Sports

La Habra boys hoops can’t keep pace with Sunny Hills, Zener’s late shot wins it for girls hoops

Adam Cooley led La Habra with 23 points in the team's loss to Sunny Hills, Friday night at Sunny Hills High.
Adam Cooley led La Habra with 23 points in the team’s loss to Sunny Hills, Friday night at Sunny Hills High.

by Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal

The La Habra boy’s basketball team had a tough time keeping up with Sunny Hills’ fast pace and three-point shots in its loss against the Lancers, 69-58, Thursday night at Sunny Hills High School.

La Habra (12-6, 1-1) played hard on the outside offensively, but had a difficult time driving the ball through the middle in the first quarter.

Seven of the eleven points scored by the Highlanders were from free throws in the first quarter while the Lancers scored most of their points off of layups and jump shots.

Sunny Hills (12-7, 2-0) stayed solid on defense, but La Habra’s Michael Banks forced his way through their defenders and had two strong drives down the middle for layups in the second quarter.

The Lancers continued to push the ball on offense, but La Habra’s Josh Garcia sank a three-pointer at the buzzer. Sunny Hills led La Habra 50-27 going into halftime.

“We were talking about taking it play by play,” said David Ploog, La Habra head coach, about his strategy going into the second half. “We were trying to go as deep as we could to the basket because we weren’t shooting the ball well.”

La Habra gained control of the pace in the third quarter and created gaps in Sunny Hills’ defense, which allowed the Highlanders to drive the ball down the middle for layups.

The Highlanders carried their momentum into the fourth quarter. They pushed the ball on offense and tightened up their defense allowing Sunny Hills to score only 2 points for the majority of the quarter.

The crowd got louder as the game went on and even had to be held back at certain points to keep them from interfering with the game.

“Defensively we had a good plan, but we weren’t doing what we wanted to do,” said Coach Ploog. “In the second half we spread our offense and we were able to attack the basket better. We probably could have done that in the fist half, but we knew that they were fast and we didn’t want to play to that speed.”

The Highlanders were on a comeback, making the game as close as six points in the last few minutes, but it wasn’t enough to take the lead. La Habra scored 19 points in the fourth quarter and held Sunny Hills to only nine points.

“I think we lost our composure,” said Coach Ploog. “I think we kind of played to the crowd and we rushed ourselves. If we didn’t rush ourselves I think we would have had a better chance.”

Adam Cooley scored 23 points and Zach Gray added 13 points to lead La Habra.

Max Thurman led the Lancers with 21 points and Tim Ahn scored 16 points.

The Highlanders have another tough game against Troy at La Habra High School on Wednesday.

“Troy does a lot of pressing and they have a very high pressure defense,” Ploog said. “We have to get ready and get used to that.”

Megan Chancellor led the Lady Highlanders with 20 points in their win over Sunny Hills, Friday night at Sunny Hills High.
Megan Chancellor led the Lady Highlanders with 20 points in their win over Sunny Hills, Friday night at Sunny Hills High.

GIRLS VARSITY

The La Habra girls’ basketball team won a close game against Sunny Hills, 45-42, at Sunny Hills High School Thursday night.

“Sunny Hills is going to push the tempo a little more than we played the first game,” said Jim Bohn, La Habra head coach. “The strategy going into tonight’s game is to control and keep possession, eliminate turnovers and play solid defense.”

Sunny Hills (11-7, 1-1) played at a fast pace from the start of the game, but both teams had a hard time making shots. The Highlanders were aggressive on defense and held the Lancers to only three points in the first quarter.

The Lancers scored quickly in the second quarter, but La Habra (9-8, 2-0) kept composure and fought back. At the end of the second quarter Megan Chancellor drove the ball down the court and scored with a jump shot from the elbow.

The crowd was rowdy and both teams were aggressive, but the Highlanders kept the lead, 17-14, going into halftime.

“I had to keep them under control,” said Coach Bohn. “We’re playing at a hostile environment which is great for league and ultimately I told them ‘you’re in control, you just need to win those last few minutes.’”

La Habra started strong in the third quarter with two consecutive steals by Lizette Martinez that she drove down the court for layups.

Sunny Hills came back fighting at the end of the third quarter when Justis Simpson scored six consecutive points. The Highlanders led 30-29 going into the fourth quarter.

The game remained close throughout the fourth quarter, but the Highlanders pulled off the win with some help from La Habra’s leading scorer Megan Chancellor, who contributed 20 points, and a big play by freshman Emma Zener, who made a three pointer in the last 40 seconds of the game to take the lead.

The Highlanders have another tough game against Troy at La Habra High School on Wednesday.

“Our next game is against Troy and that is going to be a tough task,” Bohn said. “We’ll be at home so we may be a little more comfortable, but we’re young and we know we’re going to have our ups and downs. We want to play the best in order to be the best and we’re going to go on with that mind set and see what comes out of it.”

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.