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St. Francis High's Kyle Leufroy grabs fourth-quarter spotlight again

Basketball: Backed by another stellar final-quarter display, guard helps Golden Knights advance to CIF Southern Section Division III-A title game.

March 01, 2014|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • St. Francis High's Kyle Leufroy passes in a heavy La Cañada defense in a CIF-SS Division III-A semifinal boys' basketball game played at Maranatha High on Friday. St. Francis won the game, 56-53. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
St. Francis High's Kyle Leufroy passes in a heavy…

PASADENA — From the opening tip-off right through to the final horn, the St. Francis High and La Cañada boys’ basketball teams gave the community something to cheer about for 32 minutes Friday night and most likely something to remember for a long time.

With the second-seeded Golden Knights and third-seeded Spartans clashing inside a sold-out Maranatha High gymnasium in a CIF Southern Section Division III-A semifinal contest, the venue served as a flash point for fans to take turns bellowing with delight. With nearly 1,000 fans in attendance, the environment often proved to be stimulating.

On the court, the audience witnessed an electrifying fourth-quarter performance from St. Francis junior guard Kyle Leufroy, who grabbed the mantle to turn back La Cañada and send St. Francis to its first CIF championship game in the program’s history.

“I got a lot of help from my teammates,” said a modest Leufroy, a reigning All-Area selection who scored eight of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to lead St. Francis to a 56-53 victory. “I’m tired in the fourth quarter, but it’s about being able to push through.

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“Since the start of the season, we’ve been thinking that we have a special group of guys and maybe we could get to CIF and win it all. Things just worked out for the best tonight.”

St. Francis, which earned an at-large berth out of the Mission League, improved to 19-11 and will meet fourth-seeded Oak Park (20-10) in the title game Friday or March 8 at a site to be determined. La Cañada, which won the Rio Hondo League championship and finished 23-7, fought valiantly, but couldn’t contain Leufroy.

Leufroy, who rescued the Golden Knights with big performances in the fourth quarter and overtime in a first-round contest against unseeded Yucca Valley on Feb. 19, began to heat up again in the game’s final eight minutes Friday. He scored on a layup to bring the Golden Knights to within 51-50 with 4:10 left. Leufroy then converted on a three-point play to give St. Francis a 53-51 advantage with 3:41 remaining. The Golden Knights would never relinquish their lead and sealed the victory when Evan Crawford recorded a steal with six seconds to go and promptly ran out the clock.

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