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March 10, 2013
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. - Sometimes, you have to win ugly. That is exactly what Los Angeles (Calif.) Pacific Hills high school did on Saturday night.
The Bruins defeated La Verne (Calif.) Lutheran, 63-56, in a Division IV CIF State Playoff second round game at Chaffey College behind 16 points from Rice-bound senior Marcus Jackson.
With the win, Pacific Hills advances to the Div. IV quarterfinals where it will play top-seeded Gardena (Calif.) Serra on Tuesday, Mar. 12 at 7 p.m.
It was clear from the opening tip that neither team was at its best, as the sloppy first half ended with Pacific Hills and Lutheran knotted up at 26, after Jackson banked in a 3-pointer from the left win as time expired.
Pacific Hills came out in the second half with as a seemingly different team with a renewed sense of energy and urgency. The Bruins used an 8-0 run to close out a strong third quarter performance, one in which they outscored Lutheran 15-7 to take an eight point lead into the fourth quarter.
Pacific Hills head coach Ivan Barahona said that he talked to his team about togetherness at halftime.
"We talked about playing more as a team (at halftime)," he said. "We felt that we needed to buckle down more on defense. We gave them some free lanes and make them see more than one defender."
Pacific Hills' four-star, class of 2014 prospect Namon Wright wasn't his typical self offensively against Lutheran, finishing with just eight points, but he took his coaches speech about defense to heart.
Wright locked down on whomever the ball handler happened to be for Lutheran, and hustled to make any open look at the basket a contested one.
Wright said after the game that he knew his offense wasn't clicking and that he found other areas of the game in which to have an impact.
Lutheran junior forward Joseph Rushing finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, while senior guard Jay Miller had 14 and sophomore Tey Williams added 11 for the Trojans