Yorba Linda's Hezmalhalch takes over in second half


VILLA PARK – Isaac Douglass, Yorba Linda’s leading scorer, had more than half of his team’s points in the first half of Friday’s nonleague game against Villa Park.

In the third quarter, he was scoreless, but the offensive production was certainly in capable hands.

Senior Eric Hezmalhalch, who scored only one point in the first half, went for 16 in the third quarter to help the seventh-ranked Mustangs open a 13-point lead on their way to a 51-44 road victory over the fifth-ranked Spartans.

“We told them in the locker room that our strengths are shooting and rebounding,” Yorba Linda coach Jason Pietsch said. “I told the guys that we had three guys with one shot attempt each. I said we have to come out firing. I called out three guys specifically – Zane (Paddon), Shaun (Maeder) and Eric (Hezmalhalch).

“We’ve got multiple guys who can hit shots and sometimes Isaac is very confident in what he does. I think sometimes the other guys look to him to carry the load, but I thought the third quarter was as good as we’ve played all year.”

The Mustangs (16-5) opened the quarter on a 12-1 run to take a 35-25 lead on a basket by Hezmalhalch. From there, the senior guard, added two more 3-point field goals and a spinning layup to help the Mustangs (14-7) take a 47-34 lead into the fourth quarter.

Yorba Linda outscored Villa Park 24-10 in the third.

“When I start out the game, I like to drive a little bit and get people open shots before I take shots,” Hezmalhalch said. “In the third quarter, I decided to go after it and take more shots.”

Paddon had five points in the third quarter and Maeder finished with eight in the game.

“In the first half, we wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for him (Douglass),” Hezmalhalch said. “But when he’s not on, it takes someone else to step up and usually someone does and gets the job done.

In the fourth, Villa Park trimmed the lead to six on a basket in the paint from Evan Battey, but the Spartans never got any closer.

Battey scored 28 points to carry the offensive load for the Spartans who were without Myles Franklin (ankle).

Yorba Linda is 3-0 in its crossover games with the Crestview League.

“It is really important for our confidence and our program in general,” Pietsch said of the success. “We want to be in this league and hopefully be able to compete at a high level for years to come.”

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