Eva Knott 10:44 a.m., May 18
Maranatha Christian earns revenge against Pacific Hills
Eagles advance to semis of Senators Division
Maranatha Christian exacted a bit of revenge Monday night in the quarterfinals of the MaxPreps Holiday Classic Senators Division. The Eagles knocked off Pacific Hills (West Hollywood) 60-44 at Cathedral Catholic, avenging a first round state playoffs loss from last season.
“It helps with our confidence and it shows us that we’re ready to play on that level,” said Maranatha Christian point guard David Porter. “We still need to work on a lot of things, but this is a good feeling.”
In the first half, neither team led by more than four, and Maranatha Christian led by only two at halftime. The Eagles took control in the second half with a stifling defensive effort, frustrating last year's Division V state runner-up with their 2-3 zone and holding the Bruins to seven third-quarter points.
“We picked it up on defense and played the lanes a little bit,” said Eagles head coach Rle Nichols. “We took their shooter out of the game. We just had to move out our defense a little bit.”
Late in the third quarter, Maranatha Christian pulled away with an 11-0 run capped by a Chen Cai jumper to take a 39-26 lead. The Eagles never led by less than nine the rest of the way en route to a 16-point win.
“Our coach gave us a pep talk,” Porter said. “He told us what to do and how to do it better and that was the difference in the second half.”
Cai recorded a double-double in the win, finishing with a game-high 22 points and 16 rebounds. Porter and guard Nick Westbrook each scored 13 points for the Eagles. Pacific Hills (5-6) was led by forward Jason Kidd, who scored 10 points.
Following a slow start, Maranatha Christian (6-5) has won five of their last six. The Eagles take on Desert Vista (Phoenix) (8-4) in the Senators Division semifinals Tuesday night at Cathedral Catholic at approximately 8:35 p.m.
As for where they stand in the section, Porter said not to let the Eagles’ record be deceiving. Torrey Pines and Bishop’s are among Maranatha Christian’s wins this season.
“We’re a small school, but we’re considered to be up there with Division I,” Porter said.
Maranatha Christian guard David Porter drives against Pacfic Hills forward Brandon Porter