Second wave drowns Knights

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — A cold-shooting spell kept the St. Francis High basketball team winless in the Mission League.

After nearly overcoming one large deficit, the Golden Knights weren't able to overcome a second big margin.

St. Francis yielded a 17-1 run late in the third quarter that translated into a 66-40 league loss against Alemany on Monday night at home.

St. Francis used a 12-6 run to cut Alemany's lead to 30-28 with 4:50 remaining in the third stanza before the Warriors replied with a 17-1 run to take a 47-29 lead.

"We just didn't handle their pressure," said St. Francis co-Coach Ray O'Brien, whose team dropped its fifth game in a row and fell to 8-9, 0-3 in league. "They are athletic and willing to gamble a lot.

"We were basically able to recover from the first deficit, but we couldn't the second time."

Alemany, ranked fourth in CIF Southern Section 4AA, got two big three-pointers from senior shooting guard Jordan Fuller, who finished with a game-high 19 points. Fuller's second three-pointer gave the Warriors (11-5, 2-1) a 43-29 lead with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter.

The Golden Knights, who began league with losses against Harvard-Westlake and Crespi, went 8 minutes 15 seconds without making a basket. St. Francis junior guard Zack Gardea made it 30-28 and the Golden Knights didn't make another shot from the floor until senior forward Ben Maynard converted on a layup with 4:30 left in the fourth quarter that sliced the lead to 47-30.

The Golden Knights registered 14 turnovers, most of which were turned into points by the Warriors.

"Alemany started off the game with a lot of pressure and then they backed off for some reason and that helped us narrow the gap," said O'Brien, who received 10 points apiece from Maynard and Gardea. "They were able to take Zack and [junior guard] Emerson Castaneda out of the game because they were physical and they pushed them very high.

"We just had a lot of turnovers and they pulled away."

The Warriors also got 16 points from junior guard Jerico Richardson and nine points, five assists and three steals from sophomore guard KJ Moffett.

Alemany went on an 11-0 run midway through the first quarter to take a 14-3 lead before a three-pointer by Gardea made it 14-6 with 2:19 remaining in the opening stanza.

St. Francis got five points each from Castaneda and junior guard Collin Peterson.

"We have to forget this and move on to our next game," O'Brien said. "We knew that Alemany would be a tough matchup."

The Golden Knights will next face the Warriors at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 at Alemany.

St. Francis will resume competition at 7 p.m. Friday with a league home contest against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

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