SEMIFINALS: Glendora got 18 points from Brandon Brothers in an easy 63-42 win over Walnut and Keppel’s Kyler Lee poured in 28 points in a narrow 55-50 win over Rowland to advance to tonight’s championship
Glendora and Keppel high schools were both pushed after enjoying early leads Friday.
But both showed their poise, making key plays down the stretch to score wins and advance to tonight’s Glendora Tournament boys basketball championship game.
The host Tartans, getting 18 points from Brandon Brothers and 15 from Thomas Rico, closed the final four minutes with an 18-5 run on their way to a 63-43 victory over Walnut.
Kyler Lee scored 28 points and Keppel overcame a second-half charge from Rowland to score a 55-50 win.
The Tartans (9-1) and Aztecs (6-3) will square off for the title at 7:30 p.m. today at Glendora High.
“Keppel’s another really well-coached team,” Glendora coach Mike LeDuc said. “They run their stuff really well. They play really hard, have some good shooters.
“I think it’s really good for us to play a good team like that. Hopefully, we play well.”
The Tartans played just well enough to get by Walnut, which looked like it might pull off the upset after cutting a 15-point deficit to 45-37 with six minutes left in the fourth quarter following back-to-back baskets by L.J. Besong.
But Glendora came up big down the stretch.
Rico and A.J. Bigornia hit back-to-back jumpers to push it to 49-38 with five minutes left before Rico nailed a 3-pointer for a 54-40 lead at 4:23.
“It really came down to that we made some big defensive stops and we got some baskets off some free-lance basketball,” LeDuc said. “That’s what made the difference.”
Glendora then wrapped it up with a Rico short jumper and a putback by Kyle Bracy for a 60-43 lead with 2:22 left.
Besong led Walnut (5-3) with 12 points.
“We don’t believe in the moral victory type thing,” Walnut coach Josh Cameron said. “We want to win every game. I’m encouraged by their fight, but I believe my kids will fight every game. I think we gave a bad performance late in the third and fourth quarters.”
Keppel, which led Rowland 18-2 at one point in the first half, used a 16-5 surge in the fourth quarter to put away the Raiders (6-3). Lee had 10 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer that gave the Aztecs a 53-42 lead with 1:24 to play.
“We let the lead get away,” Keppel coach Hung Duong said. “But I like how our kids responded. They hung tough, stayed with it and we pulled it out.”
Rowland, getting 14 points from Chris Arzadon and 11 from Joe Dioniso, came back from a 17-point deficit in the first half with 34-17 run to get even at 37 going into the fourth quarter.
But they couldn’t stop Lee and the Aztecs late.
“We had good energy to begin the fourth quarter,” Rowland coach Gordon Hamlow said. “But you can’t get behind like that and have to play catch-up and expect your energy to be there the whole game.”