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Temescal Canyon rallies for another playoff upset

02/22/2013, 12:27pm PST
By Aaron Mendonca

The wild ride continues for the Temescal Canyon boys basketball team in the Division III-AA playoffs.

— After knocking out a seeded team in the opening round, it might have been too early to dub Temescal Canyon a Cinderella of the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA playoffs.

But after knocking out seventh-seeded Temple City in Friday’s second round, the glass slipper is looking like it fits.

The Titans survived a rough start to knock out the visiting Rams, 67-61, and advance to the quarterfinals, where they’ll play second-seeded La Verne Damien on Tuesday.

“My kids worked their tails off after the first quarter, (and) I’m really just kind of speechless right now,” coach Dan Bosna said.

After all, his team came into the game with a losing record (13-15) and a third-place finish in the Sunbelt League.

The Rams entered with a 21-5 record, a Rio Hondo League championship, and a 12-game winning streak.

The Titans began the game with six straight turnovers and quickly found themselves in a double-digit hole.

At that point, it seemed the good feelings from Temescal Canyon’s upset of tenth-seeded Garden Grove Pacifica in the first round of the playoffs were all gone.

Temple City turned those turnovers into easy points and when the Rams weren’t on the fast break, guard Eric Olivas was knocking down 3-pointers. He led his team with 22 points and five 3-pointers, including several from near-NBA range.

“We had so much trouble with their press,” Bosna said. “We are more of a halfcourt team. We want to get the ball inside and then find our shooters.”

In the second quarter, the Titans regained their form. Trailing 29-17 with 5:18 left in the half, Temescal Canyon closed the half on a 17-0 run to take a 34-29 lead.

“We just had to wake up,” junior Luke Timm, who paced the Titans with 25 points, said. “We were just so lethargic in the first quarter.”

In the third quarter, Timm put the team on his back and scored 11 straight points as the Titans held a 51-45 lead heading into the fourth.

“I can’t say enough about how Luke played tonight,” Bosna said.

The Titans extended the lead to 62-53 with 1:54 remaining, but still had to sweat out the final seconds.

A 3-pointer by Olivas cut the lead to 62-58 with 1:02 left. The Titans answered with two free throws by Marcus Kirkpatrick to push the lead to 64-58 with 56 seconds to play.

The Rams missed a 3-pointer, but Temple City’s Felix Awujo got fouled a rebound attempt.

In the aftermath of the rebound some pushing and shoving broke out, and Temescal Canyon’s Tim Fazande was hit with a technical foul with 29 seconds left. The Rams made 3 of 4 free throws to close to 64-61. Fazande, who scored 16 points, made up for the technical by draining two free throws with 16.9 seconds left.

After a missed 3-pointer by Olivas, Neil Crum made 1 of 2 free throws to end it and send his team into the quarterfinals.

“I don’t think we are going to sneak up on anyone anymore,” Bosna said. “I think they will be ready for us.”

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