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Game gets away from Francis Parker

03/12/2014, 11:09pm PDT
By Craig Malveaux

Technical foul against Lancers helps lead to lopsided win for Santa Ana Foothill

Francis Parker players walk off the court after losing to Santa Ana Foothill in the first round of the Southern California Regional Division II playoffs.

Three periods in, Francis Parker lingered.

The host Lancers allowed Santa Ana Foothill to snatch the lead and increase its cushion to as many as eight points in the second half Wednesday but clung to a four-point deficit entering the fourth quarter.

Before the final period commenced, however, that two-possession basketball game became a three-possession game.

Officials issued a technical foul to Lancers coach Jim Tomey, who vehemently voiced his frustrations.

Put at the line, Knights guard Reed Nakakihara drained a pair of free throws.

Soon, that three-possession game became a four-possession. Then five. Then six. And so forth, as Foothill increased its lead to 20 points midway through the fourth.

The No. 10 Knights trounced No. 7 Francis Parker, upsetting the Lancers 54-38 in the first round of the Southern California Regional Division II boys basketball playoffs.

“Obviously, we had some scheme issues with a 5-foot-8 guy on a backside rotation on a 6-foot-10 guy,” Foothill coach Rusty Van Cleave said of the Knights’ effort to guard the Lancers’ Evan Fitzner. “But nevertheless, our defensive effort carried us tonight along with our depth.”

Junior forward Eric Patton produced a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 14 rebounds for the Knights (24-7), who sealed the matchup on a 19-9 run.

Foothill will play Compton on Saturday.

“In the first half, they didn’t want to allow us to use our ball screen, so we used our perimeter, baseline shooting to take the pressure off,” Van Cleave said. “Then we started slipping on ball screens to get a couple layups. Overall, we countered well.”

Francis Parker (26-6) had no answer to Foothill’s adjustments, watching the lead balloon in the fourth.

Fitzner attempted to rally the Lancers, but the senior forward’s nine fourth-quarter points weren’t enough. The Saint Mary’s commit finished with 21.

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