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Katella edges Anaheim, stays in title hunt

FOR OCVARSITY.COM

ANAHEIM – For the Katella boys basketball team, the goal for Friday was simple: it had to win on the road at Anaheim to solidify a spot as the No. 2 team in the Orange League and to stay in striking distance of first place.

The Knights (12-13, 6-2) were able to complete that goal, winning, 52-46, over Anaheim after trailing by as many as nine in the second half.

Coach Jeff Clement thought his team benefitted from second-half adjustments.

"We talked at half about making them take contested shots instead of the wide open ones they had in the first half. We did a much better job of that," Clement said.

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SLIDESHOW: OCVarsity Hot Shots: Friday's basketball

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The Colonists (6-16, 4-4) looked poised to run away with the game as point guard Branden Salem got going in the third quarter. The senior scored five in a row, including a step-back 3-pointer, and then found a cutting teammate to push the lead to nine.

That's when the Knights made a 10-2 run to trail by one entering the fourth.

The fourth belonged to big man Taj Ashmeade who dominated the paint with rebounding, scoring and tipouts to teammates. Down two halfway through the fourth, the Knights used a 7-0 run to take control of the contest

Ashmeade, who is also a football player, scored seven points in the quarter to go along with six rebounds. Clement knows he has a big time athlete in the junior.

"We are a really inexperienced group as this is every player's first year on varsity. Taj is one of the best athletes in the league and never stops working down low for us."

Ashmeade finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Teammate Jose Rodriguez added 13 of his own, including three 3-pointers.

Salem led the Colonists with 17, and Anthony Colin had nine.

The Knights play league-leading Savanna on Tuesday.


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