Redondo reaches boys basketball Open Division semifinals with upset win over Loyola
Sixth-seeded Redondo Union used a balance scoring attack to upset third-seeded Loyola Cubs 65-54 in a jam-packed Sea Hawk Pavilion Friday to advance to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Boys Basketball Open Division Championship.
The Cub’s Thomas Lapham hit one of his four 3-pointers to start the game to give Loyola the early lead, but it was their only lead of the game before the Sea Hawks went on a 17-3 run in a five-minute span led by sophomore Leland Green, who had nine points in the run. Green finished the game with 13 points and Redondo led 17-9 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Redondo increased its lead to 14 after Ian Fox’s triple with 3:28 remaining in the half and it looked like Redondo might run away with a victory, but Loyola made it a reasonable deficit going into the half only down 32-24.
Redondo was able to contain the Cub’s 7-foot center and McDonalds All-American Thomas Welsh throughout the game, holding the Redondo Beach resident to 10 points. Redondo head coach Reggie Morris, Jr. credits that to his own big man, 6-foot-8 Terrell Carter who finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots.
“Terrell did a great job on him,” Morris said. “He guarded him one-on-one. We didn’t send any double teams or anything like that.”
Carter, however, gives the credit to his coach for having him ready. Carter said Morris brought in a seven-footer for practice all week to have him and the team prepared for the quarterfinal showdown.
Fox and Elijah Nesbit took over the scoring for the Sea Hawks in the third quarter while Redondo’s defense prevented Loyola from getting closer than five points. Nesbit hit a 3-pointer to give Redondo a ten-point lead halfway through the quarter, but when the Cubs scored the next five points to cut the deficit in half, Fox’s beyond the arch shooting helped Redondo maintain their lead. He had three trifectas in the quarter and finished the game with 12 points and five assists. Fox and Nesbit scored 14 of the teams 17 points in the quarter giving Redondo a 49-40 lead.
Despite being the shortest player on the court at 5-foot-2, Nesbit recorded 11 points, four rebounds and two steals in the win.
The Sea Hawks increased their lead to double-digits early in the fourth quarter when Carter got a rebound after a Loyola miss and saw Green running down the floor. Carter made a full court pass accurately to Green who laid it in.
The Cubs were able to cut the lead to six with three minutes remaining and when the players returned to the court after a timeout, everyone in the gymnasium rose to their feet. Despite the noise, the Sea Hawks were able to make 10 of 14 from the line in the fourth quarter, going 14 of 20 in the game.
“I thought we played really well for the majority of the game,” Morris said. “I thought we had a couple of lapses here and there, but for the most part we continued to compete and play together. It was a great environment, great atmosphere. I thought the guys fed off it and motivated them to play for their crowd and their school.”
Morris and his players knew this was a big win over a talented team, but they shared the same sentiment of having to look towards the next game.
“As the season has gone on, we keep getting better every game and coming together as a family,” Carter said.
“It’s a big win, it feels really good to beat a good team like that,” Fox said. “We’re just taking it game by game. Everyday, we’re going over something new to prepare for the next game.”
The Sea Hawks (24-4) will be traveling to Chino Hills to play the seventh-seeded Huskies on Friday. Chino Hills (23-4) upset second-seeded Etiwanda in its quarterfinal match up.
“They’re a really good team and we have to play it on the road,” Morris said. “We have to be ready to compete.”