Quartz Hill takes Game 2 vs. Lancaster

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - By JOHN SAN­DERS Val­ley Press Sports Correspond­ent

LANCASTER — Typ­i­cally se­quels are in­fe­rior to the orig­i­nal.

This was not the case when Quartz Hill and Lancaster met in Round 2 of their Golden League bat­tle.

This time the se­quel lived up to all the hype and then some.

Just like the first game, the sec­ond game came down to the fi­nal shot in the wan­ing sec­onds. And, like the orig­i­nal, the road team came away with the vic­tory.

Lancaster’s Kerondo Dol­berry missed a mid-range jump shot that rolled around the rim to pre­serve Quartz Hill’s thrilling 64-63 vic­tory, Friday night at Lancaster High School.

“This one stings. It was a great game, but we knew we could have won. I have to give them props,” said Dol­berry. “We could have worked harder. We didn’t re­al­ize how bad we wanted it un­til we were los­ing. We don’t feel like we’re a sec­ond-place team. We have to show (other teams) that we’re first place, but that will de­ter­mine how we play the rest of the way.”

With the vic­tory, the Rebels (11-5, 6-1) moved a ½-game in front of the Ea­gles (10-5, 6-2) atop the league stand­ings. Quartz Hill still has a makeup game to play against East­side. Those two teams will face each other twice over a six-day span.

The Rebels’ lone loss came against Lancaster in the open­ing game to start league, 64-61, at Quartz Hill High School. In that game, the Rebels had three op­por­tu­ni­ties to tie the game from 3-point range but failed. They shot a dis­mal 4-of-29 from be­yond the arc on that Dec. 3 game and weren’t much bet­ter on Friday, shoot­ing 5-of-22, but made the big one when they needed it.

“We were play­ing more not to lose in the sec­ond half. I told the guys to con­tinue to be ag­gres­sive. We just kind of turned it off,” Quartz Hill head coach Bernard Nichter said. “But I have to give the guys credit. They find ways to win. It’s all about the play­ers; it’s noth­ing I’m do­ing out there.”

The Rebels built a big half­time lead, 31-16, in which they held the Ea­gles with­out a field goal for a 10-½ minute stretch. Quartz Hill main­tained a com­fort­able lead un­til the fourth quar­ter when things re­ally got in­ter­est­ing.

The Rebels led 51-40 head­ing into the fi­nal eight min­utes. Lancaster trimmed the lead to 55-51 fol­low­ing a steal and bucket by Kaelin Smith. Another bas­ket by Smith later in the quar­ter cut the lead to 61-59 with 1:41 re­main­ing.

The Ea­gles clawed all the way

back to tie the score fol­low­ing two free throws by Mal­colm Hodges. Things re­ally heated up with the score tied 61-61 as both teams com­mit­ted turnovers.

Yeshua Brice net­ted a 3-pointer in the cor­ner with just un­der a minute left to si­lence the crowd and give the Rebels a 64-61 lead. Lancaster’s Dy­lan Bryant was fouled with 49 sec­onds left and calmly hit two free throws to de­flate the lead to one, 64-63.

“We played hard and it was all about de­fense tonight. The last time we played them we didn’t play good de­fense. We showed great de­ter­mi­na­tion and will tonight. Our de­fense was the key,” said Quartz Hill’s Alai­jian Russell, who led the game with 21 points. “I be­lieve we’re the best team in the league and tonight proves that. I’m proud of how com­posed we stayed.”

Brice missed a 3-pointer to put the Rebels up by four and the ball was re­bounded by Dan Edwards who was fouled. Edwards missed both free throws and Brice was called for a push off on Hodges send­ing him back to the line with his team trail­ing by one.

Hodges missed both free throws and Brice was fouled with a chance to ex­tend his team’s lead. How­ever, he missed both free throws, giv­ing the Ea­gles one fi­nal chance.

Fol­low­ing a time­out, Jor­dan Roach drove to the bas­ket and Quartz Hill tied up the ball with the pos­ses­sion to the Ea­gles with 2.7 sec­onds. On the in­bounds play, Dol­berry said the play for Roach broke down so he stepped back, caught the ball and shot. The ball rolled around the rim and nei­ther team could gain pos­ses­sion of the re­bound as time ex­pired.

“We bat­tled tonight. I’m so proud of the guys. I’m proud of how we’ve come to­gether this sea­son,” Nichter said. “You have to give them (Lancaster) credit. I con­sider Jor­dan (Roach) the best player in the league. When you have the best player, you have a chance to win. That’s a good Lancaster team.”

Smith led Lancaster with 16 points and Roach fin­ished with 15. Both were in­stru­men­tal in help­ing the Ea­gles mount their come­back. Josiah Tay­lor fin­ished with 12 points for the Rebels and team­mates Cor­dar­ius Dixon and Brice added 11 and 10 re­spec­tively.

“We had a slow start. We could have beat them. To let some­thing lit­tle like free throws beat us,” Smith said. “This one hurts be­cause we gave away Golden League. We still have more op­por­tu­ni­ties, but if we’d won this game we would have had a higher chance at win­ning. We’ll get bet­ter from this. There is nowhere to go than up from here.”

The Ea­gles jumped out of the gates fast and led 9-2. That mo­men­tum was short­lived as the Rebels closed the first quar­ter with a 13-0 run to lead 15-9 af­ter one.

JOHN SAN­DERS Val­ley Press Sports Correspond­ent

LOOK­ING FOR OPEN­ING Quartz Hill’s Alai­jian Russell (23) looks to pass against Lancaster’s Avion Robin­son (5) dur­ing Friday’s Golden League game.

JOHN SAN­DERS/Val­ley Press Sports Correspond­ent

1-ON-1 — Lancaster’s Jor­dan Roach, left, looks to get past Quartz Hill’s Josiah Tay­lor, right, on Friday.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.