By Steve Ramirez
Glendora High School’s move to the Baseline League was supposed to spell gloom and doom for its boys basketball team. But the Tartans continue to show otherwise.
Sophomore Nick Colletta scored 16 points and senior Michael Doering had 14 and Glendora stayed in the hunt in the league race with a 57-56 victory over visiting Upland on Tuesday.
The Tartans, who improved to 18-4 overall and 3-2 in league to stay in second place behind leader Etiwanda, led 33-19 at half and used a 9-4 run in the fourth quarter before Colletta, Doering and Kyle Gordon combined on five free throws to clinch it.
Upland, getting 21 points from Myles Pearson, slipped to 13-8 and 2-3.
“We played so well in the first half,” Glendora coach Mike LeDuc said. “We struggled in the third quarter, but we had to dig down deep to have a good fourth quarter and I thought we did that.
“We made plays down the stretch. They are a great team, and we had to play just good enough to win.”
But it was looking bleak after Upland cut Glendora’s 14-point halftime advantage to 45-41 after three quarters before tying it at 45-45 two minutes into the fourth.
“We just told them to do what Upland basketball is supposed to do,” Upland coach John McNally said. “We did that in the second half.
“But when you did yourself that big of a hole and you comeback in the second half, there’s no room for error. You have to come out and execute for 16 minutes. We just didn’t do that in the second half.”
And Glendora, especially down the stretch, did.
The Tartans, after Upland tied it at 45 on a 3-pointer by John Gilliam and free throw by Anthony Fitzpatrick, countered with a 6-0 run to go up 51-45 at 4:02 following a 3-point play by Wesley Burke and free throws by Tim Foster-Kibbler and C.K. Bolado.
The Highlanders cut the deficit to three points three times in the final two minutes, including a putback by Fitzpatrick that made it 55-53 with eight seconds left.
Colletta then sank two free throws to clinch it.
“We made some adjustments (in the fourth quarter),” Colletta said. “They put a nice run on us in the second half.
“We were expecting it, though. We knew they were going to come out with some fire. But we just did a great job withstanding that and showed a lot of heart.”
Glendora, getting 14 points from Colletta, set the tone early by jumping out to leads of 15-6 in the first quarter and 23-12 early in the second before leading 33-19 at the break.
But 3-pointers by Pearson and two inside baskets by Fitzpatrick keyed a 20-7 Upland run that cut the deficit to 40-39 with 1:03 left in the third quarter.
“It took us a little while to figure out their zone in the first half,” McNally said. “Give Glendora credit. They did a great job. We just didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”
But the Highlanders did enough to scare the Tartans before regrouping in the fourth quarter.
Glendora withstood Upland’s run and led 45-41 by the end of the quarter following a 3-pointer by Gordon with 36 seconds to go and a layup by Doering with four seconds left.
The Tartans then used its 6-0 in the middle of the fourth quarter before Colletta, Gordon and Doering combined on five of six free throws to clinch it.
Julian Nichols made at 3-pointer at the buzzer to account for the final score.
“Every win is really great for us,” LeDuc said. “But when you play a team like Upland, which is really great, with a lot of great players, it’s great for us.”