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Estancia boys’ basketball falls to Chaffey in return to CIF quarterfinals

Estancia's Lewis Tate takes a shot over Costa Mesa's Aiden Spallone during the second Battle for the Bell game on Jan. 26.
Estancia’s Lewis Tate takes a shot over Costa Mesa’s Aiden Spallone during the second Battle for the Bell boys’ basketball game on Jan. 26.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

A quick and surprising turnaround landed the Estancia High School boys’ basketball team in the CIF Southern Section quarterfinals this season.

When a 60-46 loss at Ontario Chaffey ended his team’s Division 5AA playoff run on Friday night, Estancia coach Xavier Castellano was overcome with pride.

Nine months ago, the Eagles endured a one-win campaign in Orange Coast League play and missed the postseason. Yet here were the Eagles, back in the section quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons.

“We weren’t expected to do this,” Castellano said, calling the season one of his most successful ones in his time at the school. “I can honestly say everyone on the team understood their role and worked their tails off.”

Senior Lewis Tate led Estancia (19-12) with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. He was the only member of the team to have participated in the previous playoff run.

Countless turnovers, many of which Castellano characterized as “unprovoked,” left the Eagles in a deep hole, the deficit standing at 29-14 at halftime.

Tate took charge after the break, scoring his team’s first 10 points out of the locker room to narrow the gap to 33-24.

“I always like to try to talk to [my teammates], try to make them feel positive no matter what’s going on in the game,” Tate said. “I was talking to my teammates in a positive way, and it’s always trying to [play] our hardest and be our best. I love playing with those guys. They’re very fun to play with.”

Then Jaedon Hose-Shea took the reins of the offense, finding bountiful success driving to the basket. The sophomore guard completed a trio of three-point plays, the last cutting the Chaffey lead down to 43-39 with 3:59 to go.

But Estancia would get no closer. Senior guard Daniel Chavez made a three-pointer from the wing, following a kick-out pass from Tyler Terry, just 31 seconds later. The Eagles’ offense went cold, and a march to the free-throw line restored the Tigers’ lead to double digits.

Chavez, who had a game-high 29 points for Chaffey (19-11), displayed his toughness in the first half, when he converted all three of his offensive rebounds into baskets.

“They’re a big, strong team, and I had to do my best to get those rebounds and put it back in,” Chavez said. “I was close to the rim, and I was thinking in my head [what my] coach always told me, ‘Whenever I get a rebound, put it back in,’ so that’s what I did tonight.”

Terry had 12 points, five rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks for Chaffey. Adrian Gutierrez added four points, six rebounds, five steals and three assists, and Jonathan Jackson also scored six points. Dejon Clark, a 6-foot-6 center, chipped in with five points and eight rebounds.

“My message to these kids during [the Mt. Baldy] League [schedule] was if we make it to the playoffs, which our league is difficult — being that we’re a Division 5 team, we’re playing Division 3 [and] Division 4 teams — I said, ‘If we make it to the playoffs, we’re going to get to the [semifinals], at least,’” Chaffey coach Erik Crull said. “That’s what I said. I’m not Nostradamus. Maybe I was trying to pump us up and gas us up, but I said we make it to the semis guaranteed if we get in, because I know how good we are. I know how we stack up against division teams.”

Reef Johnson had eight points, seven rebounds and two steals for Estancia. Hank Hernandez had four points off the bench, and Peter Sanchez grabbed seven rebounds to go with two steals.

Chaffey will go on the road to face Covina Northview (19-11) in the semifinals.

CIF Southern Section Division 5AA playoffs

Chaffey 60, Estancia 46

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Estancia 9 – 5 – 16 – 16 — 46

Chaffey 14 – 15 – 10 – 21 — 60

E — Tate 16, Hose-Shea 15, Johnson 8, Hernandez 4, De La O 2, Sanchez 1.

3-pt. goals — Johnson 2, Tate 1.

Fouled out None.

Technicals None.

C — Chavez 29, Terry 12, Jackson 6, Clark 5, Gutierrez 4, Nunley 4.

3-pt. goals — Chavez 2, Jackson 1, Terry 1.

Technicals — None.

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