Kennedy Defeats El Camino Real Despite Half-Hearted Performance

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Back to the drawing board for the Kennedy and El Camino Real high school basketball teams, which fumbled through their Northwest Valley Conference opener Friday night at El Camino Real.

Funny thing about Kennedy’s 56-51 victory, which wasn’t secured until Juan Segura sank a free throw with 12 seconds to play and Garret Anderson added 2 more before the buzzer: The game was never close except during its opening and closing moments.

El Camino Real (3-5 overall) needs to practice its quick start. The Conquistadores were outscored, 35-15, in the first half and spent the second half scrambling back.

Kennedy (8-3) needs to practice finishing off an opponent. The Golden Cougars were outscored, 36-21, in the second half and led just 53-51 before Segura went to the line in the final seconds.


But not to worry. Both coaches got the message.

“I guess I’ll have to get tougher before the game,” El Camino Real Coach Mike McNulty said. “I’ll have to. That’s not my personality, but I don’t know what else to do.”

Kennedy Coach Yutaka Shimizu held a similar philosophy.

“I don’t get mad, I don’t get upset,” he said. “I may raise my voice, but I don’t get mad. We need to improve a little on everything before we can compete with other 4-A schools.”

Kennedy opened with an 18-4 run interrupted only by 2 Brent Lofton jump shots, which accounted for half the Conquistadores’ first-quarter points.

Anderson, who led Kennedy with 19 points, scored 8 in the first quarter and had 13 by halftime.

Lofton’s performance was similar to Anderson’s--only in reverse. Lofton, a senior forward, scored only 6 points in the first half--zero in the second quarter--before exploding for 17 after intermission to finish with a game-high 23 points.

Lofton scored 8 of his team’s 10 points during the Conquistadores’ furious fourth-quarter rally. His layup with 21 seconds to play closed the deficit to 53-49. Charlie Crow poured in 8 of his 11 points in the final period for El Camino Real.

“We just gotta start coming out tougher,” Lofton said. “It’s our mental attitude. Right now, I’m kind of struggling. I’m doing the best I can.”

Randy Brown finished with 18 points for Kennedy.