MISSION VIEJO, CA - Coming off its first South Coast League title in school history, Trabuco Hills dismantled visiting La Salle-Pasadena in the first round of the Southern Section Division 2A Playoffs, 69-50.
Senior guard Chase Anderson scored 18 points, Connor Haskell (11 points) added five assists and Quentin Watts posted 10 points with 12 rebounds to give Trabuco their fifth win in six games.
“It feels great to win the first game of CIF, we knew this was a tough draw for us but we played with our tempo and earned the win,” Anderson said. “I knew they would be physical with me, they face guarded me the whole game, so when I got the ball I drove and tried to draw fouls.”
Trabuco turned a six point first quarter lead into a 15-point halftime advantage, and never looked back. La Salle was led by six-foot-nine senior center Darius Henderson and junior point guard Kenneth Franklin, scoring 17 points each. Franklin scored eight in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late for the Lancers.
Anderson scored the first six points of the second quarter for Trabuco, and tight post defense against Henderson paid dividends as the Mustangs jumped out to a quick 21-9 lead. Watts nailed two free throws one possession later, but Henderson responded with four straight points to keep La Salle within 10. Junior Daniel Prendergast (8 points) hit a three-pointer, Haskell sunk two free throws and Anderson scored five more straight points to put the Mustangs up 34-19 at the break.
Trailing by 25 points after three, La Salle scored the first two buckets of the fourth, after a Jason Mcdonald score in the paint and Henderson two-handed slam. The Lancers couldn’t string together stops down the stretch, however, leading to an abundance of Mustang three’s and free throws.
La Salle opened the game with full-court pressure defense, and both teams traded misses to start. Lancers’ wing Kalani Jones drove and scored the first points of the night, with 6:11 remaining in the first quarter. Haskell and junior center Vinny Zingales scored four points each to lead Trabuco in quarter scoring. Zingales scooped up a Kelvin Cabrera missed three and kicked it out to senior forward Zack Mowers, who scorched the ball through to energize the Mustang student section. Watts stole the ball right back, but a Prendergast turnover led to a Nicholas Green open layup to make things close after one.
With the victory, Trabuco moves on to play 19-9 Walnut in the second round, who beat Newport Harbor by a final score of 48-39 to advance. After a last second loss to Oxnard in last season’s Southern Section playoffs, the Mustangs are looking to handle unfinished business.
“It was great win but we have four more huge ones to go,” Haskell said. “This is our year.”