The Big U’s, Udengwu and Ugoagu led Diamond Ranch past Covina 68-61 in Azusa tourney title game; Glendora tourney final four tonight

Tonight’s semifinals
Rowland (6-2) vs. Keppel (5-3), 6 p.m. — Robledo’s toaking Rowland
Walnut (5-2) vs. Glendora (8-1), 7:30 p.m. – Robledo’s taking Glendora

Covina led for much of Thursday’s championship and got 33 points from super guard Mike Peters, but the Panthers eventually reeled them in and one in overtime …

By Steve Ramirez, staff writer

Any success the Diamond Ranch High School boys basketball team will have this season is likely due to the efforts of Nnadi Udengwu and Ernest Ugoagu.

It certainly was Thursday night.

Udengwu scored 20 points and Ugoagu added 19 and the Panthers overcame a double-digit deficit in the second half to score a 68-61 victory over Covina in overtime to claim the Azusa Tournament title.

Ugoagu had six points in the extra period.

Diamond Ranch (7-2) also got 12points from Ethan Jarrell and eight from Jesse Garibay.

Mike Peters scored 33 points to lead the Colts (6-3). Blythe Curry had 10 points for Covina, which led 37-27 at halftime and 43-37 after three quarters.

“They are our guys,” Diamond Ranch coach Loren Grover said of his duo, which has combined for 37 points a game.

“Nnadi is our senior and was MVP of the tournament, and he’s great. There’s no one I’d rather coach, and Ernest, who is a junior, is really starting to come into this own. He’s going to be special.

“The two of them when they work together, magic is happening.”

It certainly happened in the fourth quarter.

Covina, after clinging to an 8-10 point lead for much of the first three quarters, suddenly was in a fight, and fell behind 55-54 with 1:56 left following an inside shot by Ryan Talmadge and a 3-pointer by Jarrell.

Peters put the Colts back on top 57-55 with a three-point play with 1:05 left before Udengwu made two free throws with 37 seconds left to tie it at 57.

Covina’s Matt Hicks, who had six points and six rebounds, missed an 11-footer at the end of regulation.

“They’re a very athletic team, a well-coached team,” Covina coach Will Bissman said. “They picked up the pressure (in the fourth quarter). We handled it OK. But it definitely wore us down.”

Ugoagu then took over in overtime, giving Diamond Ranch a 60-57 lead with a 3-pointer at 3:24 before pushing it to 62-57 with an inside shot 20 seconds later.

Garibay followed with an inside shot to make it 64-57 before a basket by Peters cut it to 64-59 at 2:32.

An Udengwu putback all but sealed it at 66-59 with 2:12 to play.

“A true team starts with defense,” Grover said. “We’ve been building and building, and I think (the players) started to see they had an opportunity there (in the fourth quarter). It just kind of raised the energy level a little bit.”

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  • gtownalum2008

    congrats dranch! i knew you get the payback lets go gtown and rowland!! then gtown for the title baby!!

  • gtownalum2008

    dang keppel wins by 5

  • Tournament Director


    Covina Christmas Tournament (December 26 – 29, 2012)

    Last minute drop out, must find one team to fill in 16 team bracket. There will be no charge. All games played in the recently remodeled Covina High
    school gym. If interested, please contact Coach Bissman immediately by
    phone, text, or e-mail.

    Coach Bissman
    (626) 484-6383

    1. Damien
    2. La Salle
    3. Rowland
    4. Cal (Whittier)
    5. Covina
    6. Bishop Amat
    7. Los Altos
    8. South Hills
    9. Northview
    10. Charter Oak
    11. Mountain View
    12. Sierra Vista
    13. South El Monte
    14. Azusa
    15. Bassett
    16. ???????