By John Honell
COVINA — With first place on the line, Workman took a huge step toward its third consecutive Montview League title by rallying for a 43-39 win over host Gladstone on Friday night.
The Lobos (18-6, 11-1) came from behind in the second half to knock off the Gladiators (19-3, 10-2), who were seeking their first league championship since 2000. The Lobos have a one-game lead over the Gladiators with two to play.
J.P. Rodriguez brought the Lobos within two points, 17-15, with two long 3-pointers in the last minute of the first half.
He hit back-to-back long 3s to open the third quarter, then forced a turnover that led to a layup by Oliver Lopez. After a Gladiators timeout, he stole the ball at mid-court and made a layup for the Lobos’ biggest lead of the game 25-19.
Workman coach Martin Flores: “That seemed to rock them back on their heels. It was just enough and these guys kept their composure and got a couple of steals and took care of it. J.P. is our MVP. He seems to come up the big plays at the right moment.”
Gladstone coach Gary Kilmer: That’s kind of been Workman’s M.O. They come out strong in the third quarter. We answered the bell but that (J.P. Rodriguez) buried some long shots. He had an outstanding game but we had our chances.”
J.P. Rodriguez: “I just felt like we had to pick up our defense. Our offense was really slow. I was trying to get a better shot because (Gladstone’s) Ben Reaves is a really good defender and I got just a little bit of space so I just had to shoot it (even if it was a long shot).”
By John Honell