Del Rio League hoops: Whittier makes a statement

One game into high school league basketball play doesn’t determine a
championship, but it clearly can send a message.
Friday’s opening game action:
La Serna 44, Whittier 40

It was one of those coulda-woulda-shoulda games for the visiting Cardinals. They led by 14 at halftime, then couldn’t hang. La Serna was typical Mike Lowe-La Serna: Never say die and accept nothing less. Still, Whittier’s aggressive defense created problems for the Lancers. But that won’t surprise the rest of the league.

Pioneer 50, California 36
Coach Joey Mata’s program has been close in recent seasons but hasn’t been able to win the games it needed to get over the top. This may be the year. Michael Crosby on the baseline will be a problem for most everyone, and G/F Michael Saldana can shoot with anyone. California is still finding an identity after major lineup adjustments.

El Rancho 41, Santa Fe 36
The Dons are still an unknown this season, but winning games you are supposed to win is always a plus, and this was one of those games for them. Santa Fe is struggling under new coach Dan Galvan, so look at this as a building year.

Whittier 61, La Serna 39

Whittier’s defense mirrors the Cardinals boys program, quick, aggressive and non-stop.
They key playing them is staying focused on what you do and not so much on what they do. Easier said than done.

Santa Fe 51, El Rancho 42
The host Chiefs trailed at halftime, 18-14, rallied to lead, 28-25 after three quarters, and then pulled away. Another of those “should win” games for Santa Fe if the Chiefs are to compete with Whittier for the title.

California 45, Pioneer 39
The Condors’ pressure defense wanted to push Pioneer away from the basket so the Titans responded with nine 3-pointers. California had an 11-point lead late in the game but allowed the Titans to make a game of it.

First impressions of the league race:
Whittier’s manner of play, both the girls and the boys, will have a huge impact on the outcomes by the end of the season. You may not like their aggressiveness, but coupled with their quickness, especially the girls’, is a style born to disrupt.


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