Cypress High's Daniel Lopez puts the ball to the basket against Burroughs of Burbank during first round CIF-SS varsity basketball playoffs.
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Inspired Cypress rolls in playoff opener


CYPRESS – The Cypress boys basketball team had an unexpected visitor on its bench Friday night for its CIF-SS playoff game, and the Centurions made sure they didn't spoil the occasion.

Jayson Fields, usually the team's starting center, attended his first game since suffering a seizure on Feb. 3. A few days after that, Fields underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor.

Fields' teammates seemed to draw inspiration from his presence, and the Centurions went on to defeat Burroughs of Burbank, 50-40, in the opening round of the Division 1AA playoffs at Cypress High.


OCVarsity Hot Shots 1: Friday's basketball games


"He's a nice addition to complete our team," Centurions coach Jeff Russell said of the inactive Fields.

Jalen Hall led the Centurions (21-7) with 22 points and Jacob Rouse added 11.

Hall scored 15 of his points in the fourth quarter, helping Cypress put the game away.

While the Centurions' leading scorer finished strong, it took a while for him to get going. Hall missed his first five shots, but made up for it at the foul line, where he was 12-for-14.

With Hall's early struggles, the Centurions looked to their secondary players to make an impact. Ryan Togashi and Rouse wreaked havoc defensively, forcing turnovers to offset the Centurions' poor shooting in the first half.

"Rouse and Togashi outhustle the other team," said Russell, who also praised Togashi for doing the little things that keep the Centurions running smoothly.

Cypress also received a strong effort from Daniel Lopez, who grabbed six offensive rebounds to go with eight points.

Lopez's tenacity on the boards keyed the Centurions to an 18-13 halftime lead.

Burroughs guard Lawrence White threw down two open-court dunks in the first half, but the senior was forced to battle through shoulder pain after falling hard driving to the basket in the second quarter.

White finished with 18 points to lead the Indians (15-12). The Centurions held all other players to single-digit point totals.

"We've been a good defensive team all year and we've come to expect that," Russell said.

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