Brad Smith, Bonita High School boys' basketball coach, sounded a bit uneasy--and rightfully so--when discussed the strategy he would use against Tustin Tuesday night.
"Stop their big guy," Smith said, referring to center Leo Parker, who averages 20.3 points a game. "And stop their outside shot."
Smith's lofty goals fell flat, however, as third-seeded Tustin routed Bonita, 83-61, in a Southern Section 3-A second-round game at Tustin.
The Tillers (22-5) advance to a quarterfinal game against Alhambra Friday night at a site to be determined. Bonita finished 13-12.
Parker, who led Tustin with 22 points, couldn't have ruined Bonita's night any earlier. Parker scored seven straight points--mostly off offensive rebounds--in the game's first three minutes. Parker finished the first quarter with 11 points, two blocked shots, an assist and a steal.
Brad Cantrell had two three-point shots--the second from 30 feet with one second remaining in the quarter. B. LeSean London had four steals and three assists. Dylon Stieler made two drives through traffic.
When Smith finally lifted his head out of his hands, Tustin had a 24-9 first-quarter lead.
In the second quarter, Smith called upon his star forward, Eric Smith (no relation), who averaged 28 points this season.
Smith, guarded by Cantrell, was held to only two points in the first quarter. Though Smith--who finished with his average, 28 points--scored seven points in the second quarter, it didn't look too promising. He was stripped of the ball twice by London and had two shots blocked by Parker.
In between Bonita's blunders--the Bear Cats made six turnovers in the second quarter, 22 in the game--Tustin could seemingly do no wrong.
Behind Cantrell (seven points), Parker (six points) and reserve guard Cheavly Ly (two three-pointers), the Tillers outscored Bonita, 23-15, for a 47-24 halftime lead.
Despite its comfortable lead, Tustin never lost its intensity. Especially London, who had four steals in the third quarter. One of his steals ended with London spilling to the floor and the ball rolling out of bounds, and London apparently not satisfied. He pounded the floor with his fists.
"I just wanted that ball bad," he said.
Stieler scored 16 points and Lunyon Maxwell had 10 points and 7 rebounds for the Tillers. London finished with 7 assists and 8 steals and Cantrell with 13 points and 4 assists.