Calvary Chapel’s Joe Ortiz became one of only six players in county history to score more than 2,000 career points, leading his team to a 79-70 semifinal victory over Pasadena Marshall in the Southern Section Division IV-AA boys’ basketball playoffs at Estancia High.
Ortiz, a senior, got his 2,001st point with 40 seconds left in the game on the second of two free throws. He led all scorers with 32 points.
Third-seeded Marshall (22-6) came out from the opening tip with a strong full-court press, but second-seeded Calvary Chapel (23-6) had little trouble breaking it to take a 21-12 first-quarter lead. By the end of the first half, the Eagles had a 44-27 lead, closing out the half with an 18-5 run. Ortiz ended the half with 18 points, hitting eight of 14 from the field, including four three-pointers.
Marshall rallied in the second half, opening the third quarter with a 13-4 run. Calvary Chapel committed five turnovers and made only two of eight shots in the first seven minutes as Marshall got as close as 48-40.
“They got hot,” Calvary Chapel Coach Craig Falconer said. “I thought we were taking good shots. They just weren’t falling.”
Calvary Chapel had a 68-54 lead with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
Feeling comfortable, Falconer began sending in his reserves. But Marshall’s Brandon Marshall hit two consecutive three-pointers and things got sloppy, prompting Falconer to get his starters back in the game.
“I was more disappointed in the last three minutes, when you can’t hold a lead,” Falconer said. “I didn’t think we played real smart. We were lucky.”
Calvary Chapel, which has won 13 consecutive games, will play fourth-seeded Santa Maria St. Joseph in the championship March 6 at UC Irvine.
On Friday night, St. Joseph upset top-seeded Twentynine Palms, 82-74.
It will be Calvary Chapel’s second consecutive trip to the final.
They lost last year in the Division IV-A championship game to Santa Monica Crossroads, 50-41.