A dynamite first half was overshadowed by a markedly less explosive second half for College of the Canyons on Saturday night against Los Angeles City.
Canyons led by as many as 19 points before intermission but lost, 74-69, in the championship game of the Vaquero Classic at Glendale College.
One Canyons player stayed hot throughout the game. Shooting guard Dan Murphy made all 12 of his shots, hitting 10 field goals and two free throws for a team-high 22 points.
Murphy scored 10 of his team’s first 16 points, and Canyons led, 31-12, after L. A. City went scoreless for more than five minutes. Canyons (5-6) held a 37-25 advantage at the break.
“Our guys didn’t wake up,” L. A. City Coach Reggie Morris said. “I had to chew them out at halftime to get some spirit.”
L. A. City (10-2) began to ease its scoring drought with some rain-making three-point baskets at the beginning of the second half.
Develle Walker hit a couple, and soon thereafter Carlo Davis made back-to-back three-point shots to give L. A. City its first lead, 44-43.
As L. A. City turned up the defensive pressure, Canyons’ hopes for an upset began to ebb.
“We knew they were going to come out pressuring us,” Canyons Coach Lee Smelser said. “We just tried to sustain against the pressure.”
Canyons took its last lead at 52-51 before L. A. City went on an 11-2 run.
With 1 minute 11 seconds remaining, Canyons’ Jeff Dorst hit the front end of a one-and-one to cut the deficit to 70-69 but Canyons could pull no closer.
Somewhat of a surprise championship-game participant, Canyons has taken advantage of a changing of the guards to rejuvenate its game.
Entering the tournament, Smelser handed the point position to freshman David Langley and moved Nick Sanderson, perhaps Canyons’ most talented player, to the bench.
Both flourished Saturday night. Langley scored 15 points, grabbed a team-leading eight rebounds, had four assists and two steals.
“After the Cuesta tournament, I said, ‘David, I’m going to put the ball in your hands, and we’ll go from there,’ ” Smelser said. “It really lends some great quickness to us in the backcourt.”
Sanderson scored 14 and highlighted a strong floor game with six steals. Reggie Bell, Canyons’ all-tournament representative, had eight assists and nine points.
In the third-place game:
Cypress 58, Glendale 53--Beating Cypress and its 6-foot-10 center Eric Pauley proved to be too tall an order for a young Glendale team.
Glendale trailed, 49-48, with 3:42 remaining but a pair of costly turnovers allowed Cypress to pull away.
“We made two critical errors on offense back-to-back and that’s the way it’s been happening, back-to-back,” Glendale Coach Brian Beauchemin said. “Our inexperience has showed quite a bit in the pressure.”
Pauley had game-high honors in scoring and rebounding with 23 points and eight rebounds. Only four Glendale players scored.
“That has been a surprising problem because we have been equally distributing minutes,” Beauchemin said. “We didn’t get much help off the bench tonight.”
Enoch Mack and Chris Cooke both scored 19 for Glendale, and all-tournament pick Kelly Crosby posted 10 and seven rebounds.
Glendale (6-7) fell behind 11-2 early but trailed only 23-22 at halftime.
Glendale led by as many as five points in the second half but lost the lead for good when Cypress pulled ahead, 43-42.