La Quinta moves closer to securing playoff spot
WESTMINSTER — With every second-quarter basket scored by the La Quinta boys basketball team, the Aztecs’ crowd got louder.
As the decibel level rose on the chants of “Defense,” so did the level of pressure from the Aztecs' full-court defense.
The end result?
A 15-0 second-period run that lasted the first 4:45 and gave La Quinta a 12-point lead and control of its bitter Garden Grove League rivalry game with Bolsa Grande.
The Aztecs defeated the Matadors, 63-51, behind 13 points and 11 rebounds from Miguel Flores Monday night at La Quinta High.
La Quinta coach Chris Palisin said that his team fed off the energy of the crowd.
“The pride of Senior Night and the energy of the crowd carried us through,” he said. “Now with one game left, we control our own destiny.”
The destiny that Palisin spoke about was the Aztecs' chance to grab a playoff spot. La Quinta (10-14, 5-4) needed the victory to stay ahead of Bolsa Grande (8-15, 4-5) in the battle for the league's final guaranteed playoff spot.
La Quinta took a 32-21 advantage into halftime, only to see the Matadors and guard Anthony Ho, who finished with 16 points, battle back in the second half and cut the lead to three, 44-41, with 7:04 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Aztecs used an 11-0 run, capped by a three-point play from Kevin Tran, over the next three minutes to regain control of the game.
Tran finished with a game-high 19 points.
Palisin said he told his players during a fourth-quarter timeout to stay confident down the stretch and they would win the game.
“We composed ourselves emotionally,” he said. “I told them that we can only control us, and that’s what we did.”
Al Tran added eight points for La Quinta. Antonio Estrada contributed eight points for Bolsa Grande off the bench.