By Jeremy Balan
Mission 53, Lowell 46
Mission High School used a third-quarter surge to drop Lowell High School 53-46 in the semifinal round of the AAA playoffs on Wednesday at Kezar Pavilion.
The Bears (20-10) fed off a physical man-to-man defense and used an 11-2 run to build a 12-point lead in the third quarter.
Lowell (20-10) cut the lead to 39-37 with 5:15 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Mission quickly responded with an 8-2 run to put the game out of reach.
“They took us out of what we wanted to do offensively,” said Lowell Head Coach Robert Ray. “It was a struggle for us. There was a lot of body contact. We’re not used to getting pushed around that much, but I guess that’s playoff basketball.”
Mission standout senior guard Angelo Gulley, who leads the Bears in nearly every offensive category, was held to 12 points and consistently struggled shooting throughout the game.
“In my opinion he’s the best player in the league,” Mission Head Coach Arnold Zelaya said of Gulley. “He stayed aggressive and had some big rebounds late in the game.[The team] showed heart and guts, and that means our season continues.”
Lowell also had a difficult shooting night, as the Cardinals shot 1-for-17 from three-point range. Their most consistent offensive threat was junior forward Ricco Price, who had a game-high 18 points, mostly following Cardinal misses.
“He came up big,” Ray said of Price. “Without him, we would have been out of the game a lot sooner.”
Mission advances to face Wallenberg High School in the final on Friday at Kezar Pavilion.
Wallenberg 61, Washington 52
Riding a breakout performance from senior forward Garrett Moon, Wallenberg High School withstood a frantic Washington High School run to prevail over the Eagles 61-52 in the AAA semifinals on Wednesday at Kezar Pavilion.
Moon had a game-high 31 points and took control of the game when Washington (23-9) erased a 13-point third-quarter deficit, taking its own 45-43 lead with 4:38 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Moon responded, taking back the lead by scoring four consecutive points on driving attacks at the basket.
“He understood we needed him right then,” Wallenberg Head Coach Patrick Mulligan said of Moon’s surge. “We’ve ridden him all year.”
Washington never got the lead back as Wallenberg (21-6) pounded the ball inside, through 6-foot-7 senior center Christopher Fontaine.
Fontaine had eight of his 12 total points in the final quarter, including a thundering dunk to cap the victory with 10 seconds remaining.
Even with the loss, Washington Head Coach Jolinko Lassiter was impressed with the Eagles moxie down the stretch.
“We had eight minutes left in our season and we were able to give all we had,” Lassiter said. “Ultimately their size counteracted our speed in the end. If we play one more quarter, it may have been different.”
Three Washington players scored in double-figures, led by senior guard Byron Jones who had a team-high 15 points. Junior guard Jeremy Jetton added 12 points, despite battling foul trouble in the first half.