SOUTHERN SECTION BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS : 3-A : Brea-Olinda Outlasts Troy, 53-46, Faces Rolling Hills in 2nd Round
Brea-Olinda High School Coach Rick Jones was not pleased with his team’s play Friday night, even though his Wildcats defeated Troy, 53-46, in a first-round game of the Southern Section division 3-A playoffs at Troy.
“I thought we played terrible,” Jones said. “Nobody who was out there for us played like he was capable of playing.”
It may have seemed curious that he was so unhappy with what looked like an upset in the playoff bracket, but the win was not the upset it seemed.
Brea (18-8), the No. 3 playoff entry from the Orange League, defeated Troy, the No. 1 entry from the Freeway League. But Brea had finished in a three-way tie for first in its league, and a coin flip designated the Wildcats the third-place entry. And Troy, which finished second in league, took the top playoff spot by winning the Freeway League Tournament.
None of that was lost on Jones, who found little to praise. But part of his disappointment may stem from looking at who his team plays in the second round Tuesday: top-seeded Rolling Hills (23-3).
“For us to get by them we’d have to play the best we ever played,” Jones said.
Troy (18-8), which had trailed by as many as nine, twice cut the lead to two in the fourth quarter, but was never able to tie the score. A driving basket by Jim Bridges made it 37-35 with 7:37 to play, and a Brea miss gave the Warriors a chance to tie it. Troy missed as well, and then got two more chances to tie after consecutive Brea turnovers, but still couldn’t score.
A follow shot by Brea’s Bob Terry, who led all scorers with 19, gave the Wildcats a four-point lead. Troy’s Mark Rudometkin (10 points) scored to cut it to two for the final time with 5:30 remaining but Terry scored three points in the next 30 seconds and Troy was never close again.
Brea used a 1-3-1 zone trap through most of the game. The defense didn’t result in a lot of turnovers, but it did seem to take Troy out of its offense. The Warriors, who played most of the season under the Freeway League’s three-point shot rule, seemed disoriented without it. Rudometkin, the Warriors’ leading scorer, made only five of 14 shots, one of seven in the first half.
Ron Thomas added 14 for Brea, and Gary Chiotti scored 10. Austin Yu led Troy with 11 points. Brad DeLoof added nine.
The Wildcats took a nine-point lead, 22-13, midway through the second quarter, even though they made only five shots in the first half. Brea took that lead by making 12 of 12 first-half foul shots. But after taking the big lead with four minutes left in the half, the Wildcats didn’t score again until after halftime, allowing Troy to close to 22-21 by scoring eight straight points.
Brea scored the first basket of the third quarter and led. “We didn’t play very well,” Jones said. “We made too many mistakes.”
But most of Jones’ disappointment seemed focused in the future.
“I know darn well we have to play better than that against Rolling Hills.”