were relentless on defense, and their offense wasn't bad either in
their 55-39 semifinal victory at El Toro High.
La Canada 6 9 14 10 -- 39
Santa Margarita 13 13 15 14 -- 55
P. Anderson 10, I. Malik 9, Ballard 9, R. Anderson 8 and 3 steals, Kumagai 3 and 3 steals. * Three-pointers: I. Malik 3, P. Anderson 2, R. Anderson 2, Kumagai.
Hernandez 16, 9 rebounds and 4 assists, Gunderson 10 and 6 assists, Perkowski 8, Martin 8, Keefe 7, Campbell 6. * Three-pointers: Campbell 2, Martin 2, Gunderson 2.
Santa Margarita, which is the second seed in the division, held La
Canada to a season low in points, limiting Tom Hofman's squad to a
13-of-40 performance from the field (32.5%).
Offensively, the Eagles hit 42.5% from the field and knocked down
15 of 20 free-throws -- compared to just five of 11 by the Spartans
-- to advance to the championship game at The Pond of Anaheim.
"We've been here before and we know it' not easy to get to the
Pond," Santa Margarita Coach Jerry DeBusk said. "Your defense better
It was plenty good Friday night.
"It was a struggle," said Spartan senior Philip Anderson, who led
his team with 10 points. "It was hard to get any open looks, they
were so physical."
La Canada hit just four field goals in the first half -- all
three-pointers -- which allowed Santa Margarita (25-4) to build an
11-point lead at the break. The Spartans rarely got within single
digits after that.
Fifteen turnovers didn't help the cause, either.
"We didn't execute offensively this entire postseason," said
Hofman, whose squad tallied consecutive season lows for points in its
playoff games -- scoring 57 and 49 in wins against Servite and
Northwood, respectively -- after averaging 72.7 points per game going
into the postseason.
"We've been winning games with our defense."
That's what allowed the Spartans (27-2) to hang tough in the early
going. La Canada's interior defense held 6-foot-8 center James Keefe
to just seven points on the night.
But whenever the Eagles got in a crunch, they delivered from the
outside. Santa Margarita hit less three-pointers than La Canada --