Highlanders fall flat against Buena Park, Lady Highlanders cruise into playoffs
by Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal
The La Habra’s boys’ basketball team lost to Buena Park, 45-42, in the final seconds of the game on Thursday at Buena Park High School.
La Habra (15-11, 4-6) played hard offensively and defensively, but their efforts came up short.
The Highlanders were up, 37-36, at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but Buena Park (10-17, 2-8) scored quickly to regain the lead.
Adam Cooley drove through defenders for a layup, putting La Habra up by one point, but Buena Park reestablished the lead by scoring four points.
Cooley came back with another basket at the end of the quarter as La Habra trailed, 42-41.
After a free throw made by Buena Park, Cooley was fouled with less than 30 seconds in the game and added one more point for La Habra. The Coyotes led, 43-42.
With less than ten seconds remaining in the game, Buena Park made two free throws to secure the win.
La Habra moved the ball around well on offense, but lacked points due to the absence of leading scorer, David Desatoff.
Buena Park was first to score in the first quarter, but the Highlanders were quick to retaliate.
Down by two points at the end of the quarter, Michael Banks drove down the court and dunked the ball to tie the game, 14-14.
The Highlanders continued to play hard in the second quarter, but Buena Park took the lead, 31-20, going into halftime.
“Pressure them defensively and get steals,” said David Ploog, La Habra head coach about their strategy for the second half.
La Habra came back fighting in the third quarter and outscored Buena Park by 12 points. Buena Park played physical, which made it hard for La Habra to gain a big lead.
“No not totally,” said Coach Ploog on matching Buena Park’s physicality level. “We only did it for a quarter and because of that we lost. We had to do it for four quarters and we only did it one.”
Cooley and Zachary Gray led La Habra in scoring with 13 points each.
The La Habra girls’ basketball team clinched second place in the Freeway League as they beat Buena Park, 42-18, at Buena Park High School on Thursday.
“We took a night off last night and it kind of showed today,” said Jim Bohn, La Habra head Coach. “We were able to get some of the other players in, but we were flat.”
The Highlanders (15-10, 8-2) dominated on offense in the first quarter. Lizette Martinez stole the ball late in the quarter and drove it down the court for a layup.
La Habra didn’t allow Buena Park (4-17, 0-10) to score until the last few minutes of the quarter. The Highlanders led, 11-5, going into the second quarter.
Buena Park was first to score in the second quarter, but La Habra fought back and scored nine consecutive points.
Halfway through the quarter, Kaili Peko stole the ball and passed it down the court to Megan Chancellor, who finished the play with a shot under the basket.
Amanda Newby ended the quarter by scoring a three-pointer. La Habra kept the lead, 23-12, going into halftime.
“I got into them a little bit and made sure they got out and spread out the score so we could get other players in,” said Coach Bohn. “That really didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but at the end I had to get my players prepared for next week.”
La Habra continued its dominance on offense and defense in the second half. At the end of the third quarter, Hannah McArthur stole the ball and drove down the court for a layup.
The Highlanders didn’t allow Buena Park to score until the final seconds of the quarter. La Habra led, 36-14, going into the final quarter.
Buena Park was first to score in the fourth quarter, but La Habra stayed strong on defense, which secured the win.
Kaili Peko led La Habra in scoring with 13 points.
“It was good because everyone worked together as a team,” Peko said. “We kind of slacked off in the beginning, but it was good to have a team win for the last game. Going into the playoffs it will help us a lot.”
The Lady Highlanders will find out on Sunday who they will play in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2AA playoffs.
“We have a lot of practice,” said Coach Bohn, “We’re taking the night off tomorrow, we’re having Saturday practice, we find out on Sunday, and then we’re practicing all the way up until the game.”