By Eric Terrazas, SGVN
SANTA FE SPRINGS – Josiah Corona scored a game-high 28 points to lift St. Paul High School to a 72-67 victory over Fairmont Prep in Wednesday’s first-round game of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4A boys basketball playoffs.
The host Swordsmen (15-12) advanced to Friday’s second-round game at St. Bonaventure, which defeated Rosamond on Wednesday.
St. Paul overcame the 1-2 punch of Fairmont Prep’s Brennan Merchant and Bobby Varnadoe, who combined for 52 points.
Merchant scored 27 points to pace the Huskies, who finished 14-14. Varnadoe added 25 points.
St. Paul coach Shawn Clingan expressed high praise for Corona.
“He provided good senior leadership like he has done all year,” Clingan said of his senior guard. “We didn’t do a good job of putting them away, but we scored when we had to – and that’s always a good thing. We feel fortunate at being able to practice (today) and have a game on Friday. Several teams are already putting away their equipment.”
Corona said St. Paul’s first-round triumph was an overall team effort.
“I want to thank my teammates for playing their hearts out and advancing to the second round,” Corona said. “I just want to thank our defense and our coaches.
“Our team played good defense when it came down to it. It was a great team win.”