Canyon's memorable playoff run comes to end


ANAHEIM – There would be no comeback this time.

Canyon could not overcome a big fourth-quarter deficit and lost to La Mirada, 93-73, Saturday in a CIF Division II Southern California Regionals second-round game at Canyon.

A season of memories is over for the Comanches, who finished 24-10. The memory they will remember most has to be their comeback from a 28-point second-half deficit to beat Lawndale last week in a CIF-Southern Section championship game at Honda Center.

Canyon scored 35 points in the fourth quarter of that game. On Saturday, the Comanches scored 29 in the fourth quarter. But La Mirada scored 33 points in the quarter, 23 of those points at the free-throw line.

The Comanches’ senior class that includes Nicholas Anderson, who scored 23 points against La Mirada, and Chandler Dignam, who scored 20, won CIF-SS Division 2AA championships, last season and this season.

“It was a great season for us,” Anderson said. “This is going to be something we’ll cherish the rest of our lives.”

The season continues for La Mirada (28-5) on Tuesday at Compton. Compton beat La Mirada in the CIF-SS 2A semifinals.

La Mirada had beaten Canyon, 61-56, in late December in the semifinals of the Orange Holiday Classic.

Kendall Lauderdale led La Mirada with 36 points. Lauderdale, a 6-foot-8 senior who transferred to the Matadors from Orange Lutheran, was 13 for 19 from the field and for 9 for 11 at the free-throw line.

For the game, La Mirada made 32 of its 43 free throws.

The Matadors took a 16-point lead into the fourth quarter. The closest the Comanches got in the final quarter was a 10-point deficit with 1:39 to play. In the big comeback win over Lawndale, Canyon’s press created turnovers and when the Comanches fouled Lawndale players Lawndale kept missing free throws.

La Mirada did a superior job of avoiding turnovers and the Matadors made 14 free throws in that remaining 1:39.

“We just didn’t make plays tonight,” Canyon coach Nate Harrison said. “And we ran out of gas a little bit.”

Canyon 6-9 senior center Donald Schaal, the Comanches’ tallest starter, did not start Saturday because of illness. He tried to play in three short stints, but lacked the energy to stay on the court.

Lauderdale was guarded mostly by Canyon’s 6-2 Jordan Rohan on Saturday. Lauderdale took advantage of the matchup, muscling inside or making mid-range turnaround jump shots.

Having scored just 12 points against Canyon in the Orange Holiday Classic game, Lauderdale was determined to play better in the rematch. He thought he forced too many shots against Canyon in December.

“Today, I needed to focus and stay humble,” he said. “I needed to pick and choose the right shots.”

Anderson figured Saturday’s outcome was simply the result of one team playing better than the other.

“It was just their day,” he said. “They did what they needed to do to win, so kudos to them.”

What Canyon needed to do to win was make another wild and crazy comeback. The Comanches could not duplicate Saturday what probably no team could duplicate.

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