinals
Division 2A
No. 4 Damien at No. 1 Eisenhower at site to be determined near Eisenhower
Division 4A
No. 1 Price vs. No. 4 Bishop Amat at West Covina HS
Division 5AA
No. 2 La Verne Lutheran at No. 5 Pasadena Poly at site to be determined near Poly

Jordan Young finished with 19 points and Justin Young 13, but Thim was 4-for-7 from 3-point range, and 7-for-10 overall, which simply proved too much for the Braves to deal with.
“When Sam goes off if complements everyone else,” Duong said. “It opens up the inside game, it allows our guards to penetrate. When he’s knocking down shots, we’re just an extremely difficult team to defend.
“We didn’t want to just settle for jump shots tonight. We wanted to drive and get shots at the basket. It’s hard going on the road and trying to win with perimeter shots, so I thought we did a good job of using our size advantage and hitting timely shots when we needed them.
“But give Baldwin Park credit, they played their hearts out and hit a lot of big shots too. We had to play the way we did to beat them.”
The Braves (24-5) were making their first quarterfinal appearance since 1984 and jumped out to the perfect start, leading 11-3 after Jimmy Ramirez’s three-pointer with 4:59 left in the opening quarter.
But the Aztecs (24-5) closed the quarter on a 10-3 run and scored the first nine points of the second quarter to take a 22-13 lead.
But the Braves, who received 15 points from Fernie Morelos and 12 points apiece from Joey De La Torre and Eddie Gamboa, climbed back to trail just 36-34 at half.
In fact, the Braves trailed just 49-45 with less than four minutes left in the third when Thim hit back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the Aztecs’ lead to 55-45, which turned into a 60-47 lead going into the fourth quarter.
“That (back-to-back 3-pointers) let the air out of our sails a little bit,” Braves coach Marc Hart said. “We had to pressure even more, which allowed more space, and against them it’s tough because their point guard (Wong) handles the ball so well.”
Wong did play a big role, not only did he finish with 14 points, he also had nine assists, many of which found their way to the Young twins for easy baskets in the paint.
“I thought the twins killed us,” Hart said. “Their point guard (Wong) did what I thought he was going to do, he finds his guys and doesn’t turn the ball over. I call it hockey assists. He doesn’t always get the main assists, but he gets it to the guy who gets it to one of the twins.
“That was the difference, they killed us in the paint, we gave up way too many easy baskets. I told the kids if we eliminated those we could win the game, but it’s easier to say than do. Plus, they did a good job of defending us.”
Tomes Montes, who had 33 points in the Braves’ second-round win over Villa Park, only finished with nine points, and Morelos had to be careful most of the second half, picking up his third foul a minute into the third quarter, and his fourth with 2:44 left in the third quarter.
“That hurts when your best player is limited in that regard, but Keppel played well, they really did,” Hart said. “I told our guys afterward, you set a school record with 24 wins and got to the quarterfinals for the first time in 26 years. It didn’t matter much when I told them, but it’s going to sink in later.
“Then I looked at the (juniors and sophomores) and said, ‘don’t wait another 26 years to get us back here. I’m no (San Dimas coach) Gary Prestasater. I won’t be around that long.'”
For Duong, it’s his first semifinal appearance after more than a decade at the school.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Duong said. “It’s tremendous. Hopefully I will sit down and enjoy it for a while, but already I’m thinking about the next game.”

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  • oldtimer

    Brave boys, you make an old man proud. I remember what it was like in the 80s when football was king. With all the negative crap that goes on, thanks for being role models to the community and playing your hearts out for us. I’ll be rooting like hell for you tonight, and so should everyone else in the city, show up for a group of kids that are doing it right!!!! Win or lose, this is our way of saying thanks.

  • lut fan

    said: Go braves best of luck!

  • Oh Okay?

    Fred are you sure Mark Keppel’s Head Coach is named Hung Doung?

  • Championship Trophy Wears Green and Gold

    Damien manhandles University. Chris Reyes is incredible and now has unleashed his offensive game. Next year he’ll unleash a sweet jumper he’s yet to use this year. Overall Damien has too much size, depth, and talent to be stopped this year, at this level. Next stop is a CIF Championship Game. Seen Mark Keppel tonight and Damien beats them by 20 going away. Chris will put up 30 plus in the next game, which Chris you ask? Doesn’t matter, maybe both !

  • Sgvkid

    Great game tonight but the Mark Keppel prevail witht he victory after being lead by Timmy Wong #15 and Sammy Thim #23

    keppel over BP 77-63

  • Voice of the Trojans

    LaVerne Lutheran held off a strong Brentwood team to roll to a 68-51 win. Brentwood pulled to within 51-48 early in the 4th quarter but 2 monster dunks by junior Bruce English and 2 clutch 3 point baskets by freshman Nick Colletta sealed the win.

    Due to injury the Trojans only had 8 players available and Brentwood brought a huge, boisterous crowd.

  • Green && Gold

    Damien does an INCREDEIBLE JOB against university. At first it was a nailbiter. I had no idea who would win. The Spartans of course getting those points in the second half busting awawy from the Trojans. GOOD LUCK SPARTANS! ALL THE WAY THIS YEAR BABY!

  • Green && Gold

    Damien does an INCREDEIBLE JOB against university. At first it was a nailbiter. I had no idea who would win. The Spartans of course getting those points in the second half busting awawy from the Trojans. GOOD LUCK SPARTANS! ALL THE WAY THIS YEAR BABY!

  • Green && Gold

    Damien does an INCREDEIBLE JOB against university. At first it was a nailbiter. I had no idea who would win. The Spartans of course getting those points in the second half busting awawy from the Trojans. GOOD LUCK SPARTANS! ALL THE WAY THIS YEAR BABY!

  • I’ll say it again, I’m impressed by Amat. This game was never really close after the second quarter. They’ve got decent size and good speed at guard. Rodriguez can score from all over and if Goldston is hot, well, you get what they are now — a semifinalist.

  • The Real Aztecs of the SGV!

    Great Job Keppel. Reminds me of the old Keppel of the 80’s. Champions! MKHS!!!

  • Spartan Fan

    Rumor has it Damien is going to be playing Eisenhower at Redlands East Valley High School.

  • Ben Dover

    Great Year BP!