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Monrovia Rally Falls Just Short

After a frenetic 13-point fourth-quarter rally during which it pulled to within one with five seconds left, Monrovia got the ball into the hands of the player it wanted to take the final shot.

Only the ball didn’t stay there long enough for standout Bryant Markson to launch a potential game-winner. Markson immediately slipped and fumbled an inbounds pass out of bounds and fourth-seeded La Puente Bishop Amat held on for a 62-59 victory in the first round of the Southern Section Division III-AA boys’ basketball playoffs Wednesday night in La Puente.

Markson, who scored 19 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, pulled the Wildcats to within one, 60-59, with seven seconds remaining on a pair of free throws. Bishop Amat’s Juan Canas then threw the inbounds pass through the hands of Paul Porter, giving the ball back to Monrovia with five seconds to go.

After Markson lost the ball out of bounds, the Wildcats fouled Porter. His two free throws with three seconds left set the final margin. John Haywood had 17 points and Porter added 15 for the Lancers (21-6), who play at Fullerton in the second round Friday.

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Bishop Amat Coach Ray Lokar, who before the game expressed dismay that his Lancers were matched up against a Monrovia team that had just gotten Markson back after a long injury layoff, could only smile after surviving the tough test.

Monrovia (14-14) went 3-8 in the 11 games Markson missed with a knee injury, but was 11-6 with him in the lineup. Lokar felt that the Southern Section committee which devised the playoff brackets gave Bishop Amat an unusually tough first-round draw, considering the Utah-bound Markson had just returned.

Haywood, who will attend Loyola Marymount, scored 10 points in the first quarter as Bishop Amat built a four-point lead and padded it to as many as 13 in the second quarter.

Monrovia got back into the game late because Markson repeatedly called for the ball underneath and scored easy baskets or drew fouls. It also didn’t hurt the Wildcats’ cause when the Lancers missed nine of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter.

It was the second time Bishop Amat defeated Monrovia this season. The Lancers won, 62-45, when the teams met back in December.

Ben Bolch

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In Division II-A:

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La Habra Sonora 58, Laguna Hills 39--Senior guard Jake Trejo scored 24 points, including 12 in the second quarter, for host Sonora, which advances to play Santa Barbara San Marcos on Friday in the second round.

Sonora (18-10) held a 24-21 lead at halftime, but used a 9-2 third-quarter run to take hold of the game. A 10-3 run ended the quarter, giving Sonora a 44-28 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

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It was the final game for Laguna Hills Coach Dave Brown after 34 years, including the last 13 at Laguna Hills. The third-winningest coach in Orange County history finishes his career with 527 wins, trailing only retired Anaheim Katella coach Tom Danley (618) and Santa Ana Mater Dei Coach Gary McKnight (599).

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Marc Dimick led Laguna Hills (14-13) with 10 points, while Matt Donat finished with nine.

Tim Dermody


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