Villa Park's Daelyn Bams is fouled by Gardena's Keondre Brown during the Spartans' 71-63 victory in the first round of the CIF Southern California Division III Regionals at Villa Park High School in Villa Park, CA on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Villa Park starts out flat, but knocks out Gardena


Villa Park will play at least one more game.

The Spartans defeated Gardena, 71-63, Wednesday in a CIF Southern California Regionals Division III first-round game at Villa Park High.

Villa Park (24-6) will play at home against Carnegie of Riverside in the second round Saturday. Carnegie defeated La Costa Canyon on Wednesday.

Spartans senior guard Myles Franklin scored a game-high 23 points with three 3-pointers. Franklin, who signed with Northeastern, was 8 for 15 from the field and 4 for 5 at the free-throw line.

His sophomore brother, Julien Franklin, scored 17 points with eight rebounds. Villa Park senior guard Caleb Banuelos scored 16 with two 3s. Spartans junior forward Matt Lanzone scored six points with nine rebounds.

Gardena (20-14), which lost to Carson in the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division 2 championship game last week, was led by senior guard Dominique Alexander’s 16 points.

Villa Park coach Kevin Reynolds said the Spartans were emotionally flat at the start of the game and pretty much stayed that way. He acknowledged that it might have been difficult for the team to get motivated after losing Saturday in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2AA championship game to Colony of Ontario by four points.

“It is hard to re-energize after you spent nine months getting ready for a particular game and it doesn’t go the way you want it to,” Reynolds said. “But we should have been better than we were. We won’t win another game if we play like this again.”

A 10-0 fourth-quarter run was crucial to Villa Park’s win Wednesday. The Spartans had a 52-47 lead when they went on that run – Lanzone made a 14-foot jump shot, Julien Franklin scored on a drive, Myles Franklin made a steal than fed Banuelos for a breakaway layup, Banuelos made a 16-footer from the baseline, and Julien Franklin softly shot-put an 11-foot jumper in the lane.

That series gave Villa Park a 15-point lead.

The Spartans are trying to get to a CIF Southern California Regionals championship game for the first time since 2006 when they the lost to Mater Dei in the Division II final.

Second-round games are Saturday in Divisions I-V. The Open Division plays first-round games Friday. Mater Dei is home against Westchester in an Open Division game Friday.

In Division I:

Vista 97, Santa Margarita 94 (2OT): The Eagles (22-9) were eliminated in a close, high-scoring game at Santa Margarita.

Taft of Woodland Hills 63, JSerra 49: The Lions (17-12) lost at Taft. Taft plays host to Vista in the second round.

In Division V:

Pacifica Christian 75, Chavez of San Fernando 74: The visiting Tritons (24-4), in their first year of varsity basketball, got their first state tournament win.

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