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Defense Keys Cleveland’s Victory, 79-73

TIMES STAFF WRITER

All season long, he has faced the latest in basketball defensive terminology, if not technology. The box-and-one defense, which has nothing to do with grocery-store bag boys. The diamond-and-one, which has nada to do with freeway commuting lanes.

Yet the one defense Banning High swingman Jabari Anderson never faced--the most rudimentary of them all--was the most effective Friday night at Cleveland.

A mere man-to-man.

Anderson scored a game-high 32 points, but third-seeded Cleveland beat Banning, 79-73, in a first-round game of the City Section 4-A Division playoffs.

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Anderson, who averaged 35.1 points in the regular season, scored 15 points in the first quarter but struggled thereafter. If he has felt at times as though he carried the Pilots, he must have felt really lonely down the stretch against the Cavaliers.

“I think what threw him off the most was their defense,” said Banning Coach Marc Paez, who last season led the Cavaliers into the 4-A semifinals.

“It might have been too easy for him because he’s used to fighting for open shots. He hasn’t been guarded in man-to-man all season.”

Anderson, a 6-foot-3 senior, made eight of his first 12 shots to help stake the Pilots (5-19) to a 21-17 lead after one quarter. He cooled over the final three quarters, though, finishing 12 of 31 on field-goal attempts. Several players took turns guarding Anderson.

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Despite 20 first-half points from point guard Kenny Collins--who finished with 25--Cleveland (19-6) trailed, 45-44, with 6 minutes 5 seconds left in the third quarter.

Yet as Anderson faltered, so did Banning. He scored for the last time from the floor with 44 seconds left in the third quarter, by which time the Pilots were down, 59-53.

With Collins a marked man defensively, Cleveland forwards Brandon Martin (20 points) and Mike Scovell (13) combined for 15 points in the third quarter as Cleveland took a 61-53 lead.

Scovell, who became a starter when Kayheed Murray was declared academically ineligible last week, made a free throw to complete a three-point play with 5:47 left in the third to spark a 17-8 run.

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