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Canyon hoops moves on past La Habra

Posted: February 25, 2014 11:03 p.m.
Updated: February 25, 2014 11:03 p.m.

Canyon's Ben Taufahema, right, rises for a layup while La Habra High defender Adam Cooley tried to block the shot on Tuesday at Canyon High School.

 

After three quarters of turnovers and free-throws, Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA second-round playoff game between visiting La Habra High and the Canyon Cowboys came down to a two-on-two contest.

Canyon’s Ben Taufahema and Marc Cabrera combined for 17 of the Cowboys’ 27 fourth-quarter points, beating La Habra’s Zachary Gray and Adam Cooley, who combined for 12 of the Highlanders’ final 21.

In the end it was the Cowboys winning 67-50 at Canyon High School and moving on to the third round of the playoffs.

Canyon (23-6) opened up the game on a 14-4 run, using full-court pressure to disrupt the La Habra offense.

By halftime the Cowboys had already forced 12 turnovers.

But the pace of the game slowed considerably in the second quarter when both teams worked their way into foul trouble.

The Cowboys entered the half up 30-24, earning six of their 12 second-quarter points from the foul line while La Habra (16-12) got six of its 10 from the line.

“We try to make turnovers happen and push the tempo a little bit,” said Canyon coach Sean DeLong. “That’s the nice thing about our team. We can play fast-paced or slow it down.”

After a slow third quarter, the game turned into a doubles match thanks to foul trouble on both sides.

Cowboys’ senior center Dean Hendrix-Davis picked up his fourth foul early in the fourth quarter, leaving much of the scoring burden placed on Taufahema and Cabrera.

They didn’t disappoint, with Taufahema scoring nine and Cabrera scoring eight in the final frame.

Despite the foul trouble, Hendrix-Davis finished with 10 points.

“I felt like I had to come out and play because I was in foul trouble most of the game,” said Cabrera, who finished with 16 points. “I came out and trusted my teammates. All the credit goes to them.”

For Highland, offense was tough to come by outside of Gray and Cooley.

Gray finished with 16 and Cooley with 15.

But the next highest scorer was Davis Desatoff with seven.

“(Cooley and Gray) are both great scorers,” said Highlanders coach Dave Ploog. “We needed Cooley to be great down low, but it was hard to get him the ball because they were so good at extending their zone.”

The Cowboys move on to play Elsinore on Friday.

Elsinore defeated Claremont 68-66.

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