High school sports

Defense wins the game for Mats

TOMMY PHAM (3) led Bolsa Grande in scoring with 11 points against Loara on Friday (Orange County Tribune photos by Jim Tortolano).

By Jim Tortolano

A game marked by cold shooting – sparked in part by red-hot defense resulted in (pardon the pun) a barnburner of a Garden Grove League boys’ basketball game Friday between Bolsa Grande and Loara at the Saxon gym.

In the end, the Matadors prevailed 38-32 and remained unbeaten in GGL play, moving toward a likely showdown with Santiago High for the league crown.

“I think we played the way we wanted to, defensively,” said Bolsa coach Todd Halbreich. “Offensively, we just missed a lot of easy ones.”

THERE WERE fierce rebounding battles under the basket between Bolsa and Loara.

Both teams were chilly early. The Matadors worked out a lead of 14-7 late in the second quarter, but the Saxons battled back to grab a 17-16 edge at the 3:41 mark of the third. It was the only lead the home team would have since the tipoff.

With three minutes to go in the game and a 33-30 lead, Bolsa went into a not-quite-stall, slowing the pace to eat up time. It almost backfired. With 1:32 to play, junior forward Andrew Romero scored inside for Loara to cut the lead to 33-32.

But, as they had all afternoon, the Matadors answered. Tommy Pham hit a trey 16 seconds later to open up the margin to 36-32, and Tri Ly followed that at the 17.5 second mark inside to extend the lead out to 38-32.

Pham led the Mats with 11 points, including two three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Jared Phan added 10. Elias Farhat and Romero each had eight for the Saxons.

Next for the Mats (4-0 and 11-6 overall) is Santiago’s Cavaliers (3-0 and 13-8 as of this posting) at the Matador gymnasium on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

“That’ll be a big one for us,” said Halbreich. “It we can get that one, that’ll make us feel a lot better.” And how will that happen?

“Play hard. Come out and play hard defensively. If we can keep teams to 32 points, we’re gonna do some good things.”

FRIDAY PREP BASKETBALL (results posted as they become available)


Garden Grove League

  • Bolsa Grande 38, Loara 32
  • La Quinta 68, Los Amigos 36

Golden West League

  • Garden Grove 64, Westminster 56 (OT)

Wave League

  • Marina 73, Huntington Beach 48


Empire League

  • Crean Lutheran 69, Pacifica 15

Garden Grove League

  • Loara 40, Bolsa Grande 24

Golden West League

  • Ocean View 28, Katella 20
  • Western 41, Garden Grove 39



Orange League

  • Century 59, Western 28
  • Savanna 47, Magnolia 40

Wave League

  • Newport Harbor 60, Marina 18
  • Edison 57, Laguna Beach 26


  • Orangewood 71, Santa Margarita 56
  • Fullerton 37, Orange 28


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