The temptation to overlook the competition while ranked among the top teams in its division became too great for the La Cañada High boys' basketball team Friday against Blair.
La Cañada, ranked third in the CIF Southern Section's Division III-AA poll, put its unblemished Rio Hondo League record on the line. The Spartans started off slow, as several members of the team admitted they didn't take the Vikings seriously.
It cost La Cañada, as Blair jumped out to a 11-6 lead in the first quarter. The Spartans couldn't find the basket to start the game, scoring on just one of six shots in the opening minutes.
However, La Cañada was able to get back on track in the second quarter and pull out a 58-50 win.
"I don't think we were ready to play. We took them a little lightly and that's what happens," La Cañada (17-2, 5-0 in league) Coach Tom Hofman said.
Thankfully for the Spartans, shooting guard Mike McGlashan came ready to play. He realized he was going to have to carry the offense once his team got off to such a slow start.
"People weren't hitting their shots, so I was just doing whatever I could," said McGlashan, who scored all six of his team's points in the first quarter, finishing with a game-high 29 points. "I don't go in there just looking to score. If people are open I'll give it to them, but tonight people weren't hitting their shots and I was just trying to do whatever I could."
McGlashan's performance, which spurred his team to a victory, wasn't surprising.
"[Mike's] our senior — a three-year player — it's what you expect from him and he's been doing it all year long for us," Hofman said.
The Vikings' defense applied the pressure early in the game and never let up, holding the Spartans to just six points in the first quarter — a season low for La Cañada.
"We need to see more teams that play pretty lock-down defense like [Blair] because last year we had problems with those teams," senior Matt Faber said. "This was a good lesson for us."
Blair (8-14, 2-3) surrendered its lead a few minutes into the second quarter as Dario CiVon nailed a three-pointer to put the Spartans up, 14-13. La Cañada went on an 18-6 run in the second quarter and headed into halftime with a 24-17 lead.
"We just slowed down, got together in the second quarter and started getting good shots, hitting them and we got the lead," McGlashan said.
CiVon and Faber helped pick up the slack in the second quarter. CiVon and Faber finished the second quarter with seven and six points, respectively. CiVon finished the game with 14 points and Faber walked off the court with a double-double (10 points and 13 rebounds).