Posted on 11 January 2016 by La Habra Journal
By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal
Sparked by Christian Labadie’s hot shooting night, Whittier Christian outpaced La Habra from beginning to end, defeating the Highlanders 60-52 in the crosstown basketball matchup.
The Heralds held the lead from the first possession through the final whistle. Labadie got them on the board right away with a three-pointer and never seemed to cool off, ending the first half with 18 points on 6-8 shooting. “Hey, when [Labadie] goes, we go,” Heralds Head Coach Sherwin Durham said. Labadie finished the game with four rebounds, four assists and four steals to go along with his game-high 31 points. “[Labadie] had the hot hand and he is our guy,” Durham said. “We expect him to show leadership and he just had one of those nights where he was knocking down shots.” Durham felt that his performance tonight proved what he has thought for a long time, that Labadie is one of the best players around. La Habra Head Coach Dave Ploog said he knew it was going to be a tough assignment keeping Labadie in check, but felt that coming out with zone defense might help contain his outside shot. “We talked about [Labadie] in our scouting report and we knew coming in, as he goes, they’re going to go– he really leads the show.” Ploog said. Labadie’s presence at point guard was equally impressive, often getting his teammates open looks and freeing up shots with good ball movement.
“That’s why we wanted to go zone, to try and slow him down at the three-point-line, but with that ball movement, they were able to get the ball back to him and by then we had guys on him that we didn’t want on him.”
The Highlanders made a couple runs in the fourth quarter to bring the game to within striking distance. With just :35 on the clock, Jacob Burresch completed a three-point play to cut the deficit to 57-52, but the Heralds buried the late free-throws to secure the victory. La Habra kept pace behind a strong outing from Devin Howlin. During several stretches within the first half Howlin matched Labadie shot-for-shot, notching 15 points before the break. The Heralds held a tight 17-13 lead after one quarter, but opened the second quarter on an 11-1 run to create a little breathing room. Howlin hit a couple three-pointers before the half to bring it back to a single digit deficit, 32-23. The Highlanders came back from halftime with a lot of energy and cut the deficit to six, but the Heralds pulled away again behind Justin Osborn’s aggressive play. “[Osborn] is an energy guy, whether he’s on the football field or the court that’s what he’s going to give you,” Durham said. “I don’t think there are many players that match his energy and we feed off that as well.”
Osborn attacked the backboard and the basket equally, and got to the line several times. He finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
LHJ LHHS vs WCHS Basketball 2016
La Habra was dealt a blow in the third quarter, when Howlin landed hard on his hip attempting to block one of Osborn’s shots, forcing him out of the game momentarily. “At the time it hurt, but once I walked it off I felt a little better,” Howlin said. Howlin re-entered the game a few minutes later, but his shot cooled off significantly down the stretch, going just 3-9 in the second half to finish with 22 points and 9 rebounds.
Next up for La Habra (5-9), is another home game against Buena Park on Friday at 7 p.m. Whittier Christian (11-6) will be at home on Friday to take on Village Christian at 7 p.m.