LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE -- The Santa Clara boys' basketball team scored only 18 points in the first half and three in the second quarter, but found a way to eliminate the reigning CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA champions from the playoffs.
Santa Clara (8-19) ousted No. 5 Flintridge Prep, 55-48, in the first round Wednesday night at Flintridge Prep.
“It’s a very big win because we get to continue playing,” said Santa Clara coach Kevin Thompson.
Down two points at halftime, Santa Clara built a five-point lead in the third quarter behind the hot shooting of Brandon Perez. He hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter. His third 3-pointer of the period gave Santa Clara a 33-29 lead.
Santa Clara built a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter in a game that featured two teams with suffocating defenses.
Flintridge Prep (17-8) outscored Santa Clara, 11-3, in the second quarter to take a 20-18 lead into halftime. Neither team found easy points. Flintridge Prep’s Kory Hamane led all scorers at halftime with eight points. Blair Orr was the top scorer for Santa Clara at the half with five points.
Perez came out with the hot hand in the third quarter. His first two 3-pointers of the quarter were tie-breakers. His second 3-pointer gave Santa Clara a 28-25 lead. By the end of the period, Santa Clara was up five points, 34-29.
Perez hit four 3-pointers in the game and finished with 14 points.
“He’s been working hard,” Thompson said. “He’s one of the smaller guys on the team but his heart is the size of a lion. We appreciate that."
Orr came on in the second half as well, scoring 10 of his team-high 15 points.
Flintridge Prep’s Robert Cartwright led all scorers with 23 points. He made three 3-pointers, but the Rebels did not shoot the ball well as a team from 3-point territory.
Flintridge Prep was 6-for-28 (21.4 percent) from beyond the arc. Hamane hit two 3-pointers and scored 10 points. Chadd Cosse scored 11 points and had 13 rebounds for Flintridge Prep.