Slow Second Half Ends Hawks’ Ride

Bridgemont outscores Anzar by 18 points after halftime to turn
close game into rout
Sunnyvale – After staying even for the first two quarters, No. 4 seed Anzar ran out of steam Saturday and lost to No. 6 Bridgemont 55-37 in the Central Coast Section Division V quarterfinals at The King’s Academy.

“I didn’t think we played with enough energy,” Hawks’ coach Ed Cecena said. “We had a shot. At halftime it was anybody’s game.”

Both teams struggled from the floor at the start, although Anzar’s Stephen Mockabee had the touch early on. His second 3-pointer of the first quarter came with the clock winding down and even the score at 10-10.

The Vikings held a 20-16 lead late in the second quarter, but another trey by Mockabee closed the gap. After Bridgemont answered with another hoop, Hawks’ center Erik Olson connected from long range and it was tied 22-22 at halftime.

But in the second half, Bridgemont’s speed and strength took over. Karrell Miller, who pounded the Hawks inside all day, scored eight of his game-high 20 points in the period and a 16-9 advantage gave the Vikings control of the game.

“I was surprised at (Miller’s) strength,” Cecena said of the 6-foot-4, 200-pound junior forward, who also finished with 10 rebounds. “He was obviously a lot stronger than anybody we had.”

The Vikings also heated up from the outside, getting several long jumpers from Kurt Ong and Daniel Zitani.

“They didn’t shoot that well in the first half,” Cecena said. “It was tough when they started knocking down outside shots.”

Bridgemont started the fourth quarter with six straight points to make it 44-31 and Anzar didn’t score its first points of the final period until there were less than 3 1/2 minutes to go.

Senior forward Scott Benson paced the Hawks with team-highs of 19 points and 12 rebounds in his final game in an Anzar uniform. Mockabee finished with nine and Olson had seven points and six rebounds.

The Vikings move on to the semifinals to face No. 2 Sacred Heart Prep at 5:30pm Wednesday. No. 5 Redwood Christian will face top-seeded Woodside Priory in the other semifinal at 7pm.

Woodside survived a scare in the quarterfinals against No. 8 Pinewood, getting a tip-in off a missed free-throw as time expired from 7-1 junior center Greg Somogyi to send the game to overtime, where it prevailed 37-34.

While Saturday’s loss ends Anzar season, it goes down as the most successful year in the Hawks’ brief history. The third-place finish in the Mission Trail Athletic League was Anzar’s best placing, the 17 wins set a school record and the No. 3 seed was its highest ever. Those marks all topped the previous year, when the Hawks finished fourth in league, won 14 games and earned the fourth seed while also advancing to the CCS quarterfinals.

“I’m happy with the way it turned out,” Cecena said. “Those are all excellent achievements. I felt we underachieved a little in the playoffs, but that’s how competition goes.”

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