Laguna Beach Tournament : Middleton Leads Tustin to Easy Victory

Times Staff Writer

Tustin High School forward Rog Middleton, who turned down a scholarship offer from UC Irvine three weeks ago, left his mark on San Clemente Monday in the opening round of the 17th Laguna Beach basketball tournament.

Middleton scored 23 points and had 11 rebounds in three quarters as the Tillers gained an 80-48 victory in their season opener.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. Dec. 3, 1986 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday December 3, 1986 Home Edition Sports Part 3 Page 7 Column 2 Sports Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Serra High School of Gardena scored a 120-15 victory over Fallbrook’s junior varsity basketball team--not the varsity--as reported in Tuesday’s edition of The Times. The game was played in the Laguna Beach Tournament at Laguna Beach High School.

Middleton, 6-feet 4-inches and 200 pounds, shot primarily from the 6- to 12-feet range. He was 9 of 14 from the field and made 5 of 6 free throws.

Middleton took recruiting trips to Utah State and Irvine but declined to sign a national letter of intent during the early signing period because he’s unsure of his academic major.

But there’s little uncertainity about his basketball skills. Middleton scored eight points in the third quarter, when the Tillers outscored San Clemente, 22-6. Leo Parker added 15 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocked shots for Tustin.


“Our inside game is our strength,” Tiller Coach Tim O’Brien said. “I was pleased with the way we played considering it was our first game. We should get a real test on Wednesday against Serra.”

Serra, runner-up in the Southern Section’s 5-A division last year, set a tournament record in a 120-15 victory over Fallbrook to set up a second-round meeting with Tustin. The Cavaliers used a full-court press to open a 62-6 halftime lead as Fallbrook failed to score a field goal until 50 seconds remained in the half.

Estancia 96, Santiago 55--Estancia made 20 of 26 free throws, and Santiago made 9 of 18, which proved to be the difference.

Estancia’s Brian Tift, youngest son of former UC Irvine Coach Tim Tift, led all scorers with 19 points, making 9 of 12 shot attempts. All five Eagle starters scored in double figures.

Santiago, guided by new Coach Curtis Johnson, kept the game close until the third quarter, when Estancia outscored the Cavaliers, 28-15. The Eagles made 13 of 21 shot attempts in the third quarter, scoring easy baskets off an effective fast break.

Katella 64, Laguna Beach 49--Center Richard Lucas, who will attend Oregon State next fall, scored 24 points to lead the Knights. Katella opened a 39-23 lead at halftime with a full-court press that wore out the Artists. Katella meets Estancia at 7 p.m. Thursday night in the second round.