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Slowdown, Showdown: El Dorado Is Ready for Kennedy’s Tactics

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Times Staff Writer

Coach Terry Conley has seen it before and he’s expecting to see it again tonight when his El Dorado team (5-1, 14-2) plays host to Empire League rival Kennedy (6-0, 13-3). The Stall. The Slowdown. Either way, it’s the defensive device that serves as the antidote for the Hawks’ nearly unstoppable speed and accurate shooting.

“We’re not surprising anybody anymore,” Conley said. “It’s no secret we like to run. We run every chance we get. So what we’ve been seeing is that in order to affect our quickness and the front court, teams have been slowing it down on us. We need to adopt to the zones we have been seeing. We can shoot against the zone.”

El Dorado, although it has deadly shooters and three returning first team all-league players, is short and not efficient rebounding. That was its downfall last week when Los Alamitos upset them.

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“We have good shooters, but we’re off a little from where we were at the start of the season,” Conley said. “Kennedy has just about everything. They are very strong and very physical. And very fast.”

Kennedy has a slick, fast-paced team. Forward Walter Lauderdale is an excellent outside shooter and isn’t afraid to drive. The key for Kennedy--Lauderdale is averaging 8.8 rebounds per game.

Other Empire League games: Esperanza at Cypress, Katella at Pacifica and Los Alamitos at Loara. CENTURY LEAGUE Villa Park (0-5, 4-10) at Santa Ana (3-2, 8-7): The Saints lost last Friday to Orange in bizarre fashion: with three seconds left in the game, a Santa Ana player called a time out but the team had no time outs left. The Saints were assessed a technical and the Panthers’ Dave Roth made the free throw to give Orange a 69-68 win. Santa Ana is led by center Roger Flores who is averaging 17 points and 9 rebounds per game. The Saints should make this a blowout. Also: El Modena at Santa Ana Valley, Canyon at Foothill and Tustin at Orange.

FREEWAY LEAGUE Sunny Hills (1-1, 7-9) at Sonora (2-0, 5-8): Looks like a Raider win but Sonora Coach Paul Bottiaux says: “We could just as easily be 0-2. I expect every game to go down to the wire and so far we’ve been fortunate to get the breaks in the end.” Sonora is led by Mike Samuelson who is averaging 15 points and 9 rebounds per game. Also: Fullerton at La Habra and Buena Park at Troy.

GARDEN GROVE LEAGUE Garden Grove (2-0, 9-6) at La Quinta (1-1, 5-8): The roles are reversed in the Garden Grove League this season. Usually it’s La Quinta that is the sure bet to win the league, with the other teams fighting for second and third. Now, it’s Garden Grove in the catbird seat. It’s too early to call this a showdown, but the Aztecs need a league win. Also: Santiago at Bolsa Grande and Los Amigos at Rancho Alamitos.

ORANGE LEAGUE: Brea (2-0, 14-4) at Savanna (2-0, 13-5): The teams match up fairly evenly, but as Savanna Coach Tom Gregory noted, “Their strength is up front, so is ours. But their strength is about six inches taller than ours.” The Rebels are capable of excellence, but have been inconsistent of late. Savanna is led by Tim Pittman who is averaging 21 points and 9 rebounds per game. Also: Magnolia at Valencia and Western at Anaheim.

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SEA VIEW LEAGUE Corona del Mar (3-2, 11-5) at Saddleback (3-2, 10-6): The Roadrunners have been the tough luck team of the league, but Coach Pat Quinn is hoping for a resurgence. “Losing to Estancia and Newport Harbor this early does not throw our season out the window,” Quinn said. “We have talked a lot to the kids and what we need to do is go out and secure third place.” Expect the Sea Kings to slow the tempo to offset the Roadrunners’ speed. Also: Laguna Beach at University, Woodbridge at Estancia and Newport Harbor at Costa Mesa.

SOUTH COAST LEAGUE Dana Hills (3-2, 11-4) at Laguna Hills (1-3, 9-8): The third-place Dolphins are led by Bryan McSweeney. The forward is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. The Hawks are off to a slow league start but last week upset Capistrano Valley. Also: Mission Viejo at Irvine and El Toro at San Clemente.

SUNSET LEAGUE Edison (2-1, 10-6) at Fountain Valley (2-1, 10-6): The teams are in a three-way tie for second (with Huntington Beach) in this closely-bunched league. Fountain Valley’s Brent Martin is the big gun, averaging 17 points per game. Also: Huntington Beach at Ocean View and Westminster at Marina.

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