Playing like seasoned varsity veterans, La Mirada’s young lineup upset Fresno 68-57 in Wednesday’s first round of the CIF Southern California Division 3 playoffs. The Matadores overcame a four hour-plus bus ride and a packed gym in their first-ever state tournament appearance, improving to 22-10.
La Mirada’s starting lineup includes sophomores Vittorio Reynoso-Avila and Anthony Newman and juniors Kendall Lauderdale and Dezmon Murphy, but they didn’t let the atmosphere Wednesday overwhelm them. Lauderdale scored 27 points and Murphy added 14, and Reynoso-Avila was stellar on defense. He guarded 6-foot-3 senior wing Daryl Edwards, a 24-points-a-game scorer, and held him to nine through three quarters.
La Mirada had about 15 fans in Fresno’s packed and loud gym but maintained a lead throughout the game.
“To make the trip up there, and playing in front of that big crowd,” said La Mirada coach Bryce Jones, “I was impressed with their composure.”
As a reward, the Matadores will visit No. 2 seed Cathedral (23-5) at 6 p.m. Saturday. Cathedral played in the CIF-SS Open Division before earning an at-large bid to the Division 3 playoffs. La Mirada lost in the Division 3AA semifinals and also earned an at-large entry.
“We feel like we don’t have a lot to lose right now,” Jones said.