By John Sherrard, Correspondent
LA PUENTE – Bishop Amat, behind a big second half from its two big men, defeated visiting Whittier 59-51 in a nonleague game for both teams Wednesday night at Bishop Amat High.
Senior forwards Jeffrey Wold and Joseph Cook led the Lancers with 17 and 15 points, respectively.
Whittier was led by senior Justin Mendoza with 11 points and junior Guillermo Blas with 10 points, including two 3-pointers.
The game was a final tune-up for both teams before they play in post-Christmas tournaments.
Whittier will host its third annual Holiday Classic, while Amat plays in the Covina Christmas tournament next week.
“They (Wold and Cook) did a good job, especially in the second half,” Bishop Amat coach Brandon Ertle said. “Our guards did a good job getting the ball down into position to them.”
Both Cook and Wold only managed seven first-half points, but came alive in the second half to help the Lancers to a 7-4 record.
Whittier fell to 6-5.
Amat jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in the first quarter, highlighted by a 3-pointer by junior Jacob Valle (nine points).
After a timeout, the Cardinals came alive and climbed back into the game with a 10-4 run to trail 11-10. Blas made his first long-range shot to bring the Cardinals back.
Whittier controlled the second quarter, outscoring the Lancers 15-8 on seven points by sophomore Dominic Saldana (7 points), who made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the first half to lead 27-24.
The Lancers, who are ranked No. 7 in the CIF-Southern Section division 3A, built a 41-34 lead in the third quarter after behind 6-0 and 7-0 runs.
“We came out in the second half and just worked hard,” Cook said.
“They (teammates) just find ways to get me the ball inside. They (Whittier) fought hard, but we were able to come out on top.”
Whittier climbed back to within 47-45 with 4:30 left on a short jump shot by Blas, but were outscored the final four minutes 12-6.
“I’ve got a bunch of young kids and they like to take minutes off and we always have to play catch up,” Whittier coach Joey Mata said.
“We’re learning and I always explain to them that preseason is preparing us for league.”