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STEVEN GEORGES, FOR THE REGISTER
Brian Hernandez of Godinez and Alex Evanoff of La Habra leap for a rebound during the Loara Tournament at Katella High School.
See more photos in the OCVarsity Hot Shots slideshow.

La Habra sets pace in beating Godinez

FOR OCVARSITY.COM

ANAHEIM – It hasn't been the ideal start for the La Habra boys basketball team, but Friday night the Highlanders took a big step forward in defeating Godinez, 41-27, in the semifinals of the Loara Tournament at Katella High.

The Highlanders (4-5) have been in a number of close early-season games, and it looked they would have another against the Grizzlies. The game began sloppy as both teams tried to figure out the other's defense.

The Grizzlies (4-5) led, 8-7, at the end of the first quarter.

The teams continued to use zone defenses in the second quarter, and both teams continued to turn the ball over. The Highlanders took their first lead of the game on a David Desatoffand-one layup. Desatoff made the free-throw, and then on the next possession made another pair.

The Grizzlies scored once in the quarter, and the Highlanders led, 12-10, at half.

The Highlanders were controlling the tempo, and that's what first-year coach David Ploog expects to see.


OCVarsity Hot Shots: Friday's basketball games


"We did a really good job of controlling the tempo on the defensive end," Ploog said. "We are a pretty young and inexperienced team still, but we have been in some tough games, and our schedule was hard at the start of the season."

In the third, the Highlanders offense finally got going. They went on a 7-1 run to begin the quarter, highlighted by a Zack Gray three-point play.

The defense allowed the Highlanders to push the ball and get some easy looks, and they ended the quarter up 29-19.

The Grizzlies cut the lead in half with five minutes to go in the game, but Gray hit one of two from the line, Desatoff scored on a layup, and Gray hit a floater to push the lead back to 10.

The Highlanders play Kennedy today at 4 p.m. in the championship at Katella. The two played earlier this season with Kennedy prevailing by two in overtime.


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