TUSTIN, CA- First round action of the Tustin Classic featured two top five CIF Southern Section Division 2A teams, as Los Osos prevailed against Trabuco Hills, 56-49. Seniors Iysaiah Rojas and Blair Dunham led Los Osos with 14 and 12 points each.
“We knew this was a statement game, with Trabuco being number four in our division, so we came out, played hard and made a statement,” Dunham said after the win. He added, “Our whole offense is predicated on driving and kicking a lot, which gives me a chance to knock down open shots.”
Senior shooting guard Chase Anderson poured in 29 points for Trabuco, scoring 16 in the second half to help the Mustangs fight back down the stretch, after falling behind 32-19 at the half. Junior Daniel Prendergast added 10 points, including six in the fourth quarter, while point guard Connor Haskell scored eight.
Trailing by nine early in the fourth quarter, Trabuco needed a swing of momentum to stay close throughout the final minutes. Prendergast sparked the offense with a three pointer on the first possession of the quarter, and Anderson followed by taking the ball to the rack and finishing through traffic for a three-point opportunity. After a made free throw, the Mustangs had cut the deficit to just four, 41-37, with 6:11 remaining.
Rojas responded on the next play with a three point play of his own, from outside the line to put Los Osos back on top by seven. Anderson fired back with a spectacular up-and-under scoop layup, and Prendergast hit his second three of the quarter one play later, pulling Trabuco within four, yet again. The Mustangs had no answer for Ian Murphy, however, who nailed a three pointer moments after to give Los Osos a 49-42 advantage.
After a key defensive stop, sophomore big man Travion Williams scored in the paint, and Murphy stole the ball right back from Trabuco, setting up another Los Osos high percentage basket. Senior Quentin Watts blazed through the Los Osos defense on the next trip down to draw a foul, and converted both key free throws to keep the Mustangs within striking distance.
With just over one minute left, Haskell drove to the basket and scored, making the score 53-46. A charging foul against Los Osos gave Trabuco one final chance to make things tense inside a minute remaining, but a rare Anderson miss all but sealed the win for Los Osos. The Grizzlies struggled at the line throughout the final seconds, but came up with enough key stops to survive with the victory.
Anderson hit his first shot to open scoring, but as they did for the entire game, Los Osos hit back with Rojas and Dunham buckets to gain the upper hand. Rojas beat the buzzer for three to end the first quarter of play, putting Los Osos up 13-11. The Grizzlies fired out of the gates in the second quarter, building a 10 point advantage with three minutes remaining in the half.
Los Osos improves to 11-1 after the victory, with an impressive 7-1 start to the season on neutral floors. Trabuco Hills falls to 10-3, but have only lost to the likes of Southern Section powers such as Mater Dei, Santa Margarita, and the second ranked team in Division 2A, Los Osos.