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Yorba Linda stays focused, fends off El Dorado
YORBA LINDA -- No longer is Yorba Linda the hunter.
With big-game wins this season over 2015 CIF-SS titlists Canyon and Foothill, Mustangs coach Jason Pietsch knows his program isn’t the underdog it was when the team’s current seniors were sophomores, hunting Empire League favorites Tustin, Western and Valencia.
In its first true North Hills League test, Yorba Linda, behind Isaac Douglass’ game-high 24 points, beat El Dorado, 63-53, Tuesday night at Yorba Linda High.
“I’ve told these kids that we can beat anybody, but also we can lose to anybody,” Pietsch said. “Since the school opened, we’ve been the hunters. Now, we’re the hunted. It’s a different point of view, a different mindset playing like that.
“We have to bring our ‘A’ game every night.”
Yorba Linda (18-6, 3-0) hit nine 3-pointers, but more than the result, Pietsch said he was pleased with how often the ball found different players on key possessions.
Douglass scored 20 points in the first half, and dunked in a game for the first time since the season opener. Eric Hezmalhalch scored 12 of his 17 points after intermission, and Zane Paddon had three huge baskets down the stretch.
El Dorado (12-12, 2-1) trailed, 32-25, at the half, and twice pulled within two points in the third quarter.
Golden Hawks center Elijah Mosham scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Garret Boaz and Ryen Perry scored 24 points between them.
“We’ve tried to instill in these kids, especially the past couple of weeks, that we need to be more unselfish,” Pietsch said. “Our mantra is: Get someone else a shot. We’ve done a better job of that the past three, four games.”
Yorba Linda and El Dorado appear headed towards another first- and second-place finish in the North Hills League. The teams meet again next week at El Dorado in the regular-season finale.
“Ever since we upset Canyon last year, we’ve had a bulls-eye on our back,” Douglass said. “But we’re experienced. We know we’re not hunters anymore.”
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