|Player||Points||PPG||FG||FG %||FT||FT %|
|Player||3 Pointers||3 PT %||Reb||Asst||Stls||TO||BS|
|Team||First Qtr||Second Qtr||Third Qtr||Fourth Qtr||Total|
The quarterfinal curse continues to plaque Hesperia Christian Patriots as they lost in the 2006 quarterfinals of Div VAA playoffs to Upland Christian 69-66 in Hesperia. HCS has not made it past the quarterfinals since 1992.
It was not HCS' offense that hurt them tonight. Jordan Vargas, Mike Petersen, Mike Maerzluft and Zach Howard all got above their averages. Only Billy Hague, Jordan Martinson and Jonny Barton were below their point average and only by a small amount. It was their defense, free throws and turnovers that basically cost them a chance at the semifinals. Defensively the Patriots just had to hold the Eagles to their average scoring and they win the game. But they failed to do that. JT Stephens was held 8 points under his average. Matt Prouix, Brian Howe, Alex Roberds and Austin Tenney were held to their point averages. But HCS allowed Travis Keith to get four points over his average (margin of difference +1). They also allowed Andy Touche to get ten points over his average and this despite being told by the HCS coaches that Touche only goes right. And HCS even allowed John Cook to get three points over his average, again the margin of difference.
I have been harping all year on the importance of free throws. In seven years of watching playoffs, I know that the team shooting better free throws normally wins the game (in fairness Upland Christian shot only 62%, even if that is about 11% above their average). HCS was 65% from the charity line. Zach Howard went 2/3, Jordan Vargas went 1/2 and Mike Maerzluft went 2/3 for a total of three misses (margin of difference). And senior Mike Petersen went 3/7 which is four missed points, the margin of difference +1. To win in playoffs you really need to be shooting 80%, something HCS has rarely done this season. Tonight was no different.
Turnovers has been the death of HCS most of the season in their losses and tonight was no exception. Turnover to assist ratio was again 19-14. Most troubling was the fact that the seniors, Billy Hague and Zach Howard each had 5 turnovers. Assume that of those ten turnovers, only a third were made into points by Upland Christian again we have the margin of difference plus at six points.
Sadly Upland Christian did nothing different offensively from its game against Tarbut v Torah. Although normally a terrible free throw shooting team they again shot way above their normal 50% FT shooting percentage. Against TvT, they went 17/21. Only Keith was off that night. He should have been the one to whack this night in the end (although 4/6)but we did not. And tonight Stephens was the one really off on free throws going 2 for 7. Again tonight HCS exhibited two bad traits that have existed for over seven years. Those two traits are a failure to slit the throat of an opponent and put them away when one has the chance ie tonight when HCS had Upland Christian on the ropes in the first quarter. The second bad trait is the failure to work an opponent who is in trouble. JT Stephens along with Brian Howe and Alex Roberds were in foul trouble in the second half and yet only Stephens fouled out and that was with just seconds left when it did not matter and not because HCS tried to get him fouled out. The points that Stephens made in the fourth quarter were again the margin of difference. But then no HCS team in the modern era has intentionally fouled anyone out nor have they ever truly put an opponent on the ropes away.
As HCS knew from the HCS tourney and the TvT playoff game, Upland Christian has no half court game. They pass it around until they can either get off a three point shot or penetrate thru the middle for a layup. Just as the leopard does not change its spots, neither did the Eagles. But HCS just could not deny Upland Christian its drives. And this was despite parcaticing againsat this very offense since Friday night. It makes one wonder why HCS did not change to a 2-3 zone to try and prevent some of these penetrations since HCS was clearly not as fast as Upland Christian this evening. Upland Christian has been playing the same zone press all season. Yet it seemed to baffle HCS. Again HCS practiced against this very press and beat it easily in practice. And even tho it was beaten by HCS most of the time, it usually took HCS most of ten seconds to get it across. And it mentally wore the guards out.
Upland Christian knew how dangerous Mike Petersen was and were double teaming him most of the night. On several occasions they triple teamed him. Somebody had to be open. Certainly when Mike Maerzluft was open we got it to him and he had a great offensive night with 20 points. But overall HCS with a pretty good height advantage was only able to come up with 30 rebounds versus Upland Christian's 34 rebounds. 40 rebounds and HCS wins. But they only had 30! But although they did not necessarily play smart in the end they played with as much heart as any HCS team has ever exhibited. Another 50 seconds of game and HCS would have won.
So much for identifying issues which is easy for Monday morning quarterbacks to do. Overall, it was a great season. HCS got 20 wins, more than they have ever gotten in the modern era. They were ranked number one in the end of the season and were the number one seed in this playoff. Unlike past years, HCS had no real stars but rather five solid scorers who did it every night, including these evening. They became the first HCS team in the modern era to really play defense. They took the Agape League with an undefeated season, never before done. Coach Scott Dobyns was named the Agape Coach of the Year for a second straight year. For the seniors they leave HCS with three Agape trophies and a phenomenal league record of 27-3.
It has been a pleasure to be the Webmaster for HCS these last six years although few players and parents actually come to the site. Mostly the many visitors are people from LA and Orange County. But I have done it because I have so enjoyed being a part of HCS basketball. Thanks to all that have let me be a part of this experience.
HCS and Upland Christian have many common opponents: Apple Valley Christian, Joshua Springs, Victor Valley Christian, Riverside Christian, Silver Valley and Arrowhead Christian. Upland Christian beat Apple Valley Christian 57-48 while HCS won 61-48 and 56-25. Arrowhead Christian beat Upland Christian 72-55 and beat Hesperia Christian 63-49.
Again defense will be the key to an HCS victory. HCS must keep Upland Christian's scorers under their averages. As always in playoffs games, free throw shooting decides the matches and this game is no exception. HCS by three in a tight evenly matched game.
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