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MICHAEL KITADA , CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Northwood's Mike Karagay, right, fights for a rebound during his team's playoff game against Cerritos on Friday.

Northwood season takes a bad turn against Cerritos

STAFF WRITER

CERRITOS – Cerritos rallied from a six-point halftime deficit to upset Northwood, 59-56, in the second round of the CIF-SS 2A boys basketball playoffs Friday night at Cerritos.

Northwood, the Pacific Coast League champion and ranked 10th in the county, had a 16-game winning streak snapped.

The Timberwolves (23-6) held a 36-30 lead at halftime. But 6-foot-7 senior center Jake Linsky sprained his ankle going for a rebound with 7:29 left in the third quarter.

Linsky, who led Northwood with 24 points and 14 rebounds, returned with 4:44 left in the third quarter, but Cerritos took advantage of his absence, going on an 8-0 run to take a 38-36 lead.

UC Irvine-bound Evan Leonard scored all of those points and wound up with 27 points to lead Cerritos (18-11).

“The injury to Jake really changed things,” Northwood coach Tim O’Brien said. “In a normal game, he wouldn’t have come back at all. He was playing just on guts.

“It’s a disappointing loss and a disappointing outcome, but we had a fabulous season. Twenty-three wins ties a school record for wins and we were league champs.”

Cerritos held a 48-42 lead after three quarters and later extended its lead to eight points.

The Timberwolves trimmed the lead to 57-56 on a jumper by Mike Maragay with 34 seconds left before Cerritos upped the lead to three.

Northwood got the ball following a missed free throw and called a timeout with 4.9 seconds left. Linsky tried to tie the score with a 3-pointer, but the shot fell off the rim and the Cerritos fans poured onto the court.

“It’s tough and it’s hard losing that way,” Linsky said. “I had the shot and I missed it. It’s a great group of guys ... I love every one of them. I’m grateful to be on this team.”

Cerritos moves on to the quarterfinals Tuesday night against Hart of Newhall.

Contact the writer: tburt@ocregister.com


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