Raiders cold from downtown, drop championship to Matadores

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Sonora had a knack for knocking down 3-pointers with the game on the line as they advanced through the first four rounds of the North Orange County Championships this week, but against La Mirada in Saturday night’s championship game they couldn’t find it from beyond the arc.LA Auto Show 2016

The Raiders made just three 3-pointers all night and scored just 8 points in the fourth quarter, opening the door for La Mirada to overcome an 8-point deficit and take the championship 62-58.

Despite the off shooting night, a scrappy defensive effort helped the Raiders hold onto the lead until sophomore Shemar Morrow slammed down the only dunk of the night to make it 54-53 Matadores with 3:43 remaining.

Up 2 points with under two minutes to play, La Mirada tightened up the perimeter defense. Sonora had several opportunities to score, but couldn’t convert their final seven shot attempts.

“When they switched to that zone [defense], we just weren’t really prepared for it,” senior Kevin Marlow said. “That’s on us, we were a little lethargic and we didn’t have a good plan to attack the zone.”

Daniel Cabrera nailed one of his four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to extend the lead. Brian Askew made a pair from downtown and hit two clutch free-throws in the final minute.

Cabrera led La Mirada with 20 points, while Askew had 14 and Morrow finished with 13.

With Bryce Rutledge dealing with an injury still and sharpshooter Sean Murphy having an off night from the field, Marlow and center Austin Carter carried the offense for Sonora.

Marlow was instrumental in extending the lead to 50-42 for the Raiders with 9 of his game-high 25 points coming in the third quarter. Carter finished with 20 points and 8 rebounds.

The Matadores held Murphy scoreless from the field and beyond the arc for the first time all year. His 2 points came on free-throws after being fouled while shooting a 3.

“They can get hot and they can score,” said La Mirada Head Coach Bryce Jones. “They’ve been down in a lot of their games and comeback to win, so we knew we had to stay on shooters.”

The Raiders will be back on the court after Christmas to play Mira Costa at the Torrey Pines tournament on December 27 at 11:30 a.m.

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