Villa Park Overcomes Slow Start for Victory


Prior to Villa Park’s game Tuesday against Katella, Spartan Coach Kevin Reynolds predicted a letdown by his team.

Fortunately for Villa Park, he was only half right.

The fifth-ranked Spartans, coming off last week’s first-place finish at the Anaheim Holiday tournament, played to Katella’s level during the first half before pulling away in the third quarter and winning, 54-44, at Loara High.

“I knew there was potential for a letdown,” Reynolds said. “With a young group coming off a championship in a tournament, we address it and address it and address it, but until it actually happens, they don’t believe it. So I think they’re believers now.”


The first half featured six lead changes as neither team led by more than four points. The Spartans missed their first five shots and turned the ball over six times in the first half.

Villa Park’s saving grace was junior guard Tony Bryant, who scored all of his 11 points in the first quarter, including nine on three-point plays.

Bryant was matched by Katella’s Ben Jivcu, who made six of seven shots in the opening half and scored 12 points.

The Spartans’ Matt MacGinnis led a 22-11 run in the third quarter with consecutive three-pointers followed by a three-point play, which gave Villa Park a 35-26 lead with three minutes four seconds remaining in the quarter.

The Spartans (9-1) also began utilizing their height advantage in the third quarter, grabbing six offensive rebounds compared to none for Katella.

Bryant scored 18 points and MacGinnis had 16 to lead the Spartans.

Jivcu scored 14 and Nick Novella 10 for Katella.