ST. PAUL 62, EASTLAKE 44
SANTA FE SPRINGS — St. Paul High School’s basketball success over the past decade had been limited to the girls team.But times have changed for the Swordsmen, who now field a pretty good boys squad. They proved how good again on Friday.Louis Bangai scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds and St. Paul advanced to the CIF Southern Section quarterfinals with a 62-44 victory over Lancaster Eastside in a Division 3A second-round game at St. Paul.
The No. 2 Swordsmen (22-5), who also got 14 points from Nate Kasongo and 12 from Kylan Mann, advanced to the second round of 4A last season. They will face either Paraclete or Lompoc Cabrillo, who meet at a site to be determined. Amahd Bey scored 12 points for Eastside (14-14).
The Swordsmen pretty much sealed it early, beginning the game with an 11-0 surge that Eastside was never really able to cut into. Bangai had an inside shot and Kasongo had three free throws and two layups to key the quick start.
Bey hit a 3-pointer to begin the third quarter to get within 28-21, but St. Paul countered with two free throws by Bangai and a Kasongo’ fast-break layup to get the lead to 11 at 32-21 before leading 47-34 after three quarters.
Bangai, who was 14 of 17 from the free-throw line, pushed it to 51-36 with two free throws and an 8-foot fallaway with six minutes to play.
The lead blossomed to 58-38 with three minutes left following a Bangai three-point play and a layup by Kasongo.
“We started off (well) with our defense,” Bangai said. “We got them off the 3-point line and make them drive shots inside against me. Our defense was the key to the game.”
St. Paul coach Damaine Powell: “I thought the bye really helped us. They had to play a tough game in Ventura two days ago and then on one day’s rest drive out here in the rain. Their energy was low and I thought we capitalized on that. It was a 10-point game for the most part and we kind of separated a little bit in the third quarter.”
St. Paul’s Louis Bangai: “This is my senior year. Last year was nice, but our goal is to win the championship, so I have to pick it up every time I step on the court. That’s how I going to help my team win.”
— Stephen Ramirez
RANCHO MIRAGE 65, SANTA FE 58
SANTA FE SPRINGS — When Rancho Mirage’s Charles Neal walked off the court as the first half expired, he knew that his team still had a chance to come from behind. His team was facing an 11-point deficit with five seconds left on the clock, when Neal hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to pull the Rattlers within single digits.His instinct proved to be on the money as Rancho Mirage overcame its eight-point halftime deficit, behind Neal’s game-high 28 points, to knock off Santa Fe in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 3A playoffs.Neal’s 19 second-half points led the way for Rancho Mirage’s second-half surge.
The momentum shifted quickly at the start of the third quarter, when the Rattlers (27-3) went on a quick 6-0 run to slice their deficit to two points. Santa Fe managed to answer Rancho Mirage’s fast start with a much-needed 3-pointer from senior Joshua Hernandez with 5:40 remaining in the third to give the Chiefs a 38-33 advantage. Hernandez made 5 of 6 shot attempts, and was 4 for 4 from beyond the 3-point arc, for a team-high 15 points.
The Chiefs (19-9) managed to maintain the lead for the entire third quarter, but with 6:48 left in the game, Neal made a nice step back move and swished a baseline jumper to give the Rattlers a 50-48 lead, their first since the beginning of the first quarter.
With the score tied at 58, Rancho Mirage junior Koby Alvarez stepped up and hit a corner 3 for a three-point lead. Rattled after Alvarez’s shot, Santa Fe went scoreless in the last 1:22 of the game.
Corona finished with 13 points for the Chiefs while teammate Damian Santana chipped in 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Rancho Mirage’s 6-foot-7 junior Bryan Talley finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Santa Fe coach Leonard Romero: “We knew being at home, our crowd is great and we knew that it didn’t matter if the momentum shifted we would get it back to our side. But towards the end they made some big plays, some big shots and it kind of just carried away.”
— Will Hernandez
SCHURR 74, OCEAN VIEW 63
HUNTINGTON BEACH — Ocean View’s young boys basketball team displayed skill in spurts in their CIF-SS Division 3AA second round playoff game against visiting Schurr on Friday.But Schurr’s experience was evident, especially in the fourth quarter, when the Spartans played flawlessly and came away with a 74-63 victory.
Ocean View finishes the season with a 22-7 record, and were 10-0 in the Orange League.
But the Seahawks, whose roster is filled with juniors and sophomores, probably hadn’t seen a league opponent close to the caliber of the Jaedyn Bonilla, who led all scorers with 32 points, including a 14-for-15 performance from the free throw line.
In the fourth quarter, Bonilla was 8 for 8 from the line and the Spartans (22-7) hit 13 of 15, making it impossible for the Seahawks to erase an eight-point deficit over the final three minutes.
Paul Head led the Seahawks with 27 points, and made three 3-pointers that would have counted from NBA distance.
The Spartans opened the contest on a 16-9 run, highlighted by four 3-pointers.
Ocean View came back with a 13-2 run that included 3-pointers from Vincent Ciazzo, Christian Roberts and Paul Head.
But Schurr closed out the second quarter on a 10-2 run to take a 32-27 halftime lead.
The Seahawks best quarter of the game was the third, when they outscored Schurr 21-14, including a 10-4 run at the end of the quarter that tied the score at 46.
A 3-pointer from Bonilla early in the fourth put the Spartans ahead 51-48.
Kevin Sandoval’s first 3-pointer of the quarter put Schurr up 60-52 with 3:17 remaining and the junior’s second 3-pointer a minute later made the score 63-54, too many points for the Seahawks to make up.
— Lou Ponsi
CALABASAS 80, SONORA 69
LA HABRA — One by one they funneled out of the locker room postgame, some with sweatshirt hoods on, the others with heads down, ultimately trying to mask the dejected feeling that was starting to sink in as they were met by family and friends for embraces of consolation.Chasing a lead from the middle of the first quarter on, fourth-seeded Sonora was unable to string together any semblance of consecutive defensive stops in the fourth quarter as Calabasas’ unselfish brand of offense repeatedly produced clutch buckets late as the Coyotes knocked off the Raiders 80-69 in a Division 1AA second round boys basketball game at Sonora High Friday night.
Suffering just their fourth loss of the season, the Raiders finished the year with a 25-4 clip. Calabasas (20-9) improved to 14-1 since the start of the new year and advances to play Rancho Verde on the road in next Tuesday night’s quarterfinals.
While four players finished in double figures for both squads, Calabasas had eight players account for field goals to Sonora’s five. Coyotes junior forward Ben Kaslow scored 10 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter. Calabasas scored 33 points in the fourth, and notched points on 17 of their 20 possessions in the final eight minutes.
Trailing by six entering the final quarter, Sonora cut the deficit to a 1 early in the fourth, and on three separate possessions found itself within two or three points of the Coyotes.
With Calabasas’ nifty passing leading to easy baskets combined with Sonora’s 3-of-9 shooting in the final 2:30 of regulation, the Raiders were never able to even the score.
Raiders junior forward Lucas Everett led the team with 17 points on five 3-pointers.
Sonora’s Kevin Marlow: “It was one of those games where it just wasn’t our night. We couldn’t really make anything in the second half and they were making everything. I don’t think we played bad by any means, they’re just a good team and we got beat tonight.”
— Zach Cavanagh
Calabasas 80, Sonora 69
Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary 85, Temecula Valley 66
Cajon 67, Whittier 42
Rancho Mirage 65, Santa Fe 58
Schurr 74, Ocean View 63
St. Paul 62, Eastside 44
La Serna at San Gabriel Academy, 7 p.m.
All games begin at 7 p.m.
Santa Monica (20-7) at Cantwell-SHM (14-14)
Schurr at Rancho Mirage
La Serna-San Gabriel Academy winner vs. Brentwood, site TBA
St. Paul at Paraclete-Lompoc Cabrillo winner