Boys Basketball: Elimination night, Damien, La Verne Lutheran go down in semifinals

Boys Hoops Semifinals
Division 3AA

Price 63, La Verne Lutheran 58
Division 3A
Harvard Westlake 59, Damien 56

Damien misses 3 at buzzer: Harvard-Westlake’s Damiene Cain and Jordan Butler scored 17 points each and Zena Edosomwan blocked a Calvin White 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Spartans lost in the semifinals for the third consecutive season with a 59-56 setback to the Wolverines in a Division 3A game at Calabasas High School.

By Fred J. Robledo
La Verne Lutheran staged a furious fourth-quarter rally against visiting Price in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA boys basketball semifinals at Citrus College on Friday, but the Trojans attempt to advance to a fourth straight divisional final came up short, 63-58. (To continue click thread).

The Trojans trailed by 21 points with 3:40 left in the third quarter but finished the quarter with a 5-0 run and kept the momentum going in the fourth.
The Trojans opened the final quarter with a staggering 18-4 run to trim Price’s lead to 55-53 with 2:08 left — anyone’s game at that point with the Trojans home crowd going nuts.
“That’s an excellent basketball team,” Price coach Michael Lynch said. “We didn’t expect them to lay down and I told our guys at halftime they would make a run. They got their crowd going and we didn’t handle the ball well against their pressure.
“All of a sudden, we were in a game.”
Price senior guard Askia Booker, who is on his way to the University of Colorado, saved the Knights.
Booker finished with a team-high 20 points, answering the Trojans’ run by attacking the basket, getting fouled and making two free throws to push the Knights ahead, 57-53 with 1:45 left.
After the Trojans missed a 3-pointer that would have trimmed the lead to one, Booker got to the free throw line again and made both free throws, stretching Price’s lead to 59-53 with 49 seconds left.
After the Trojans missed another 3-pointer, their dreams of a magical comeback faded away.
“It was one of those days,” Lutheran coach Eric Cooper said. “We waited for the second half for everyone to play with energy. That was the key, we should have played in the beginning like we played at the end.”
Lutheran’s 6-foot-9 junior Grant Jerrett, who already has given a verbal commitment to attend Arizona, thoroughly outplayed Price’s 6-foot-9 senior Norvel Pelle, who is headed to St. John’s.
Jerrett sparked the Trojans’ fourth quarter rally, scoring 12 of his game high 26 points to go with nine rebounds and four blocks.
Defensively, Jerrett held Pelle to just 10 points.
“I’ve loved him (Jerrett) since his freshman year,” Lynch said. “He’s an excellent player with a great future. He really brought it.”
The Trojans’ Cameron Osorno scored 15 points and Eric Cooper Jr., and Bruce English finished with 5 apiece.
Both coaches thought it was a shame they didn’t have an opportunity to meet in a championship instead of a semifinal.
Price (22-6), winners of 10 CIF-SS divisional titles since 1999 and six state championships, is hoping to win its second consecutive divisional title next week against La Canada, along with a second consecutive state title next month.
Lutheran, which had advanced to three straight divisional titles and won twice, also was a defending divisional and state champ.
It was Lutheran’s second loss to Price this year. They lost 80-65 in January during a showcase event at the University of La Verne.
“I don’t want to get into somebody should of been here or there, but they would have represented the other side (of the bracket) very well,” Lynch said. “We knew this would have the feel of a championship game.”
By reaching the divisional semifinals the Trojans (21-5) qualify for the state playoffs, but will need an at-large berth to get in when teams are announced after the divisional championships next week.
“We’ll see what happens,” Cooper said. “The guys picking aren’t the type that necessarily give us the benefit of the doubt, but we’ll see.”

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  • Tech Support

    How big is the basketball gym up at Citrus? Just wondering what time one should get there to make sure they have a seat and its one of the few gyms in around here I have never been to.

  • curious gerge

    Is the citrus Gym easy to find never been to it before.

  • Man, who isn’t covering HS sports these days?
    Randy Rosenbloom doing a hit for Patch? doing videos with Price?

  • Citrus info

    The gym at Citrus sits directly in front of the parking lot off of Baranca (east side of the school)
    The seating capacity I believe is about 1700, with only balcony seating – no floor bleachers

  • westlake/citrus gym

    read about?? have to see these guys! westlake is fun to watch. and very good. 33 is an inside/outside lefty. 34 is an athlete with skill that has developed all season. but the guy that makes them go is #15. does majority of the dirty work and usually draws the teams best big man. ill be shocked if he doesnt guard reyes. i can see damien battling and playing well, and losing by 15. and that will not be a bad loss…and have no idea why la verne chose citrus. my guess is evertying else must be occupied. citrus is a terrible venue for this level of a game. but having said that, its going to be a hell of a game.

  • DHigh

    Lets go Damien!! Go Spartans!!

  • wrestling fan

    some local wrestlers are in temecula wrestling at masters right now.
    Thomas Morales from south hills high school has already qualified for state

  • DHS

    @westlake/citrus gym

    are you kiddng me, i was at the game today and #33 & 34 sucked so bad….lose by 15?? we actually lost by 3 but was bs cause the reff didnt call the foul at the end; we should of won that game but we just played pretty bad; westlake has too much hype there not actually a good team as everybody may think.

  • lutheran/price wrap up.

    :::so there was really nothing else available besides citrus??..damien? glendora? i found it funny that they stuffed everyone on one side and used the other side for “media”. but anywho…. it was an ok/good game. not much of a flow to it unlike the first match up. and over-officiated at times. not saying the refs did a bad job, but i would like to see 2 teams like this with a little more freedom. jarrett was very impressive tonight. especially in the 2nd half. he was the only player from laverne that looked like he belonged out there. price had a few chances to deliver the knock out blow but laverne scrapped its way back. a half court trap/run and jump plus the fact that the price guards continued to stop in “no mans land” contributed to the trojans scratching/clawing its way back into it. i thought price did a great job of rotating guards through and pressuring the trojan guards. they really looked overmatched. the confidence of the price guards bringing the ball up was superior to the trojan guards who were shaky at times. jarrett and booker were the 2 best players in the building tonight. congrats to price on getting to the title game. congrats to lv for another good season. and im pretty sure its not done.

  • Rob

    Damien was so close to beating the top ranked Harvard Westlake up there, a break or 2 and they would of pulled off the upset. Great game by the Spartans, I am holding off saying great season until hopefully they play another game in state.