CORONA — With no defenders taller than 6-2 to stop him, Tustin's 6-7 center David Lalazarian feasted on Norco.
Lalazarian scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots as top-seeded Tustin crushed Norco, 71-48, Friday in the Division II-A quarterfinals at Corona High.
The victory advances Tustin, which won its 18th consecutive game, to Tuesday's semifinals against Santa Margarita at a site to be determined. The Tillers and Santa Margarita finished as co-champions of the Sea View League last season before Tustin moved to the Golden West League.
Lalazarian had little trouble against the smaller Norco club. He scored 14 in the first half--10 in the first quarter--on easy baskets inside as the Cougars practically stood around and watched. Lalazarian hit 10 of 13 field-goal attempts. Two of his misses were wide-open layups.
When Norco packed defenders inside to stop him in the second half, Tustin guards Doug Gottlieb, Robert Griffin and Raffi Lalazarian hurt the Cougars by hitting jumpers outside.
"They were kind of short inside," David Lalazarian said. "We just went inside early and it worked. When they started dropping down on me, Doug and the other guys started popping them from the outside."
Tustin struggled in the first half but still managed a 26-20 lead at halftime with Lalazarian leading the way. But the Tillers (27-1) pulled away in the third quarter as Gottlieb, who finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, helped key a 14-6 run for a 40-26 lead late in the quarter. Tustin, which led, 44-29, entering the fourth quarter, continued pouring it on to the end.