High school sports

Outside shooting lifts Matadors to win

LOARA AND BOLSA players battle under the basketball in the Matadors’ 65-61 win Friday night. Above, Matador Ruben Nunez (22) goes up against Tyler Nanthavong (4) of Loara (Tribune photos).

By Jim Tortolano

It was a case of the trees versus the treys.

The undersized Bolsa Grande boy’s basketball team – sparked by a powerful three-point game – upset and defeated a taller Loara squad 65-61 in a Garden Grove League matchup Friday that scrambled the standings.

Bolsa is now 3-3 in the GGL (11-11 overall), while Loara fell to 4-2 and 14-10.

“I feel like my heart is racing a million miles an hour,” said Matador coach Todd Halbreich. “It was a great win for us. We lost to them at their place, and this will get us back in the possibilities of the playoffs and to do well in league. It was a great win for the program.”

BOLSA COACH Todd Halbreich makes a point in game vs. Loara.

The coach’s heart did undergo a workout. The Mats survived a frantic fourth quarter. After building a lead as big as 13 points at one juncture, they had to fight off a late surge by the Saxons – and their own wobbly free throw shooting – to nail down the victory.

In upsetting the visitors, Bolsa relied heavily on outside shooting, and no one rung up more of that than Aaron Phan. The 5-foot, 6-inch point guard led all scorers with 20 points.

“Aaron Phan was the difference,” said Halbreich. “He hit four or five clutch threes at clutch times. He did a fantastic job for us.”  So much so that when the senior star suffered leg cramps late in the game and had to come out, his coach jested “I was going to bring a wheelchair out for him.”

Loara led 15-7 at one point in the first quarter, but the Mats caught them at 16-all and extended their lead to 32-22 with 1:50 to go in the second quarter on a trey by Phan.

TOP BOLSA scorer Aaron Phan (0) worked hard on defense, too.

Although the Matadors had only one player listed as six feet tall –  compared to Loara’s five – they battled on the boards and it wasn’t until late in the game that the Saxons’ height advantage started to tell.  Cade Flowers, a 6-foot-2-inch forward, led Loara with 18 points.

With less than a minute to play, Loara closed to within three points at 62-59, but the Mats hit three of four free throws to hold the Saxons at bay.

Other top scorers for Bolsa were Andrew Pham (13 points) and Brandon Lai (12).

The Matadors will host Santiago on Tuesday, and then visit Rancho Alamitos next Friday.

Here are prep basketball scores for local games Friday night. Results will be posted as they arrive.


  • Bolsa Grande 65, Loara 61
  • Marina 64, Laguna Beach 54
  • Los Alamitos 61, Edison 57
  • Pacifica 67, Crean Lutheran 52
  • Garden Grove 72, Westminster 69 (overtime)
  • Santiago 61, Rancho Alamitos 48
  • La Quinta 57, Los Amigos 47


  • Bolsa Grande 55, Loara 42
  • Crean Lutheran 77, Pacifica 47
  • Garden Grove 54, Westminster 38.





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