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Best In The West Day One: Game No. 16
Dominguez Surprises No One, Beats San Pedro-- (Dec. 27, 1998)

Dominguez 86, San Pedro 44

When the game started, we took a look at the way San Pedro was playing: Fast, loose, quick, beating Dominguez to the ball, scoring early, shooting well, and playing good defense, and we thought to ourselves, "This can't possibly be the same team which lost to Manual Arts by about 40."  With 3:25 to play in the first quarter the score was only 8-7 Dominguez, and for a substantial time prior to that Dominguez trailed.  Marcus Moore handled the point, and tonight there was no Keilon to come off the bench as he still hadn't been cleared medically to play after his unfortunate accident in the Mater Dei game which saw him admitted to the hospital on wednesday for medical

Andy Gallego, Ian Dixon and most of all Todd Sanchez managed to keep San Pedro alive in the first quarter, limiting the damage to 16-11, but like some other underdog teams (or their coaches) we'll never figure out why the underdogs at the high school level try to play the same game as the better team and play to their pace.   Clearly, San Pedro was no match  physically or depth-wise to Dominguez.   Yet they ran, and ran, and ran, and come to think of it, it's the same thing they did with a better and deeper Manual Arts team.  Now maybe coach Eldridge Ezpeleta will figure it out:  Running with the faster guys, who can shoot better, are taller and more experienced, is likely to get you a 40-point loss.  Every time out.

And that was the result yesterday.  Plus another two (42 points) just for good measure.

Conventional wisdom in coaching says that if you are the underdog, the weaker team, you need to control the possessions, need to do just the opposite of what one would think is the right thing:  Don't speed it up, slow it down.  Basketball is a game of possessions:  In every game, each team gets the same number of possessions, and the job of the underdog coach is to limit the number of times the better team has the ball. Think about it: Team A shoots and makes it, team B gets the ball, and so on and so on, alternating possessions.  Steals sure help and so does rebounding, and these are all things a team can do to increase the number of times it has the ball.  The great leveler is the 35 second shot-clock, but still, there's a lot you can do to limit possessions even with the clock.  The reason for limiting possessions of the better team is that they are more likely to score on their possessions than is the underdog, thus if you are the underdog, you want to keep the ball as much as possible.  So the last thing you want to do if you are the weaker team is hurry up and run down and jack up a shot.  Never, never, never.  Basic basketball, plain and simple.

Now a team like Dominguez rarely has to worry about such things, except perhaps when they're playing a team like Oak Hill, or Mater Dei in Las Vegas, two teams which are either physically superior, or equally well-coached.  But a team like San Pedro, which is good, but not great, had better count on getting good coaching.  And that means recognizing the difference between when to run and when to slow it down.   When you play Dominguez, if you are San Pedro you slow it down.   Unless you are Eldridge Ezpeleta. And then you run.  And you lose.  By 40.

We don't mean to sound so harsh, and really coach Ezpeleta is a great guy, and the result probably would have been a 20 point loss had they slowed it down, but 20 points more, especially in high school ball, is just huge. Predictably, in the second quarter of this game,  Dominguez pulled away behind Brooks, Johnson and Keith Kincade.  Oscar Abrons (6-1" Sr. SG) kept threatening with long range bombs, but they weren't enough.  With 5:32 to play in the second quarter,  most of the early damage was inflicted, and the rest became a mop-up operation, as the score was 30-16  with 5 minutes to go before the half.

The second half was not so much a disaster as much as it was just plain painful to watch, and Dominguez outscored San Pedro by more than double in the third and fourth quarters to insure the win.  Surprisingly, Tyson Chandler (7'-0" So. C) has continued in a sort of scoring slump, hitting for only 2 points last night, but he's also becoming more of a shot blocker, at least he was in this game, and he had at least 10 blocked shots. 

San Pedro scoring was mostly accomplished by Abrons with 10, and Malik Raah (6'-3" So. SG) who had 11.  Others scoring were Bruce Simpson (6'-0" Sr. G) with 2, Travis Hill (5'-9" Sr. PG/SG) with 4, Trent Williams (6'-0" Sr. G/F) with 4,  Todd Sanchez (6'-0" Sr. G) with 7, all in the first quarter, Ian Dixon (6'-7" Sr. F/C) with 6, and Rosario Ferrara (6'-1" Sr. G) with 2.

Dominguez scoring was:  Marcus Moore 5, Ronald Jackson 15, Keith Kincade 19, Keith Brooks 12, Tyson Chandler 2, Steven Moore 4, Jafus Haley 2,   Darius Sanders 6, Bobby Jones 6, Cedric Thompkins 10, and  Joey Aubrey 3.

Here's the scoring by quarters:

San Pedro 11 8 10 13
Dominguez 16 24 23 23

San Pedro drops to the consolation bracket, and they will play Laguna Creek tomorrow night at 8:50 p.m. at Lakewood High in Game 24.  Dominguez will meet yet another City Section team in Game No. 32 at 2:40 p.m. of the winner's bracket second round in the East Gym at Cal State Long Beach, and if they advance, they will face the winner of the LB Jordan v. Bellarmine Prep game in the 9:05 p.m. quarterfinal game, also in the East Gym at CSLUB (Game 52).

The Swish Award
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