Redondo Union impressive in opening round win in Southern California Regional Open Division playoffs
As time expired, Ian Fox hugged his coach with a big smile on his face after Redondo Union’s first-round win in the Open Division of the CIF Southern California Regional playoffs.
Rebounding from its loss to Chino Hills in the CIF Southern Section semifinals, third-seeded Redondo took control and never trailed defeating San Diego Section champion and sixth-seeded La Costa Canyon 71-51 at Sea Hawk Pavilion.
Fox entered the game with a purpose and it showed as the senior leader scored 17 points of his team-high 25 points in the first half, including a stretch of 10 straight for the Sea Hawks that helped the home team gain a 38-29 lead at halftime.
“It’s not acceptable to lose,” Fox said. “We’re trying to win every game we play. It’s tough to lose.”
Redondo coach Reggie Morris Jr. said he is proud of the way Fox came out and played.
“He played like a senior who didn’t want it to be his last game. He made plays, he made shots, and he’s a very good player,” Morris said. “Nothing he does surprises me at this point. I was real proud of how he played.”
Redondo used its full-court press to force the Mavericks into turnovers and create easy baskets in transition. The visitors struggled against the press throughout the game.
“The game of basketball is a game of match ups,” Morris said. “What we want to do is put as much pressure on people so people wear down and even if we can’t get turnovers, we want to wear people down… We did a good job at that and they started folding to the pressure.”
Almost halfway through the third quarter, Redondo led by 15 but La Costa Canyon rallied to make it a game. Fritz Eibel’s basket with under three minutes in the quarter cut Redondo’s lead to 46-42.
The rally was short-lived, however, as Redondo extended its lead to 50-43 going into the final quarter.
The Sea Hawks scored on their first two possessions of the final quarter to increase their lead to double digits.
Trailing only by ten with 5:17 left and a comeback well within reach, La Costa Canyon could not find any offense, but Redondo did. The Sea Hawk’s lead quickly stretched to 18 after Cameron High’s layup with 2:40 left. High finished the game with 13 points and six rebounds.
Terrell Carter who had 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, contributed Redondo’s energy to the adversity his team faced the previous week.
“(Morris) made us run a lot and play through being tired because that really affected us the last game.” Carter said. “We didn’t slack off once this week after the loss. It really changed the momentum of the game and we know what we have to do from now on.”
Cameron High added 13 points and six rebounds and Cameron Williams had 12 points and six rebounds for the Sea Hawks.
With the win, Redondo (25-5) advances to the Regional semifinals and will host No. 7 Westchester (29-6) on Tuesday at 7 p.m.. The game is a rematch from a Nov. 29 Redondo Pacific Shores Tournament contest where the Sea Hawks pulled out the win 65-64.
Westchester upset second-seeded J.W. North 79-61 on the road Friday. The Comets lost to El Camino Real 58-56 in the L.A. City Division 2 championship game.
“Westchester is a really good team, but I think we can play with anybody in the nation,” Fox said. “We have to come out and play defense, rebound, and match their intensity and try to get that win.”
Fox and the Sea Hawks may have the opportunity to prove they are among the nation’s best. A win against Westchester would move Redondo into the Regional finals where the Sea Hawks would most likely face Mater Dei (32-0), the top-ranked team in the nation.
The finals will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. The winner will take on the Northern California champion for the State title on Saturday, Mar. 29 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
For brackets, results and television/internet coverage, visit cifstate.org.