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Crespi Throws Blanket on Oak Park's Hopes

Division IV-AA boys' basketball: Celts trail at halftime but hold Eagles scoreless for more than six minutes in 62-43 victory.

February 24, 2001|JOHN KLIMA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

AGOURA — The third quarter resembled an ambush more than it did a basketball game.

No. 1-seeded Crespi High found itself trailing by one point at halftime to No. 12-seeded Oak Park.

The Celts firmly established defensive dominance in the third quarter, holding Oak Park scoreless for more than six minutes while finding its offensive groove and pulling away in a 62-43 Southern Section Division IV-AA semifinal victory Friday at Agoura High.

Crespi (22-6) advances to the first Southern Section boys' basketball championship game in the school's 42-year history.

Oak Park (20-9) led, 23-22, at halftime, but the Celts went on an 18-0 run to start the third quarter.

Crespi held the Eagles scoreless until Eric Testan's jump shot with 1:44 to play in the quarter. By then, Crespi had a 40-26 lead.

Allan Ellis of Crespi scored nine of his 13 points in the third quarter.

Kingsley Anyanwu scored 25 points for the Celts and started the run with a three-point basket on the Celts' first possession. Crespi never trailed again.

Crespi made 80% of its shots in the third quarter. The Eagles didn't get off a shot until Testan's basket.

"Our defense is sort of predicated on the fact that we like to score from time to time," Oak Park Coach Rob Hall said. "They got extremely hot, Ellis killed us with some tough shots and they took us out of our game."

Oak Park, which has been without center Jeremy Murphy for two weeks because of illness, was also without shooting guard Daniel Jensen, a three-point threat who has a broken foot.

"I was a little nervous at halftime," Crespi Coach Dick Dornan said. '[Oak Park] is a very good ball club. We knew our defense would have to do the job. I told our guys at halftime that this was do or die. Show me what you're made of."

Oak Park scored only four points in the third quarter and held center Jason Adams, who finished with 14 points for the Eagles, to two points.

"They came out and just took us out of our rhythm," Adams said.

Crespi capitalized on 16 Oak Park turnovers in the game and pressed the Eagles with aggressive man-to-man coverage.

"We know that if we play like we are capable of defensively, then we can't be beat," Anyanwu said. "When me and [Ellis] get together, we can take over a game."

Oak Park opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run and cut Crespi's lead to 44-32 on Chris Crellin's three-pointer, but the Celts put on an 18-11 run to close out the game.

"You don't talk about the team you don't have, you talk about the team on the floor," Hall said. "We didn't have that much we could go to. We played them tough in the first half and they out played us in the third quarter."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

SOUTHERN SECTION BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS

Friday's Results

Division I-AAA

Quarterfinals

Ontario 83, Highland 49

Eisenhower 68, Oxnard 59

Division I-AA

Quarterfinals

Thousand Oaks 52, Cajon 50

Division III-AA

Semifinals

Bishop Montgomery 74, Notre Dame 45

Division IV-AA

Semifinals

Crespi 62, Oak Park 43

Division IV-A

Semifinals

St. Monica 62, L.A. Baptist 37

Division V-AA

Quarterfinals

Desert 54, Santa Clara 53

Kilpatrick 90, Serra 85

G.H. Hillcrest Chr. 66, Buckley 64

* Eisenhower rallies past Oxnard, 68-59, D15.

* Hillcrest Christian wins at finish, 66-64, D15.

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