Jeff Smith noon, March 8
No. 2 Torrey Pines grinds out win over Poway
POWAY – Despite an unbeaten record in Palomar League play, No. 2 Torrey Pines isn’t thriving so much as surviving. Wednesday night at Poway, the Falcons trailed by eight in the second half before riding a big fourth quarter to a 74-60 win over the Titans.
“All we talked about all game was grinding it out,” said Torrey Pines guard Nick Kerr. “Then in the fourth quarter we saw an opening and we started to turn it up.”
Poway led 28-27 at halftime and had an eight-point lead midway through the third quarter. After calling a timeout Torrey Pines (19-5, 7-0 Palomar) crept back into the game, taking a 41-39 lead just before the end of the quarter on a Kerr lob pass to guard Joe Rahon that Rahon laid in.
“We took that timeout and we didn’t really say that much, but we came out of that timeout and we started making shots and getting stops,” Kerr said.
In the fourth quarter, Torrey Pines still found itself trailing when Kerr hit three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to spark a 12-0 run. From that point the Falcons were able to keep Poway at a distance from the free throw line, winning by 14 and outscoring the Titans 33-21 in the final quarter.
“The last quarter and a half we really turned it up,” Kerr said. “In that fourth quarter, Joe (Rahon) got hot, I hit a couple and then they started fouling. I think 15 or 16 of those points were free throws.”
Kerr led Torrey Pines with a game-high 27 points and Rahon scored 25. Each of the Falcons’ seven wins in the Palomar League has come by double digits.
“We have three games and we can’t take any of them lightly. We’ll come out ready,” Kerr said.
Against a bigger Poway team that included 6’10” junior center Sam Beeler, Torrey Pines countered its lack of size by picking up the pace. The Falcons looked to run at every opportunity to keep the Titans from getting into rhythm.
“We pressed the whole game and we tried to keep them out of half court offense, so they couldn’t get those post-ups,” Kerr said. “They really did well in the first half getting set in their offense and finding Beeler on the over-the-top passes.”
Beeler led Poway (13-11, 4-3) with 20 points and guard Bryson Brockman (12 points) also finished in double figures. The Titans hung with Torrey Pines for a majority of the game after losing 73-48 to the Falcons in the first round of league play on Jan. 21.
“Poway gave us a great shot today,” Kerr said. “The second half (of league play) has definitely been tougher, but we have just been able to find ways to win so far and we have to keep doing that – especially when we get to the playoffs.”
Torrey Pines – 74 (14-13-14-33)
Kerr 27, Rahon 25, Heller 8, Vafiadis 4, Neugarten 2 (starters) Galvin 6, Mainquist 2
Poway – 60 (17-11-11-21)
Beeler 20, Brockman 12, Rowson 9, Guendling 2, Miller 2 (starters) Moreno 11, Gorial 2, Maher 2
Torrey Pines guard Max Heller goes up for a layup between three Poway defenders