Sports

Highlanders collect big win over Sunny Hills, Lady Highlanders extend win streak

David Desatoff scored 12 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter and La Habra upset Sunny Hills 72-69, Wednesday night at home.
David Desatoff scored 12 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter and La Habra upset Sunny Hills 72-69, Wednesday night at home.

by Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal

The La Habra boys’ basketball team kept the sun from shining as they beat Sunny Hills, 72-69, at home on Friday.

Although the score was close, La Habra (15-8, 4-3) led the Lancers throughout the game. Both teams battled until the end, but the Highlanders got their revenge after losing to Sunny Hills in the teams’ first Freeway League matchup earlier in the season.

“Last time they did a really good job pushing fast and they still did it tonight too, they’re very fast,” said David Ploog, La Habra head coach. “We just had to remind ourselves to get back on defense. We did a lot of defensive transitioning to get back with our players.”

La Habra started strong in the first quarter with a block by Adam Cooley less than a minute into the game that allowed the Highlanders to gain control of the ball, which landed in the hands of Justin Jaimez who sank a three-pointer.

La Habra led Sunny Hills (15-9, 5-2), 14-13, going into the second quarter.

Tension and aggression between the two teams escalated in the second quarter. The players became more physical and the crowd started to get rowdy.

“We did a good job keeping them on the three-point line and rotating defensively,” Ploog said. “A team like that, you always have to get on them close. We also stressed pressing the ball hard so that they weren’t able to get their drives.”

David Desatoff stole the ball from the Lancers early in the quarter and drove down the court for a layup, advancing their score to 18-13.

Sunny Hills continued to push the pace, but La Habra kept the lead, 37-30, going into halftime.

“I basically just drew on the board, keep them on the three-point line, and attack the basket,” Ploog said. “As long as we kept attacking the basket we’re going to get baskets. Because of our size we kept saying that they’re going to push you, but we just have to keep going to the basket.”

Sunny Hills came back fighting after halftime and Elijah Kim sank a three pointer at the beginning of the quarter.

La Habra fought back and Adam Cooley drove the ball down the baseline, twisted to get through defenders, and made the layup, which advanced their lead to its highest point at 43-33.

Both teams went back and forth with scoring, but La Habra kept the lead over Sunny Hills, 53-44, going into the final quarter.

The fourth quarter was dominated by offense for both teams and the ball was constantly ricocheting back and forward between baskets.

La Habra was up by only one point with less than a minute left in the game, but Jaimez was fouled and made both free throws, advancing the score to 66-63. Zachary Gray quickly sank a shot and Desatoff followed by adding two more baskets to end the game.

David Desatoff led the team in scoring with a season high of 27 points and Adam Cooley followed with 13 points.

“I was just on fire today, I guess, and my team was playing extremely well,” Desatoff said. “Going into tonight’s game we needed to shut down Max Thurman and I think we did a pretty good job of that. There was a lot of shoving and holding, but we had to get through it.”

La Habra’s next game will be against Troy on Friday at Troy High School.

“We know that Troy has a lot of different options, they have a lot of good shooters and we’re going to have to press their shooters again just like before,” Ploog said. “We’re going to work in practice at getting out on shooters quickly, Offensively, I think if we continue to move things like we did tonight and work on getting it low towards that basket, it’s going to help us out.”

Lizette Martinez (right) led the Lady Highlanders with 13 points in a dominant 44-24 win over Sunny Hills, Wednesday night at home.
Lizette Martinez (right) led the Lady Highlanders with 13 points in a dominant 44-24 win over Sunny Hills, Wednesday night at home.

GIRLS VARSITY

The La Habra girls’ basketball team extended their win streak to four games as they beat Sunny Hills, 44-24, at home on Wednesday.

La Habra (13-9, 6-1) started the game strong and controlled the ball, eliminated turnovers, and forced turnovers out of the Lady Lancers. The Lady Highlanders held the Sunny Hills to only three points in the first quarter.

“I think we had some time to prepare,” said Jim Bohn, La Habra head coach. “Our shooting has been pretty good the last few games, which helps, and our defense was great. I thought Larissa [Maehara] did a great job on Justis [Simpson] and held her to four points and Lizette [Martinez] also held [Lauren] Fruto, their other scorer, to two points. They played great defense and played the zone very well.”

Sunny Hills (13-10, 3-4) had a hard time stopping La Habra on defense and the Lady Highlanders took advantage of opportunities. La Habra led 19-3 going into the second quarter.

“We figured we would go with speed this time,” Bohn said. “We moved Larissa on Justis to get that speed because Kaili is rehabbing from a few little injuries and we figured to go to a speed game and Megan [Chancellor] played big again. We moved the ball well offensively and we eliminated turnovers from what we normally do. It’s a big win for us. [Sunny Hills Head Coach] Craig Weinreich has a great team and they play hard, but I’m excited we held the team and played with them.”

The Lady Highlanders’ momentum carried into the second quarter as Ashleigh Bessler scored off of a layup under the basket less than thirty seconds into the start of the quarter.

La Habra played hard on defense and kept Sunny Hills in single digits. The Lady Highlanders continued to lead, 25-7 going into halftime.

“I told them that when we came back out I wanted them to continue focusing on playing, you held them for the first half and continue it for the second,” Bohn said “I told them to look at the scoreboard as if it were reversed, so we were playing going uphill rather than from the top. I think that kept them aggressive for the second half.”

The Lady Highlanders came back fighting in the second half and continued to push the ball on offense.

Martinez gained possession of the ball halfway through the quarter and drove it down the middle for a layup, made the basket, and was fouled. Martinez made her free throw to complete the three-point play.

La Habra’s defense did not let up and held the Lady Lancers to only two points in the quarter. The Lady Highlanders led 36-9 going into the final quarter.

The Lady Lancers tried to come back in the fourth quarter by scoring 15 points, but the attempt wasn’t enough to take the lead and win the game.

Martinez led the team in scoring with 13 points and Chancellor followed with 10 points.

“I just wanted to make my baskets and try to get the team pumped up,” Martinez said. “I wanted to win tonight’s game and hopefully do better than what we did last time, to reduce the turnovers that we had last game, and to beat them.”

La Habra’s next game will be against Troy on Friday at Troy High School.

“We are going to go out and be competitive, be aggressive, and play our game,” Bohn said. “Troy is a great team, they have a lot of great players, and when you have a team that’s in the top five in the county, our goal is to try to eliminate turnovers, play aggressive, play our game, and give our best effort.”

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