It was nearly five minutes into the second half before Los Angeles City College Coach Mike Miller's halftime motivational speech registered in his players' minds. When it did, it was bad news for MiraCosta.
The Cubs, leading 39-35 with 15:47 remaining, exploded for an 18-2 run during an eight-minute stretch that turned a close game into a 72-49 rout in a second-round Southern California Regional State playoff game at LACC Wednesday night.
"We talked about playing with more emotion in the second half," Miller said. "We needed to get five guys on the boards."
It paid off for the Cubs, who outrebounded MiraCosta, 30-19.
During LACC's big run they received strong inside play from Derrick Brown, who led all scorers with 22 points and eight rebounds, and Terrance Askew's 11 points, eight in the second half. Markee Brown and Jason Wright supplied the damage from the perimeter with 11 points each. Derrick Higgins, an all-conference performer, did not play due to a sprained ankle. He was questionable for Saturday night against Saddleback. (See Sports, Section C).
LACC scored seven unanswered points to lead, 46-35. In the midst of an 11-2 run, forward Derrick Brown made a right-handed dunk off a pass from Markee Brown to ignite their teammates, who sat quietly through most of the game.
Forward Ryan Demirdjian led MiraCosta with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Records: Los Angeles City 32-1; MiraCosta 16-12.