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ORANGE COUNTY * BOYS' BASKETBALL PLAYOFF CHAMPIONSHIPS

El Toro Flounders at the Pond

Division I-AA: Top-seeded Chargers struggle to hit their shots and fall to Glendora, 51-44.

March 04, 2001|STEVE KRESAL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

El Toro's first trip to a Southern Section boys' basketball championship game started better than the Chargers could have dreamed.

Top-seeded El Toro made its first three shots and opened up a quick seven-point lead, but the Chargers were never close to that pace again and fell to No. 2 Glendora, 51-44, in the Division I-AA final at the Arrowhead Pond.

"Glendora executed their game plan a little better than we did," El Toro Coach Todd Dixon said. "Playing in such a big arena is a little foreign to us."

El Toro had plenty of trouble shooting from the outside, which is often the case when teams make the move from high school gyms to places like the Pond.

The Chargers shot 37% (17 of 46), making only five of 23 three-point attempts. But it wasn't where the game was played that was the problem, according to El Toro guard Chris Parish, who started the game with a three-pointer but then made only one more in nine attempts.

"I just wasn't feeling it tonight," said Parish, who finished with 11 points. "I got off to a good start and thought I was going to have a good game but I didn't. It wasn't anything about the arena or the people or anything."

Left with little to count on from the outside, El Toro (27-4) turned to senior center Matt Green, who finished with a team-high 17 points on eight-of-11 shooting. He also had 15 rebounds and did his part to keep the game close.

Green had seven points in the second quarter, but was held scoreless in the third as Glendora outscored El Toro, 13-5, to take a 35-25 lead.

Larry Monroe scored 17 and Michael Mehanna 12 for Glendora, which started to double-team Green. The Chargers had trouble getting the ball inside, and with no outside game to rely on, they kept falling further behind.

"It was a great feeling," Glendora Coach Mike LeDuc said. "This team played very hard and their competitive spirit is as strong as with any team I have coached."

Glendora center Spencer Foster (10 points, 13 rebounds) turned in his biggest play of the game to end the third quarter, tipping in a shot that appeared to come after the clock ran out.

"I thought it was big play when they allowed that tip-in," Dixon said. "It wasn't the difference in the game but it did put us down by 10."

Glendora (27-4) got the ball to start the fourth quarter and Foster added another tip-in for a 12-point lead.

"I thought I did," Spencer said when asked if he tipped the ball before time expired. "We were fortunate enough to have it count. That was a real momentum swinger."

El Toro continued to play hard in the fourth quarter but never got closer than eight.

"We were very pumped up after our start," Green said. "We knew if we kept playing that way we could beat this team. . . We played together and we played with a lot of heart, but the shots just didn't fall.

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