BOYS’ BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS
In Division I-A semifinals:
Corona Centennial 62, Villa Park 48--Third-seeded Villa Park dug a hole too deep as the Spartans fell at Corona Santiago High.
Villa Park (24-6) fell behind, 29-10, midway through the second quarter primarily because of Centennial’s man-to-man defense, which shut down the Spartans’ perimeter game. Matt MacGinnis failed to score, missing all five of his attempts from behind the arc.
"[Centennial] did a nice job with that,” Villa Park Coach Kevin Reynolds said. “And when we did get shots, we just didn’t make them. Some of that was their defense and some was the big-game atmosphere.”
And when the Spartans tried to counter by driving the lane, they were met by forward Jamaal Williams, who blocked five shots.
Sean Phaler and Kyle Egkan kept Villa Park in the game with their medium-range jumpers. Phaler’s three-point play late in the second quarter ignited a 19-4 run that cut the deficit to 33-29.
But it appeared that the Spartans used all of their energy during the comeback attempt as Centennial (28-2) stretched the lead back to double digits in the fourth quarter.
“I think it’s a tribute to us getting down as much as we did against a quality team and battling back and making it a game,” Reynolds said. “We didn’t play our best basketball, but I think we showed our character.”