By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
It wasn’t exactly shock and awe, but the Pasadena High School boys basketball team came close to it.
With precision, speed and execution, the second-seeded Bulldogs blitzed Bonita in the first quarter to end on a 15-3 run, en route to a 64-50 win Tuesday night in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA playoffs.
Pasadena (22-7) will host Beverly Hills (20-9) in Friday’s semifinals at Muir.
Bonita (25-5) had no answer for the Bulldogs in the first quarter, succumbing to their pressure that resulted in nine first-quarter turnovers. The Bearcats finished with 19 turnovers.
Pasadena led 22-7 after the first, and although Bonita, which trailed by as many as 19, made a valiant second-half run it never closed the gap under 10. (To continue click thread)
TUESDAY’S BOYS BASKETBALL PLAYOFF RESULTS
Capistrano Valley 58, Walnut 39
Vista Murrieta 69, Chino Hills 68
Leuzinger 68, Glendora 59
Riverside Poly 44, Ayala 42
Arroyo Grande 50, Damien 43
Pasadena 65, Bonita 50
Alemany 68, Bishop Amat 37
St. John Bosco 68, Covina 35
Yorba Linda 45, Charter Oak 28
La Verne Lutheran 50, Oaks Christian 48
Friday’s Division 4AA semifinal
Crespi vs. La Verne Lutheran at University of La Verne, 7 p.m.
Glendora can’t match Leuzinger from distance
By Fred J. Robledo
Glendora shot the ball well from distance against visiting Leuzinger during Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 2A second-round boys basketball playoff.
But Leuzinger stroked it better, nailing 10 three-pointers and hitting clutch three’s at the end of the half and third quarter and rode that momentum to a 68-59 victory to eliminate Glendora from the playoffs.
Fourth-seed Leuzinger (23-5) advances to Friday's quarterfinals against either Dominguez or Elsinore while the Tartans finish the season 20-10.
"They had a couple of those daggers that hurt us," Tartans coach Mike LeDuc said. "They're so explosive and they shoot so many three's that we knew that could happen.
"They're kind of like us in that we shoot a lot of three's to go ahead. But they hit some big shots, particularly at the end of quarters."
Leuzinger's Eric Childress finished with a game-high 23 points and Eric Simms finished with 18. Both Childress and Simms nailed five 3-pointers each, and they needed all of them because the Tartans hit a bunch of long shots too.
Glendora's Kyle Gordon drained five 3-pointers to finish with a team-high 17 points and Wesley Burke and Alex Pink each had 12 points as the Tartans drained nine 3-pointers in all -- they just couldn't match the Olympians in the big moments.
After trailing by five points early in the second quarter, the Tartans scored seven straight points to take a 29-22 lead, but Childress hit a long 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to cut the Tartans' lead to 29-25 at the break.
Gordon scored the first eight points of the third quarter, including two 3-pointers to give the Tartans their biggest lead, 37-28.
But the Olympians quieted the crowd with a 13-0 run to go up 41-27.
Glendora regained the momentum by scoring six quick points punctuated with Burke's 3-pointer. But Simms ended the quarter with a 3-pointer just past midcourt to give Leuzinger the momentum again and a 44-43 lead heading into the final quarter.
"Those six points (at the end of the second and third quarters) really hurt and we didn't play a good fourth quarter at all," LeDuc said. "They increased the pressure in the fourth quarter and we didn't respond.
"They really are a fine team, they're fast and shoot the ball well and they did both in the fourth quarter."
Leuzinger seized control by going on a 9-2 run to open the fourth to take a 53-45 lead.
Pink's dunk trimmed the Olympians' lead to 55-52, but Childress answered with another 3-pointer to go back up 58-52.
It was one of those nights. Every time it looked like the Tartans might make a push, the Olympians answered with a big shot.
It was a tough way for the Tartans to end.
They had big expectations when the season began, but injuries hampered them throughout the season and 6-foot-5 junior Nick Colletta, their leading scorer from a year ago, was not available for the playoffs because of lingering back issues.
"With all the bad luck we had with injuries, we still won 20 games and we had a great group of guys that really played well together and got along," LeDuc said. "So, overall, it was a really good year considering everything. I'm really proud of them. We had some seniors step up and play well, that's all you can ask for."
“The first five minutes we sort of got blitzed,” Bonita coach Greg Eckler said. “It was just too late before we found ourselves. I wish we had back those first five minutes.”
Pasadena coach Tim Tucker scouted Bonita two weeks before the season ended, knowing well that the Bearcats presented a challenge with their deft perimeter shooting, led by Matt Adamo’s 14 points. Brandon Ko proved tenacious for the Bearcats, finishing with 13 points, six assists and five rebounds. The Bulldogs reversed roles, this time getting off to a strong start before complacency ensued in the second half.
“I didn’t want (Bonita) on my side of the bracket,” Tucker said. “This is the game I pointed that was scary to me, and they prove dit. When we could have knocked them out early we didn’t. I thought we just outlasted them. I don’t think we did anything great down the stretch.”
Blake Hamilton accentuated the Bulldogs’ speed with two fastbreak dunks to finish with 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds along with three blocks and three steals. Sophomore point guard Ajon Efferson led the way for Pasadena with a game-high 18 points and three assists.
The Bulldogs shot better (42 percent on 20 of 47) than the Bearcats (36 percent on 20 of 55) but what seemingly kept Bonita in the game was its offensive rebounding edge (14-7) and ability to take the Bulldogs out of their element. Pasadena’s run-and-gun offense and easy buckets in transition was virtually nonexistent in the second half.
“We’d take quick shots and we go down the court and play defense for 25 seconds,” Tucker said. “They were making the game longer for us than we were making it for them, thus we looked real tired down the stretch.”
John Haywood’s steal and fastbreak layup with 6:06 left in the game gave Pasadena a 27-8 lead. But it was Bonita on the ensuing possession had three offensive rebounds before Bryan Mahood (12 points, 5 rebounds) hit an 8-foot jumper, much to the chagrin of Tucker, who called a timeout.
“We were standing around, making one pass and shooting the ball,” Tucker said. “Every fourth (possession) we did (run our offense) but for the most part we didn’t.”
Pasadena forward Brandon Jolley, who finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, 8 assists and three steals, said the team lacked mental focus.
“We got a lead and decided to take it easy,” he said. “We were just thinking they were not a good team, and we were helping them.”
Pasadena did just enough to get by. Hamilton’s dunk on a fastbreak off a Haywood no-look pass made it 31-18 with 1:22 left in the second quarter. Jolley found Hamilton down the baseline for another dunk with 1:01 left in the game to make it 61-47.
“Every time I thought we made a run, they answered,” Eckler said. “Every time. They’d hit a three or a jumper. They’re really good.”