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Highlanders struggle to keep pace with Canyon, fall in second round

Posted on 25 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

Adam Cooley (pictured) and Zach Gray led the Highlanders with 15 points each, but La Habra lost to Canyon of Canyon Country 67-50, ending its season at 16-12.

Adam Cooley (pictured) and Zach Gray led the Highlanders with 15 points each, but La Habra lost to Canyon of Canyon Country 67-50, ending its season at 16-12.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

SANTA CLARITA – After picking up its upset win in the first round, the La Habra boys’ basketball team couldn’t match a quick tempo by Canyon of Canyon Country in a 67-50 loss in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 2AA playoffs, Tuesday night at Canyon High.

The Highlanders fell into a double-digit deficit twice in the first half, but responded well both times and went into halftime down by six points.

However, in the third quarter, Canyon’s quick zone defense caused problems for the Highlanders, who rushed shots and missed second chance opportunities down low.

“They do an extended zone, so we were really trying to get the ball down low to Adam [Cooley], but it was hard,” said Dave Ploog, La Habra head coach. “Their pressure was forcing us to take bad shots and we really couldn’t get into rhythm. I thought we had some really good looks on 3-pointers, but against a team like this you have to hit your shots and we shot a really low 3-point percentage tonight.”

Canyon switched between full-court press and half court zone defensive schemes. During full-court presses, La Habra struggled to find breathing room in the backcourt.

The Cowboys turned some of those turnovers into fastbreak points and Canyon did most of its damage by slashing through defenders to get to the basket and hitting timely 3-pointers.

“I think we were just surprised by their tempo, because we didn’t see a lot of teams that play this way,” Ploog said. “We just weren’t able to get into a groove.”

Canyon guard Mark Cabrera scored 12 of his 16 points by consistently driving through the interior of La Habra’s defense.

Cabrera was only outdone by guard Ben Taufahema, who scored nine of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Cowboys ran away into the quarterfinals.

“In the second half, [their pace] had a major impact because we were also in foul trouble,” Ploog said. “We weren’t really getting into rhythm, we weren’t getting any good looks. In the fourth quarter, we were scoring, but they kept getting them back.”

The Highlanders tried to slow down and stick to their offensive gameplan, but found themselves getting forced into Canyon’s tempo by an aggressive Cowboys’ zone defense.

If La Habra broke through the defense for a score, Canyon would try to run the floor, forcing La Habra to be aware and quick in transition, which wasn’t always easy.

However, in the first half, La Habra was resilient and battled back. In the second quarter, the Highlanders adjusted defensively to hold Canyon to 12 points..

After falling behind 16-4 midway in the first quarter, Zach Gray hit a jumper and a 3-pointer to lead a 10-2 run by La Habra to end the opening frame.

The Highlanders again fell behind by double digits at 26-16 in the second quarter, but the team responded with aggressive offensive play, which may not have resulted in baskets from the floor, but it did lead to six made free throws.

But after a half of trying to keep pace, the Highlanders struggled to find good shots against Canyon’s aggressive zone, scoring just five points in the third quarter.

Canyon (23-6) ran away, scoring 27 points in the fourth quarter. La Habra’s season ends at 16-12.

Gray and Adam Cooley led the Highlanders with 15 points each, while David Desatoff and Michael Banks added seven points.

Cooley led the team with eight rebounds, while Desatoff came away with seven rebounds.

“Our seniors were able to bond, knowing that this was their last chance,” Ploog said. “I thought we came together well at the end of the season. As a coach, it’s great to have kids that like to work hard and like to play together and that’s what I’ll take away from this season. Not the wins and losses, but the fact that this team was always ready to work hard and play together.”

The Highlanders will lose 10 seniors to graduation, which means Ploog and his staff may have to alter their offensive gameplan moving forward for next year.

One thing that will remain constant will be the emphasis on defense, which showed progress this year in comparison to his debut season as head coach last year.

“We just need to keep focusing on our keys and work on becoming more of an offensive team,” Ploog said. “We want to work on some more sets. This year, we were able to spread the floor and let our athletes work, but we may need to change that moving forward. We always work hard and take pride in our defense, but we have a lot of guards coming up, so we may need to play a faster game.

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Desatoff leads in Highlanders upset of Woodbridge in first round

Posted on 21 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

David Desatoff scored 12 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter as the Highlanders held on to upset Woodbridge 74-69, Friday night on the road in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2AA playoffs.

David Desatoff scored 12 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter as the Highlanders held on to upset Woodbridge 74-69, Friday night on the road in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2AA playoffs.

by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal

IRVINE – The La Habra boys basketball team shook up the CIF-SS Division 2AA bracket with a first-round upset victory over Woodbridge, 74-69, Friday at Woodbridge High.

Though many people consider the win and upset, La Habra head coach Dave Ploog did not see it that way.

“I actually think that our style matches up with a lot of the teams in the bracket,” Ploog said. “I think we have a good shot to make a pretty good run here.”

La Habra came out with a lot of intensity and jumped out to an 18-12 lead. They took that lead into the second quarter.

Woodbridge opened up in the second quarter and won the quarter 18-17, but La Habra took a 35-30 lead into the half.

The Highlanders (15-11) were looking for someone to step up in the third quarter and help break open the game. David Desatoff rose to the challenge and did just that.

In the third quarter alone, he had 12 of his 24 points. He also made two of his three 3-pointers in the quarter.

“My teammates started getting me the ball and it seemed like they gave me a little bit more space,” Desatoff said. “It is just what I do. Hopefully the shots keep falling in the next couple rounds.”

The Highlanders took a commanding 57-42 lead into the fourth quarter, but Woodbridge (19-9) would not go down without a fight and went to a relentless full-court press defense that wreaked havoc on the Highlanders, causing multiple turnovers and easy buckets.

“At the half, we talked about that defense and knew that they were going to play it,” Ploog said. “Then, they went to it and the gym got super loud and we were not executing.”

The Warriors battled back and cut the deficit to 70-69 with 35.1 seconds left. Desatoff went to the line and knocked down two free throws to expand the lead to 72-69.

Woodbridge’s Michael Scarlett had 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter alone. The ball ended up in his hands at the end of the game, but he missed a contested three pointer from the corner. Adam Cooley picked up the rebound and got fouled.

“Adam was huge for us,” Ploog said. “We put him in the middle and ran the ball through him when they picked up that pressure and he made some big plays.”

Cooley went to the line and drained two free throws to ice the game. He had 18 points on the game.

“I thought that I could have done better with some of the situations at the end,” Cooley said. “It is something that I will work on in practice before our next game.”

It does not get any easier from here as the Highlanders will next take on Canyon High of Canyon Country on the road in the second round.

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Highlanders fall flat against Buena Park, Lady Highlanders cruise into playoffs

Posted on 14 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

Adam Cooley (seen here) and Zach Gray led the Highlanders with 13 points each, but La Habra fell to Buena Park 45-42, Thursday night at Buena Park High.

Adam Cooley (seen here) and Zach Gray led the Highlanders with 13 points each, but La Habra fell to Buena Park 45-42, Thursday night at Buena Park High.

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.

Kaili Peko led the Lady Highlanders with 13 points as La Habra defeated Buena Park 42-18, Thursday night at Buena Park High.

Kaili Peko led the Lady Highlanders with 13 points as La Habra defeated Buena Park 42-18, Thursday night at Buena Park High.

GIRLS VARSITY

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.”

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Sonora boys hoops clinch outright league title, Lady Highlanders add history to rivalry

Posted on 12 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

Sonora's Josh Rodriguez attempts a layup while La Habra's Adam Cooley attempts to block during the first half of Sonora's league title-clinching 58-41 win at La Habra, Tuesday night.

Sonora’s Josh Rodriguez attempts a layup while La Habra’s Adam Cooley attempts to block during the first half of Sonora’s league title-clinching 58-41 win at La Habra, Tuesday night. Photos by Erik Markus, La Habra Journal

by Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal

The Sonora boys’ basketball team beat La Habra, 58-41, and clinched the Freeway League title in the rivalry game at La Habra High School on Tuesday.

Despite the win, Sonora Head Coach Mike Murphy wasn’t pleased with his team’s preparation for the game as evidenced by a tie ballgame at halftime.

“Not very well, obviously,” Murphy said on how the team prepared for the rivalry. “We thought we did, but they definitely outcoached us. Their team was more prepared than us, especially at the beginning of the game. We had a really hard time against that zone and we really never did figure it out.”

La Habra (15-10, 4-5) started the game on top with two consecutive 3-pointers by Justin Jaimez and David Desatoff followed with a layup by Alex Evanoff.

Sonora (23-3, 9-0) fought back by scoring eight points to tie the game with a little over two minutes left in the quarter.

Michael Banks gave the lead back to La Habra with a three-pointer, but Sonora responded with a layup made by Josh Rodriguez.

Desatoff was fouled and made both free throws, but Ben Rico came back with a layup for the Raiders and was fouled on the drive. Rico made the free throw to complete the three-point play.

Banks sank a jump shot at the end of the quarter, giving La Habra the lead, 15-13, going into the second quarter.

Adam Marlow was fouled at the beginning of the second quarter and made both free throws to tie the game, 15-15.

Jaimez responded with a driving layup to give La Habra the lead, but Sonora’s Steven Murphy was fouled shortly after and made both free throws to tie the game, 17-17.

The Highlanders countered with a layup made by Jaimez and a three-pointer by Josh Garcia. Desatoff was fouled with a little over two minutes left in the half, but the fire alarm went off as he was approaching the free throw line.

School officials confirmed that there wasn’t a fire as La Habra’s student section, referred to as the “6th Man Clan,” chanted, “We’re too hot.” Desatoff made one of two free throws, giving La Habra the lead 23-17.

La Habra's David Desatoff draws a foul against Sonora's Adam Marlow during the second half of the Raiders' 58-41 win at La Habra, Tuesday night.

La Habra’s David Desatoff draws a foul against Sonora’s Adam Marlow during the second half of the Raiders’ 58-41 win at La Habra, Tuesday night.

Sonora came back at the end of the quarter and tied the game, 27-27, going into halftime.

“We went over what we could do against their zone to try to get some shots,” Murphy said. “We’ve really been struggling. We can’t make any shots and it’s been frustrating because we’ve had good looks, so hopefully we can shake out of that slump before the playoffs.”

Sonora started the second half with a shot made by Rodriguez, but La Habra’s Zach Gray responded with a baseline drive for a layup.

The Raiders scored six consecutive points, four by Rodriguez and two from Rico. La Habra returned with a long three-pointer made by David Desatoff, cutting Sonora’s lead to 36-32.

Sonora pushed the ball on offense and scored 11 consecutive points at the end of the quarter. Sonora led, 47-35, going into the final half.

The Raiders started the fourth quarter with two baskets made by Marlow and a reverse layup by Roy Saucedo. Adam Cooley responded with a layup, but Sonora continued to lead, 53-37.

The Highlanders fought hard to try to regain the lead but the Raiders’ defense stayed strong, allowing them to clinch the win and the league title.

“Defensively we have to give them credit because they made good shots,” said David Ploog, La Habra head coach. “They made eight in a row to start the third quarter, made some big threes, but we didn’t come out with the energy we needed in the third quarter. They got a couple of offensive rebounds and put-backs and that hurt us. We were a little flat defensively in the third quarter.”

Rico led Sonora in scoring with 18 points.

The Highlanders will finish fourth in the Freeway League this season, after Troy’s win over Sunny Hills forced a tie between the two for second place. Both teams sit two games ahead of the Highlanders with one game remaining.

La Habra’s next game will be against Buena Park on Thursday at Buena Park High School.

“They’re really physical, so we have to be sure to play them real tough and meet their physicality at their place,” Ploog said. “They always play well at Buena Park. We have to come out and really have a good practice tomorrow and get ready for their physical play and work on our defense and our offensive plays to get ready for that.”

Sonora’s next game will be again Sunny Hills at home on Thursday.

“The next game is Sunny Hills so it’s a tough prep there,” Murphy said. “They’re so fast and they’re so quick. We’re just going to get together tomorrow at practice and get ready for Sunny Hills.”

Sonora's Meghann Henderson attempts a shot while La Habra's Megan Chancellor defends during the fourth quarter of La Habra's 48-45 win at home, Tuesday night.

Sonora’s Meghann Henderson attempts a shot while La Habra’s Megan Chancellor defends during the fourth quarter of La Habra’s 48-45 win at home, Tuesday night.

GIRLS VARSITY

History was made as the La Habra girls’ basketball team beat Sonora, 48-45, on Tuesday night at La Habra High School. The Lady Highlanders swept the Lady Raiders for the first time since 1997.

La Habra (14-10, 7-2) got off to a rough start in the first quarter, allowing Sonora to score the first four points of the game.

Megan Chancellor scored the first two points for La Habra, but Meghann Henderson responded with two consecutive steals for layups, giving Sonora (10-14, 3-6) the lead, 8-2.

Late in the first quarter Lizette Martinez sank a baseline jump shot, but was pushed out of bounds and fouled. Martinez made the free throw to complete the three-point play. However, Sonora led, 17-7, going into the second quarter.

Ashleigh Bessler stepped up defensively for La Habra and had two big blocks within seconds of each other, allowing the Lady Highlanders to regain possession of the ball.

“I’m glad they didn’t call them fouls,” said Ashleigh Bessler. “They usually do because I’m so much bigger so they usually call them fouls every time. They game was aggressive, but it made me want to play harder because I was getting angry.”

La Habra pushed the ball on offense and scored on three consecutive possessions. With a little over three minutes left in the half, Martinez faked out her defender and sank a jump shot. La Habra trailed Sonora 17-15.

The Lady Raiders responded with a layup and three-pointer, both made by Henderson.

Still trailing Sonora, Emma Zener sank a three-pointer with a little over a minute left in the quarter, giving the Lady Highlanders the momentum they needed to fight back on offense.

Martinez followed with a layup, assisted by Kaili Peko and Larissa Maehara ended the quarter with a three-pointer, giving La Habra the lead 24-23 going into halftime.

“I wanted to let them know that the first three minutes of this next quarter are the most important,” said Jim Bohn, La Habra head coach. “You have to own that and I thought we did that well. At the end we looked like a young team, turning it over and playing right into their game and I give them credit. Sonora stuck in there and they played hard.”

Henderson was the first to score in the third quarter, giving Sonora the lead.

The game got physical and the crowd got rowdy towards the end of the quarter as both teams battled for the lead.

La Habra played hard on offense and Amanda Cuervo drove through defenders for a layup with less than two minutes remaining in the quarter, giving The Lady Highlanders the lead, 34-25.

The intensity increased as the game got aggressive and Sonora’s head coach, Melissa Barajas, was given a double technical and kicked out of the game after walking on the court to talk to the referee following a called foul.

Zener made three of the four technical free throws for La Habra. The Lady Highlanders continued their lead, 38-28, going into the final quarter.

Chancellor started the fourth quarter with a layup assisted by Bessler and Maehara followed by sinking a jump shot, which advanced the score to 42-28.

But Barajas’ ejection served to fire up the Lady Raiders, as Sonora fought back on offense and scored eight points in a row at the end of the quarter.

Martinez came back with a layup under the basket, but Sonora responded with two free throws by Henderson and a layup by Lauren Nakahara. The Lady Raiders trailed, 45-42, with less than a minute left in the game.

Sonora fought to try to regain the lead at the end of the quarter, but the Lady Highlanders’ defense stayed strong as the time expired on the clock.

Zener led La Habra in scoring with 14 points and Martinez followed with 13 points. Henderson led Sonora in scoring with 21 points.

La Habra’s next game will be against Buena Park on Thursday at Buena Park High School.

“We have to get in the gym tomorrow and try to get our feet back on the ground,” Bohn said. “It’s important, we want to finish out league, 8-2, and Buena Park is not going to just give it to us. We have to go over there and compete. I want to make sure they’re grounded, that way we get ourselves into the playoff mode next week.”

Sonora, which swept La Habra last season, will host Sunny Hills in its season finale, Thursday night.

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Long range jumpers hurt Highlanders, Troy girls continue dominance

Posted on 08 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

Adam Cooley scored 14 points as the Highlanders fell to Troy on the road, 68-63, Friday night.

Adam Cooley scored 14 points as the Highlanders fell to Troy on the road, 68-63, Friday night.

by Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal

A hard fought game didn’t end well for the La Habra boys’ basketball team as it lost to Troy, 68-63, on Friday night at Troy High School.

“They’re a really good three point shooting team, so defensively we wanted to really keep them on the side and pressure the ball,” said David Ploog, La Habra head coach. “And then we did a lot of offense where we wanted to drive down the lanes because we’re a better team at layups. So we were trying to do that, but they were doing a better job keeping us out of the paint.”

The score was close throughout the game, forcing both teams to battle it out until the end.

La Habra (15-9, 4-4) started the game strong with a drive for a layup by Adam Cooley followed by two consecutive three-pointers by David Desatoff and Zachary Gray.

Troy (15-10, 5-3) responded with a layup by David Bayeh, who was also fouled on the drive and sank his free throw to complete the three-point play.

La Habra continued to push the ball on offense for the majority of the quarter, but Troy fought back by scoring eight consecutive points to cut La Habra’s lead to 21-18.

Trailing by three points with seconds left in the quarter, Troy inbounded the ball to Josh Carnesi who sank a long three at the buzzer to tie the game, 21-21.

The game got physical in the second quarter as both teams played hard on defense in an attempt to keep each other from scoring. The Warriors took the lead, 32-31, going into halftime.

“It was defense,” Ploog said about their strategy for the second half. “They had the ball too much in the middle and that cost us. We talked about keeping them out of the middle and we did a better job in the second half, but they hit big shots and you have to give them credit for hitting big threes.”

The Highlanders started the second half with a drive down the middle for a layup by Desatoff, giving them the lead, 33-32.

The ball continued to bounce back and forth between both teams on offense, but Troy regained the lead at the end of the third quarter, advancing the score to 44-43.

Gray came out in the beginning of the fourth quarter with a layup allowing La Habra to regain the lead. Troy responded with a jump shot, but then fouled Cooley who made a free throw to tie the game.

After a jump shot and a big three-pointer by Troy, Cooley was slammed into the wall and fouled. Despite getting up slowly, Cooley sank both free throws.

Halfway through the quarter, Justin Jaimez was fouled and made both free throws, allowing La Habra to regain the lead, 54-53.

Troy responded by sinking a three-pointer and two consecutive layups, taking the lead, 60-54, with less than three minutes remaining in the game.

“Their threes were the biggest thing that hurt us,” Ploog said. “We were rotating fine, but we have to give them credit. We didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, we played well. Big teams step up in big moments and they were able to do it.”

La Habra tried to fight back on offense, but Troy’s defense kept them from regaining the lead.

The Highlanders had three players scoring in double digits. Desatoff led with 25 points, Cooley had 14, and Gray had 12.

La Habra’s next game will be against Sonora at home on Tuesday.

“We have to do a lot on offense,” Ploog said. “We didn’t have our best offensive game last time so we’re going to look at film and try to see what we can do on offense and think about some plays to get some more points.”

Web_LHHS_BPHSBBB__0161GIRLS VARSITY

The La Habra girls’ basketball team lost to Troy, 62-17, on Friday at Troy High School.

“At practice we worked on man-to-man defense, full-court pressure up and down the court, and our half-court press,” said Rudy Constancio, La Habra assistant coach.  “We made some changes when those things didn’t work and ran some zone, but they’re a good shooting team.”

La Habra’s (13-10, 6-2) young team played hard in the Freeway League’s battle for first place, but the Warriors’ experience allowed them to take the victory.

Troy’s (20-5, 8-0) press forced La Habra to rush their passes, resulting in turnovers. La Habra tried to push the ball on offense, but Troy’s defense was hard to break. Megan Chancellor sank a three-pointer at the end of the first quarter.

Emma Zener started off the second quarter with a drive down the baseline, but was fouled on the way up to the basket and made 1-of-2 free throws.

Lizette Martinez then sank a jump shot with less than a minute remaining in the second quarter.

“I told the girls to keep working hard, keep fighting, move the ball, and cut down on the outside shots,” Constancio said about their strategy for the second half. “We were shooting a little too much on the outside. We wanted to attack the basket and not sit there and try to match baskets with them at the three-point level.”

The Highlanders came back fighting in the second half and kept the Warriors from scoring in the fourth quarter.

La Habra’s next game will be against Sonora at home on Tuesday.

“Our strategy is to be aggressive,” Constancio said. “They’re a very good team as well. They have a couple more losses than we do, but we don’t take that for granted at all. We’ll expect a tough game.”

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

Posted on 06 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

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.”

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La Habra basketball teams shut down Fullerton at home

Posted on 01 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

Adam Cooley (shown here against Buena Park) scored 18 points as the Highlanders defeated Fullerton, 59-36 at home Friday night.

Adam Cooley (shown here against Buena Park) scored 18 points as the Highlanders defeated Fullerton, 59-36 at home Friday night.

by Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal

A physical game didn’t faze the La Habra boys’ basketball team as it beat Fullerton, 59-36, at home on Friday.

“The first time we played them in league, for the opener, they played like that so we kind of expected it and were preparing for it at practice, getting hit with that contact and pressure,” said Senior Adam Cooley.

The Highlanders (14-8, 3-3) came out strong on defense to start the game and held the Indians to only seven points in the first quarter.

Fullerton (7-16, 1-5) had a hard time pushing through La Habra’s defense, which resulted in turnovers. The Highlanders led, 12-7, going into the second quarter.

“We’re pretty banged up,” said David Ploog, La Habra head coach. “A lot of the guys are hurt so we did a lot of shooting but we looked at the tape and kind of figured out some of the plays they were running so we worked a lot on the plays they were running so we were prepared for them.”

The game became more aggressive, but La Habra continued to push the ball on offense and stayed solid on defense.  The Highlanders led, 30-14, going into halftime.

“A lot of times at halftime you can relax when you have a lead,” Ploog said. “We talked about putting more pressure on defense and just making sure we have that attitude. I thought the guys really stepped up and did it.”

The Highlanders didn’t relax in the second half and stepped up the intensity both offensively and defensively.

Justin Jaimez stole the ball early in the quarter and passed it down the court to Adam Cooley who finished the play with a layup.

La Habra held the Indians to only six points and continued to lead, 41-20, going into the final quarter.

The intensity escalated in the fourth quarter as both teams fought for the win. La Habra stayed solid on defense and kept Fullerton from taking the lead.

David Desatoff led the team in scoring with 22 points and Adam Cooley followed with 18 points.

“The big thing was defensively, we really put a lot of pressure on them,” Ploog said. “So we keep working on defense because that’s how we win basketball games and we had a low number again and that helps us just win. We’re not the most polished offensive team so we really focus on our defense and we stepped up since the last game.”

La Habra’s next game will be again Sunny Hills at home on Wednesday.

“They play a different style than a lot of the teams in our league,” Ploog said. “They play really fast. So we’re just going to look at tape again, look at some of the things they do, and some of the plays they run. But we really have to focus on getting back and match their speed.”

Speed isn’t the only thing Adam Cooley will be focusing on in their next game against Sunny Hills.

“I’m planning to shut down Max Thurman,” Cooley said. “But we just need to make sure they don’t shoot because they like to shoot threes, that’s their thing, so just shut down their shooters.”

Megan Chancellor (shown against Sonora) scored 14 points against Fullerton as the Lady Highlanders improved to 5-1 in league with a 52-28 win, Friday night at home.

Megan Chancellor (shown against Sonora) scored 14 points against Fullerton as the Lady Highlanders improved to 5-1 in league with a 52-28 win, Friday night at home.

GIRLS VARSITY

Strong defense and aggressive play helped the La Habra girls’ basketball team defeat Fullerton, 52-28, on Senior Night at home on Friday.

“I have never been so excited,” said Senior Megan Chancellor about senior night. “Honestly all my family was up there and it felt amazing and my heart was just pumping the whole entire time. I was just pumped up to play in the game tonight. It was crazy.”

The Lady Highlanders (12-9, 5-1) took control of the ball to start the game and Emma Zener quickly sank a three-pointer from the corner less than 10 seconds into the quarter.

“We just worked on ball handling and passing because that has been our weakness at times,” said Jim Bohn, La Habra head coach. “We ran a lot of full court transitioning to work on finding spacing to eliminate turnovers. ”

Fullerton (8-13, 1-4) tried to push the ball on offense, but couldn’t break La Habra’s defense and was forced to take outside shots. La Habra led, 14-11, going into the second quarter.

La Habra continued to play with the same amount of aggression in the second quarter and held the Lady Indians to only six points.

Early in the quarter, Larisa Maehera stole the ball from the Indians and passed it down the court to Zener who finished the play with a layup. The Lady Highlanders held on to the lead, 32-17, going into halftime.

“I had to keep them focused,” Bohn said. “I told them that we hadn’t won the game yet. They had to come out and play some good defense. We had a few defensive lapses in there where we didn’t rotate as well as we should have. I told them [to] be aggressive. That’s kind of what we went away from in the last couple of games. We were settling for shots rather than being aggressive towards the basket. We did that today and I think that kind of went in our favor.”

The Lady Highlanders came back strong in the third quarter and attacked the basket.

Megan Chancellor drove the ball down the sideline and sank the jump shot towards the end of the third quarter. La Habra led, 46-25, going into the final quarter.

La Habra’s defense stayed strong in the fourth quarter and held Fullerton to only three points.

“I thought we passed the ball a lot better today,” Bohn said. “We didn’t make long passes. There were a few in the first but around the half court set we had crisp passing. We didn’t do a lot of dribbling which I wanted them to do, make short passes and we had some great looks. Emma played big today and Megan played big also.”

Emma Zener was the leading scorer for La Habra with 21 points and Megan Chancellor followed with 14 points.

La Habra’s next game will be at home on Wednesday against Sunny Hills.

“We’re probably going to take a day off tomorrow to rest and then get settled and ready for them,” Bohn said. “It was a close game at their facility and it’s a big game for us because we want to keep that ball rolling. Sunny Hills is a great team and coached well and we’re ready for the challenge.”

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Early leads lift La Habra basketball teams to sweep of Buena Park

Posted on 30 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Highlanders guard David Desatoff takes a shot over Buena Park's Zarvontay David during the first half of La Habra's 64-49 home win, Wednesday night.

Highlanders guard David Desatoff takes a shot over Buena Park’s Zarvontay David during the first half of La Habra’s 64-49 home win, Wednesday night. Desatoff led La Habra with 26 points. Photos by Jay Seidel, La Habra Journal

by Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal

The La Habra boys’ basketball team defeated Buena Park, 64-49, at home on Wednesday.

“We worked hard on offense,” said David Ploog, La Habra head coach. “Against Sonora we didn’t score a lot so we did a lot of shooting and did a few plays and I think that helped us out.”

The Highlanders (13-8, 2-3) came out strong on defense against Buena Park and held the Coyotes to 6 points. La Habra led 15-6 going into the second quarter.

La Habra pushed the ball on offense in the second quarter and scored 25 points against Buena Park (8-14, 0-5).

David Desatoff got a defensive rebound early in the quarter and passed the ball down the court to Adam Cooley, who finished the play with a shot under the basket.

The Highlanders led 40-27 going into halftime.

“We wanted to make sure that we stayed in front and make them shoot jump shots because they were able to get a lot of layups,” Ploog said. “We knew if we took away their layups and made them take jump shots, we had a good chance. We talked a lot about defense, forcing harder shots.”

La Habra kept the pressure on Buena Park in the third quarter both on offense and defense.

Defensively, Buena Park focused on shutting down Desatoff in the second half after he scored 26 points in the first half.

Adam Cooley puts in a reverse layup over Buena Park's Joe Galvan during the first half of La Habra's 64-49 home win, Wednesday night. Cooley scored 20 points.

Adam Cooley puts in a reverse layup over Buena Park’s Joe Galvan during the first half of La Habra’s 64-49 home win, Wednesday night. Cooley scored 20 points.

The Coyotes tried to penetrate the gaps on offense, but the Highlanders’ defense kept them from scoring. La Habra led, 50-38, going into the final quarter.

La Habra tightened up on defense in the fourth quarter, making it hard for Buena Park to make its shots.

David Desatoff led the team in scoring with five three-pointers and a total of 26 points, all of which were scored in the first half. Adam Cooley followed with 20 points.

“I was ready to shoot, I thought it was going to go in, and it went in,” Desatoff sad. “I wanted to get my other teammates open and pass the ball to our open guys.”

La Habra’s next game will be against Fullerton at home on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

“They’re a very aggressive team,” Ploog said. “We have to beat that aggressiveness and practice a lot in dealing with aggressive defenses so that we’re prepared for pressure and we’ll work on our offense again to counter that pressure, work on our screening, and work on our offensive press.”

La Habra's Amanda Cuervo works with the basketball against Buena Park's Lorena Chavez during the fourth quarter of La Habra's 62-19 home win, Wednesday night.

La Habra’s Amanda Cuervo works with the basketball against Buena Park’s Lorena Chavez during the fourth quarter of La Habra’s 62-19 home win, Wednesday night.

GIRLS VARSITY

The La Habra girls’ basketball team annihilated Buena Park High School, 62-19, at home on Wednesday.

The Highlanders (11-9, 4-1) moved the ball well in the first quarter allowing Emma Zener to sink a 3-pointer less than thirty seconds into the game.

“Coming off a win on Friday, it was a big win for us and I tried to keep them focused for this game,” said Jim Bohn, La Habra head coach. “I think we came out a little flat in the beginning of the game, but after a few words of wisdom they decided to step up and start playing.”

La Habra played strong on defense, which forced multiple turnovers by the Coyotes (4-8, 0-3).

Megan Chancellor stole the ball early in the first quarter and drove the ball down the court for a layup. La Habra led 12-7 going into the second quarter.

The Highlanders pushed the ball on offense in the second quarter and scored 32 points, advancing the score to 44-18 going into halftime.

“I wanted them to continue to work on their offense,” Bohn said. “I told them that we want to control our opportunity on offense also. We have to practice for other games that are coming up too and what it allowed us to do was to run some of that half court offense that we need. The main thing is to stay focused and keep that intensity so we could have a bigger lead, which allows everyone else to get involved in the game.”

La Habra came out strong on defense in the third quarter and shut down the Coyote’s offense, preventing them from scoring. La Habra led Buena Park, 58-18, going into the final quarter.

Both teams continued to fight in the fourth quarter, but La Habra didn’t let down its guard on defense and held the Coyotes to only one point.

The Highlanders controlled their turnovers in the game, allowing them to be more aggressive on offense.

“That’s one of the things we’ve been working on,” Bohn said. “At practice yesterday, all of it was just on press break and it paid off tonight. We still have a few areas we need to tweak. We have to get ready for Fullerton on Friday, which will be another good game. We’re at home so we’re happy with decreasing some of those turnovers.”

Freshman Emma Zener led the team in scoring with four 3-pointers and a total of 17 points, all of which were scored in the first half. Megan Chancellor followed with 14 points.

“It’s more of like a relief because I feel like I’ve been trying to prove myself as a freshman on varsity,” Zener said. “I’m just really relieved that I actually made those shots and it feels really great.”

La Habra’s next game will be against Fullerton at home on Friday at 6 p.m.

“We’re going to prepare in a few ways,” Bohn said. “We have to work to make sure again that we control turnovers. In the first game against Fullerton, the ball and the point scoring were spread very well. That’s what we have to do and get everybody involved. It’s the second half of the league and, like I told them, the first half is over and we have to prove ourselves in the second. I’m sure Fullerton will come in ready to play and we have to be ready too.”

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La Habra basketball teams fall to Troy at home

Posted on 23 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Zach Gray went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter and didn't return. It is unsure how much time the senior guard could miss.

Zach Gray went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter and didn’t return. It is unsure how much time the senior guard could miss.

by Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal

The La Habra boys’ basketball team lost a close game against Troy, 62-61, on Wednesday at La Habra High School.

The Highlanders (12-7, 1-2) came back, trailing by two, in the last few minutes of the game after being down by 10 points early in the fourth quarter.

David Desatoff hit a three-pointer with 40 seconds left in the game, putting the Highlanders ahead, 61-60.

La Habra played hard on defense to keep the lead, but Troy’s Josh Carnesi got an offensive rebound and sank a jump shot at the buzzer to give the Warriors the victory.

“I was hoping we would rebound in the second half,” said David Ploog, La Habra head coach. “We did a good job again but I really wanted to focus on putting pressure on them and really attacking the basket because that would have helped us out. I don’t think we did it enough. We did it in the first but we didn’t do it the whole game.”

La Habra dominated the first quarter on offense, but fouls gave Troy (12-8, 2-1) easy points. The game was tied 17-17 going into the second quarter.

Both teams continued to play aggressive in the second quarter. Zach Gray got tied up with a Troy defender and went down with an ankle injury with four minutes remaining in the first half.

“It’s a bad turn,” Ploog said. “He reinjured it so sometimes that may take a while because it’s already weak. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Desatoff ended the first half with a reverse layup at the buzzer. The Highlanders trailed the Warriors, 29-27.

“We wanted to get inside in the second half because that’s definitely one of our strengths,” Ploog said. “That’s what we were planning on doing the whole game. We did a better job of it in the second half, but we missed a lot of shots that we should have made and we missed a lot of free throws.”

Both teams came back fighting in the second half. Troy pushed the ball on offense, holding on to their lead at the end of the third quarter, 44-40.

Fouls dominated the fourth quarter for both teams. Adam Cooley led the Highlanders in scoring with 25 points.

La Habra plans to refocus its attention on Friday’s game against Sonora at Sonora High School.

“We’re tired so we’re just going to do a lot of shootarounds and go over Sonora’s plan and just kind of prepare that way,” Ploog said. “We’ll just talk through and make sure that we’re ready.”

Kaili Peko led the Lady Highlanders with eight points in a tough loss against Troy, Wednesday night at home.

Kaili Peko led the Lady Highlanders with eight points in a tough loss against Troy, Wednesday night at home.

GIRLS VARSITY

The La Habra girls’ basketball team suffered its first league loss against Troy, 70-26, on Wednesday at La Habra High School.

The Lady Highlanders (9-9, 2-1) played hard throughout the game, but Troy’s experience on the court proved to be challenging for La Habra’s young team to keep up with.

“We’re a young team and we work with what we have that comes to the program so we have to still teach them to come to the ball, look up for it, and make some smart passes, but that will come,” said Jim Bohn, La Habra head coach.

La Habra had a tough time connecting passes and getting rebounds in the first quarter which allowed Troy (13-5, 3-0) to take the lead, 20-9, going into the second quarter.

The Warrior’s full court press made it hard for the Highlanders to push the ball down the court.

Troy moved the ball around well and pushed the ball down the middle, but two big blocks by Ashleigh Bessler slowed down its offense. The Warriors led 44-16 going into halftime.

“In the second half we wanted to control the turnovers, one basket at a time, work as hard as we can and give our best effort,” Bohn said. “We didn’t quit, we played until the end and that’s all I can ask from them, that they do their best.”

The Highlanders continued to play hard in the second half. Hannah McArthur had a block early in the third quarter followed by a layup by Megan Chancellor.

The Warriors quickly fought back and tightened up their defense, which allowed them to carry their lead, 63-22, into the fourth quarter.

La Habra slowed down Troy’s offense in the last quarter, but Troy continued to play solid defense. Kaili Peko led the Highlanders in scoring with eight points and Megan Chancellor followed with seven points.

“We want to play hard. We went in knowing we had to eliminate turnovers and we didn’t do that today,” Bohn said. “Troy is a great team, but it is what it is.”

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

“I think we have to regroup a little bit. Tomorrow we’ll get back at it. We go over to Sonora, which is another good team and it’s a great place to play basketball,” Bohn said. “We have to go in there and learn from what we did here and try to be better at controlling the tempo and the basketball.”

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

Posted on 18 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

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.”

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