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Loud Victory With Steryo Cranked Up

Boys' basketball: Montclair Prep knocks off Division V-AA rival Pacific Hills, 69-56, behind guard's 17-point, second-half effort.


VAN NUYS — Forget the first half. Rocky Steryo of Montclair Prep certainly did.

After suffering through an abysmal shooting performance in the first and second quarters and hearing about it from coaches at intermission, Steryo responded by scoring 17 of his 26 points in the second half for the Mounties, who cruised past Pacific Hills, 69-56, in a nonleague game Tuesday night at Montclair Prep.

Facing a team that has won four of the last five Division V-A titles and is currently ranked No. 2 in Division V-AA, Montclair Prep (17-3), winners of 11 straight, wanted to prove its top ranking at the Division V-AA level was legitimate.

"They came into our house, talking trash," said senior forward Kevin Bentley, who had 13 points and 11 rebounds. "We came out pointing to our [1996] state champion and [1997] state finalist banners. Basically what we told them is we're taking the state in '98."

It took an entire half before Montclair Prep began to stake its claim. The Mounties tied the game twice in the first half, but never owned a lead and trailed, 34-31, at the break.

"We felt they were on fire in the first half," Bentley said. "So we went [from a 2-3 zone] to a man-to-man defense and it worked because they really got frustrated."

No Pacific Hills player was more frustrated than leading scorer Conrad Adamczak, who was guarded by an aggressive Bentley in the second half.

On three occasions referees cautioned Bentley that he was about to draw a foul for getting too physical with Adamczak (18 points) before the ball was even in play.

Bentley, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker who committed to play football for Northwestern on Tuesday, knew he was doing his job.

"[Adamczak] said, 'Good luck with football because you shouldn't be on the court,' " said an amused Bentley.

Steryo, the team's leading scorer at 22.6 points a game, was just three of 16 in the first half.

"[Coaches] were telling me I've got to score more, that I have to step up in big games," the guard said.

It obviously sank in.

Steryo's baseline drive for a basket early in the third, the first of his 11 points in the period, that gave the Mounties their first lead, 35-34.

Pacific Hills (15-4) reclaimed the lead momentarily on a putback by Adamczak, but consecutive three-pointers by Steryo gave Montclair Prep the lead for good, 41-38, with 4:10 remaining in the third.

His second three-pointer of the period ignited a 12-4 run for a 50-42 lead entering the fourth.

Steryo hit six of seven three-pointers in the second half, including his first five attempts, and chipped in five assists.

Jed Hall scored 14 points despite missing most of the second quarter in foul trouble.

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