La Canada basketball shoots down South Pasadena

LA CANADA —The La Canada High boys basketball team found some prime real estate downtown.

Beyond the three-point line, that is.

On Wednesday night at home against South Pasadena, the Spartans connected on 12 three-pointers. Eight of those came in the first half. Starting sophomore Brendan Hempstead hit on five long-range shots and freshman teammate Koko Kurdoghlian knocked down four.

“I don't really know,” said Hempstead, who finished with 21 points. “Sometimes it just happens, you get hot.”

Behind the barrage of threes, La Cañada defeated South Pasadena, 59-38, in Rio Hondo League play.

“We were a little more in sync with each other tonight than we have been,” said La Cañada Coach Tom Hofman. “I think we're getting better.”

The win improves the Spartans to 12-9 overall and 4-1 in league. The Tigers dropped to 6-15 and 0-5.

“Defensively, it's tough,” said South Pasadena Coach Timothy Brown. “That ball moves faster than anything else out there. They find soft spots and they've got shooters. They were lighting it up from outside. We tried to guard it. You always give up something and they put the ball in the hole.”

The game was never in doubt, as La Cañada capitalized on crisp ball movement to find the open player, whether someone with space outside the arc or a cutter getting free through the back door for a layup. Eight Spartans logged at least one assist and nine players scored.

“I thought we shared the ball and got the right people the right shots,” Hofman said. “When we shoot the ball and run our offense for 32 minutes, we can beat a lot of people.”

La Cañada held a 17-10 advantage after one quarter. The Spartans closed out the half up, 36-22, following a pair of threes each from Hempstead and Kurdoghlian

“We just wanted to get out to an early start,” Hempstead said. “We've had some slow starts lately. We needed this one to get us going.”

It was more of the same in the second half. La Cañada led, 48-30, at the end of the third and went up by as many as 22.

“We've just been hitting shots and finding the open guys, riding guys who have been hot, coming together as a team lately,” Hempstead said.

Kurdoghlian finished with 14 points, 20 rebounds and four assists.

The Tigers were paced by David Hughey with eight points and Nicolas Sullivan grabbed eight rebounds.

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