La Habra boys lose close one to Wilson in Whittier Tourney

By Nathan Percy
La Habra JournalLHHS+SHS boys_basketball__371_4cLHHS+SHS boys_basketball__371_4c

The La Habra boys basketball team spent the entire second half trying to erase a small deficit, but ultimately lost 47-46 against Wilson of Hacienda Heights, in the second round of the Whittier Holiday Invitational, Thursday afternoon at Whittier High.

The Highlanders erased the deficit with four minutes to spare in the fourth quarter, but hit just one shot, a corner 3-pointer by David Desatoff with 7.2 seconds left, from that point on.

“We lost a close game today, but we’re in them now,” said David Ploog, La Habra head coach. “We have to learn to play with fatigue and make the right play and this experience helps with that. We slacked off for a quarter or two and it cost us and we talk about playing the whole time. We’re getting there.”

The second quarter put La Habra in a hole. Wilson outscored the Highlanders 17-7 to turn a four point deficit into a six point halftime lead.

In the second half, the Wildcats stretched the lead as high as nine points, but La Habra slowly started to reel itself back with stingy defense.

Desatoff provided the points for La Habra, putting in 17 with help from Justin Jaimez, who scored nine points.

However, Desatoff was charged with his fourth foul with the teams tied and four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

But the defense remained solid and the two teams traded trips down the court and missed shots until Wilson’s Justin Diaz knocked down a jump shot in the lane.

“At halftime, only three guys scored and we talked about other guys stepping up,” Ploog said. “They have to be ready for the opportunity and hopefully this will help give those guys a little more confidence.”

After another unsuccessful La Habra trip, Eli Mercado made two free throws following a foul to extend the Wildcats’ lead to four points.

Desatoff then hit his 3-pointer from the corner and La Habra fouled Mercado again.

However, Mercado missed the free throw and Adam Cooley bobbled the rebound, leaving only a desperation attempt for Zach Gray from just inside half-court.

The shot missed and Wilson escaped with a one-point victory.

Diaz led Wilson with 14 points and Mercado helped with 11 points, including three 3-pointers.

Kenny Lopez and Brandon Miramontes controlled the boards, with nine and seven rebounds respectively for Wilson.

“We’re trying to fine tune what we’re doing and add a couple things defensively,” Ploog said. “We’re trying to add or refine some things and I don’t want to wait for league play to do it, so we’re getting there.”

La Habra continues in the Whittier Holiday Invitational tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. at Whittier High.

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