Steve Miller sent his North Hollywood High team an urgent message during a third-quarter timeout Wednesday night: "Get your heads in this game, or it's over!"
They did not, and it was.
The Huskies were blown out in a City Section 3-A Division playoff quarterfinal, 82-63, by a Chinook from the south named Los Angeles High.
"Their quickness was too much for us," Miller said. "That was a good team we played. I wouldn't be surprised if they go all the way."
North Hollywood (17-5), co-champion of the East Valley League, trailed at halftime, 34-28. But Los Angeles scored two quick baskets to open the third period and Miller called a timeout just 48 seconds into the second half. Apparently, his warning went unheeded, because the Romans (14-6) increased their lead to 44-30, then broke away to a 58-39 advantage after three periods.
The catalyst for Los Angeles was senior guard Orlando Holloway, who led all scorers with 27 points and scored three quick baskets early in the third quarter to ignite the Romans.
"Holloway shot better than I thought he would," Miller said. "I didn't think his range was good as he showed tonight."
Holloway made 8 of 12 shots (including two three-point shots), most of them from considerable distance.
North Hollywood's All-City forward Dominic Nappi, held to four points in last week's win over Marshall, had 18 against the Romans, but likely did not impress Cal State Northridge Coach Pete Cassidy with his shooting. Cassidy, who was scouting the 6-7 senior, watched as Nappi converted just 6 of 20 field-goal attempts.
"He's one of the most talented players I've seen this year, but he's not the most talented player--not even close," Los Angeles Coach Kevin Crider said of Nappi.
North Hollywood made just 33% of its field-goal attempts and only 4 of 15 shots in the crucial third period.
The Romans, meanwhile, made 11 of 14 field-goal attempts in the third quarter as they outscored North Hollywood, 24-11, in the period. Los Angeles shot 56% for the game and a sizzling 74% in the second half.
North Hollywood made a belated run at the Romans in the fourth quarter as sophomore center Dana Jones scored 10 of his 18 points, but the Huskies never got closer than 13 points (69-56). Jones also had a game-high 13 rebounds.