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Savanna's Playoff Chances Slip Away as Los Amigos Wins

February 22, 1992|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CYPRESS — Everything just seemed to slip away from Savanna Friday night.

First, the Rebels found out that they wouldn't be able to play their Southern Section Division II-A playoff game at home against Los Amigos because the floor in their gym was too slippery after being oiled earlier in the day.

Maybe that was just a small setback. They simply moved the game to Cypress High.

But that place now will be known as the little gym of horrors for the Rebels.

Los Amigos, in a considerable upset, bumped Savanna (16-9) out of the tournament with a 70-58 victory that Lobo Coach Clayton Olivier called the biggest win of the season.

Los Amigos advances to a second-round game Tuesday against Mission Viejo.

The Lobos (8-15) got 24 points and much-needed floor leadership from guard Eddie Benson, and 18 points and nine rebounds from center Chris Blythe to beat Savanna, the Orange League tri-champion.

"We knew the key to the game was making Benson penetrate," Olivier said.

The 5-foot-9 senior scored inside, outside and at the free-throw line. He had nine of his points in the crucial fourth quarter (seven on free throws), when Los Amigos nearly let a 15-point lead get away.

Los Amigos, which finished fifth in the Garden Grove League, saw Savanna cut the deficit from 46-31 after three quarters to 55-49 with 2 minutes 48 seconds left to play. But Benson bailed out the Lobos with clutch free throws down the stretch.

"All the doubling up and (defensive) switching made our guys a little jittery," Olivier said. "But once we got Eddie to take care of the ball, that did it. He's a major factor on this team."

Savanna was forced to foul repeatedly in the fourth quarter to try to get possession of the ball but Benson and Blythe (seven points, including five free throws in the period) preserved the victory for Los Amigos.

Savanna had problems scoring in the first three quarters against a tough Los Amigos man-to-man defense before both teams picked up the pace considerably in the final period. The Rebels converted only 27 of 67 field-goal attempts (two of 16 in the third quarter).

Forward Marlon Watson led Savanna with 21 points and a game-high 13 rebounds before fouling out late in the game. Guard Tobie Priest added 20 points.

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