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Prep boys basketball: SCCS misses its chance

Cardinals boys come close to knocking off Milken

Posted: January 20, 2011 10:32 p.m.
Updated: January 21, 2011 4:55 a.m.

Santa Clarita Christian’s Tikko Moore (21) rises for a shot as Milken defenders surround him Thursday at SCCS.

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It was there for the taking.

But when Santa Clarita Christian boys basketball failed to take advantage of the opportunity to extend a first-half lead, it proved costly.

The Cardinals gave up what was once a nine-point lead and lost 64-57 to Milken Community Thursday night at SCCS.

Milken slowly crept back into the game with stout defensive play and taking advantage of second-chance points in the second half.

"I though we did some good, positive things," said SCCS head coach James Mosley. "The offense played well in the first half, a little stagnant in the second half, but I thought we did well."

The Cardinals (12-4, 2-2) came into the game ranked No. 4 in the CIF-Southern Section Division VIAA poll, but Milken plays a level above in Division VAA.

"Milken is one of those teams where you play them and you get a good idea of where you stand in the league," Mosley said.

But the Wildcats (8-10, 3-0) trailed 17-8 late in the first quarter, as they struggled to keep pace with the Cardinals' transition offense.

As the second quarter wore on, the pace of the game slowed down, leading to an ever-shrinking SCCS lead.

Milken had closed the gap to 28-25 by halftime.

"We scratched and clawed," said Milken head coach Mike Whiting. "They opened up a (nine-point) lead in the first quarter, and we did a nice job of coming back in the second. We spread our defense out a little bit."

As time went on, the Cardinals seemed to struggle more and more getting the ball in the basket, thanks to the Wildcats' zone defense that kept open shots to a minimum.

"We had opportunities to pull away in the first half, and at times in the third and fourth quarters, we just lost our poise," said SCCS junior Tikko Moore, who finished with a team-high 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Two minutes into the third quarter, Brandon Asherian made two straight 3-pointers to give Milken its first lead since the opening minutes at 33-32.

After the two teams traded baskets a few times, the Wildcats began to pull away.

As Milken began to dominate the glass, it turned a close game into a 58-48 advantage with 3:15 left.

The Cardinals made one last run at it and quickly cut the lead to 59-57 aided by threes from Luke Asher and Bret Ranhofer at the 1:35 mark.

In the end, SCCS didn't make enough shots down the stretch and the Wildcats put away the game with free throws.

Asher also chipped in 15 points for SCCS and Ranhofer finished with 13.

J.J. Friedman led Milken with 20 points.

SCCS didn't pull it out this time, but it may be quickly developing a reputation as one of the more difficult road trips for opponents.

"Santa Clarita does a great job," Whiting said of the crowd. "This place is like the Heritage League's equivalent to the pit."



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