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Price defeats La Verne Lutheran in an entertaining matchup

A pair of college-bound big men clog the lane and superior guard play leads the Knights to an 80-65 victory.

January 22, 2011|By Eric Sondheimer
  • Price Coach Michael Lynch huddles with his team during an 80-65 victory over La Verne Lutheran on Saturday night at University of La Verne.
Price Coach Michael Lynch huddles with his team during an 80-65 victory… (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles…)

With 6-foot-9 Norvel Pelle, who is headed to St. John's, and 6-8 junior Skylar Spencer, Los Angeles Price has two basketball players who enjoy blocking shots and making dunks.

La Verne Lutheran's Grant Jerrett, a 6-9 center who has committed to Arizona, had three consecutive shots rejected in one possession against Pelle and Spencer on Saturday night during the California Elite Showcase at the University of La Verne.

Price and Lutheran, each a defending state champion, met in a spirited, entertaining matchup, but it was Price's size, strong bench play and stellar defensive effort at the guard position that propelled the Knights to an 80-65 victory.

Price (16-5) won its seventh consecutive game and took a major step toward securing the No. 1 seeding in Southern Section Division 3AA playoffs with the victory over Lutheran (11-4).

"We're playing like we're supposed to be playing," Coach Michael Lynch said of his defending state Division IV champions. "We're playing Price basketball."

Price had seven dunks, five by Pelle, who finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. Spencer had eight points, four blocks and one dunk. Lutheran's Bruce English had two crowd-pleasing dunks among his team-leading 19 points.

Spencer has scholarship offers from USC and UNLV, and there's nothing he likes to do more than disrupt players who come into the key.

"I like to make a big presence on defense," he said. "A lot of high school teams don't have two big men, so we like to take advantage."

Lynch said of Spencer: "He's a big-time player. He's a warrior. He's a shot blocker, a rebounder and runs the floor tremendously."

Jerrett started well but struggled in the second half, facing a double dose in the middle. He finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

"I know he's a good player, so I want to play extra hard on him," Spencer said.

Price's guards, led by Askia Booker, turned in a strong defensive performance, limiting Lutheran's C.J. Cooper and Eric Cooper to a combined four-for-16 shooting. Booker, a Colorado signee, finished with 16 points and seven assists.

Derrick Twiggs and Chance Murray contributed 13 and 12 points as reserves for Price.

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