By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Meeting for the first time in playoff history and in front of an overflow crowd bursting with energy, fourth seed and host Damien held off fifth-seeded Bonita, 52-44, in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3A boys basketball quarterfinals Tuesday to advance to the semifinals for the third straight year. (To continue click thread)
Lutheran advances to meet Price: Fourth-seeded La Verne Lutheran High School had to come from behind to knock off No. 5 seed Corona del Mar, 53-49, in a CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA quarterfinal game at Chaffey College on Tuesday night.
Amat, Walnut season’s over: Bishop Amat High School’s boys basketball team saw its run end one win shy of reaching the semifinals for the second consecutive season, after a bad second half did in the Lancers in a 85-59 loss at Alemany in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4A quarterfinals Tuesday night.
CIF-SS Boys Basketball playoffs
Tonight’s quarterfinals, 7 p.m.
Aliso Niguel 73, Walnut 64
La Verne Lutheran 53, Corona del Mar 49
Damien 52, Bonita 44
Alemany 85, Bishop Amat 59
Orange Lutheran 78, Northview 57
And that’s exactly what the Spartans’ role players did. J.J. Pavia scored seven of his team- high 10 points in the second half to go with seven rebounds, and guards Clayton White and Gian Demano chipped in with nine points apiece – and they weren’t settling for jump shots, they were attacking the paint at every opportunity.
The Spartans (26-3) will be on the road in the semifinals against top seed Harvard-Westlake, which beat Cerritos 73-58 on Tuesday, while the Bearcats finish 26-4.
“We have a lot of good players,” Damien coach Matt Dunn said. “We have a lot of guys that live in the gym, and when you live in the gym, you have an opportunity to improve, and we’ve tried really hard to improve the last three years.”
Bonita received a game-high 15 points from guard Jordan Butler and 11 from James Northup, but trailed 26-21 at halftime and 38-31 entering the fourth quarter, when it made its final push. Bonita scored the first five points of the fourth and trailed 40-38 with 4:30 left after Garrett Pendleton’s inside basket, but the key play came with Damien clinging to a 46-44 lead with time winding down: White missed a floater, but Reyes was there to tip it in, giving the Spartans a 48-44 lead with 55 seconds left.
Bonita didn’t score a field goal the rest of the way, missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Kevin Mansour stole the ball from Northup with 25 seconds left and scored for a 50-44 lead to seal the victory.
Reyes finished with only six points, but he was a monster defensively, finishing with eight blocks and challenging everything at the rim.
“(Reyes) can change the game a lot of ways,” Dunn said. “He did a good job of just playing and not getting frustrated just because he was struggling offensively.”
For Reyes, he was more than happy to watch others enjoy the spotlight.
“If we’re going to win a championship, this is how it has to be,” Reyes said. “If teams want to take me out and make it tough, we showed tonight we got a lot of guys that can beat you.”
Bonita and Damien had met eight times since the 2004-05 season and won four each before meeting for the first time in the postseason.
“It’s really special to play in this kind of environment; this is why you coach,” Dunn said. “It’s disappointing we had to do this in the quarterfinals, because I think Bonita is a really, really good team.
“But at the same time, I’m glad it’s over with and we can move on.”