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La Serna withstands late rally to beat Cal High

WHITTIER – It was a typical Cal High-La Serna basketball game in Del Rio League action Wednesday (Jan. 22) with a large boisterous crowd and two undefeated teams.

Visiting Cal and La Serna both came into the DRL game with 3-0 league records, but the Lancers came out with the overwhelming win, 59-46.

Actually, the score was closer than the actual result with the Condors making a valiant comeback in the fourth quarter.

La Serna (15-9, 4-0), with a huge third quarter, scoring 24 points, built up a 49-19 lead and seemed like an easy fourth quarter would propel them to a large victory.

However, the Condors (16-8, 3-1), who had only three single-digit quarters (8, 7, 4 points) exploded for 27 points in the final period to lose by 13 points.

“They are much better than what they showed (Wednesday),” La Serna coach Marino Angulo said. “I just felt that we played great defense and we weren’t giving anything up. They always play to the end and never give up and it was just nice that we built up that 30-point buffer. It was really a team effort.”

Leading the way for the Lancers with a team-high 11 points was junior guard Peter de Guzman with 11 points (3 for 4 free throws).

California’s A.P. Calderon (10) tangles with La Serna’s Peter De Guzman (3) in their Del Rio League Boys Varsity basketball game at La Serna High School in Whittier on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. (Photo by Keith Durflinger)


“I liked the energy and the crowd’s energy,” de Guzman said. “We stepped up on defense a lot and our offense was clutch. We have good chemistry this year and are like family.”

Eight players scored for the Lancers, with senior forward MJ Aristegui adding 10 points (6-9 FT), along with nine from senior forward Kevin Perez (two 3-pointers). Senior guard Jacob Arreola and junior forward Joaquin Altamirano added eight and nine points, respectively.

“Everyone got some minutes and played well and the defense was on point,” Aristegui said.”The starters were on a run in the third quarter.

“They were playing hard in the fourth quarter, but we just outplayed them. It was a big win for us.”

Cal was led by a game-high 12 points (3-6 FT) from senior guard Damien Martinez, followed by nine points (2-4 FT) from senior forward Mateo Martinez.

Senior Christian Lopez had five points and sophomore forward Alberto Cedano and sophomore Bryant De la Torre added four each for the Condors.

After a low-scoring first quarter with the Lancers holding a 13-8 lead, La Serna edged the Condors, 12-7 and came away with a 10-point halftime lead, 25-15. Mateo Martinez had five points to lead the Condors in the second quarter and Altamirano and de Guzman scored five each for the Lancers.

De Guzman and Arreola each added six for the Lancers in the big 24-point third, while Damien Martinez had the biggest quarter in the game for all players with nine points in the 27-point Cal fourth quarter.

“That’s what we try to hang our hat on as a program, that we never quit,” said Cal coach Joel Simonds of their late comeback. “We really struggled in the third quarter and they made a lot of tough shots and we had a hard time playing in transition at both ends.

“I think our players learned that they can play with La Serna. For most of these guys, it’s the first time doing it on a varsity level (playing in a Cal-La Serna game). There’s a little bit of nerves coming in and as shell-shocked as we looked in the first half, to be only down 10 was decent.”


Other Del Rio League boys basketball results:
Whittier (11-9, 2-2) defeated Santa Fe (10-13, 1-3), 54-40 to keep pace for third place in the DRL. Whittier will host Cal on Friday.

El Rancho (7-17, 0-4) had a bye in the DRL and lost, 85-37, to host Saddleback Valley Christian (18-5) in a non-league game. El Rancho, which lost to La Serna in the first round, 65-30, will play at La Serna Friday (Jan. 24).


Del Rio League – Girls basketball results:
La Serna 59, Cal 35

The Lancers (10-11, 2-1) were led by junior forward Rosalie Avalos with a game-high 18 points (5-8 FT), followed by 10 points from senior guard Isabela Angulo (2-2 FT, two 3-pointers).
Three players scored six points each for the Lancers: senior center Ariana Perez, junior guard Hailey Phillips (2-2 FT) and senior guard Ju Ju Acosta (two 3-pointers).

Cal was led by a team-high nine points from senior guard Kassandra Ramirez (three 3-pointers), followed by eight points from junior center Ariana Martinez. Valerie Romero had six points (2 3-pointers). As a team, Cal sank six 3-pointers.

La Serna doubled up on Cal by the half, 24-12, and put the game away in the third quarter with 23 points, with Avaalos leading the way with 11 in the quarter.

“It’s really good competition and fun and a good time going against Cal,” Avalos said.”Coach really didn’t say anything (about her first-half six points) but I just had to get it out of my head and turn off all of my thoughts and start over.

“I know the next time we meet Cal it’ll be loud at their gym and a big game.”

The Condors won the fourth quarter, 13-12, with Kassandra sinking her two three’s.

“I thought our girls did a very good job in the defensive end,” La Serna coach Steve Hemenway said. “In the first half, we rushed our shots and shot a poor percentage. The third quarter we made adjustments and it was our most dominant eight minutes.

La Serna, which is a game behind El Rancho in the standings, will host the Dons Friday.

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