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Aliso Niguel falls at North O.C. Championships
LA HABRA – Aliso Niguel basketball coach Keith Barnett said the beauty of pre-league tournaments is you face multiple teams with contrasting styles.
"It prepares you for league," Barnett said. "It also prepares you for the playoffs."
Mayfair of Lakewood presented Aliso Niguel with a test of athleticism. The Wolverines weren't able to pass this one, losing 64-58 on Friday in the gold bracket semifinals of the North Orange County Championships at Sonora High.
Aliso Niguel (8-2), which won tournament games against Whittier Christian, Long Beach Jordan and Servite, will play Capistrano Valley in the third-place game Saturday at 6 p.m. at Sonora.
Mayfair (6-2) will face Sonora in the championship game at 7:30 p.m.
"They're a very good team," Barnett said of Mayfair, the defending CIF-SS Division 2A champion. "To beat a team like that, you got to be more together and more disciplined on both ends of the floor. I know we'll come back tomorrow and give a good effort."
The Wolverines came close to coming back against Mayfair. They scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, cutting what had been a 10-point deficit in half. Guard Scott Lynds had 13 points, including a 3-pointer that made it 56-51 midway through the fourth.
Mayfair held on by attacking the basket and controlling the paint, just as it had most the evening.
"You're so concerned with their guards because they have good shooters and guys that can penetrate, so you tend to leak out a bit," Barnett said. "Their big guys hurt us."
So did guard Mark Patterson, who drilled five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 25 points. Three other starters scored in double digits for the Monsoons.
Aliso Niguel forward Mauricio Campos scored a team-high 15 points. Guard Jake Smith had 12 points. The Wolverines fell behind early but rallied back to take a 25-17 lead, holding Mayfair without a basket for about an eight-minute stretch. Aliso then went cold, making just one field goal over the next eight minutes.
"We had some good moments but we didn't sustain it on either end," Barnett said. "Scott Lynds is our leader. But they did a good job shadowing him all over the court."