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Boys basketball: Fixing a hole

January 21, 2000

Joseph Boo

IRVINE - It was a fine mess Estancia High's boys basketball team

got itself into. The trouble was in the form of an early 22-5 deficit

against host University in Friday night's game, courtesy of a 19-0 Trojan

run.

But the Eagles almost came back, slicing the lead down to six in the

fourth quarter, with Uni holding on to win, 79-70, in the Pacific Coast

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League game.

"We broke down right from the beginning," Estancia Coach Rich Boyce said,

"and that deficit was just too tough for us to come back from against

that team."

Despite a 12-9 overall record, Estancia remains the only winless team in

the PCL at 0-4. Adding to the Eagles' dilemma, they face Santa Margarita,

ranked No. 8 in Orange County, tonight, albeit a nonleague game.

"This is just a tough week for us," Boyce simply said.

With half of the game's attendance still not in their seats yet, the

Trojans (14-7, 3-1) treated their timely fans with five three-pointers

and a 17-point lead with 5:38 into the first quarter.

But Estancia's Jason Simco, who led the Eagles with 18 points, and

Darshaun Garner, who grabbed 17 rebounds, combined to closed out the

quarter on an 8-0 run to get the deficit down to a workable nine.

From that point, the game settled into bunches of ebbs and flows. If

Estancia made a shot, Uni would match later on. One offensive spurt by

Uni would be matched by the Eagles.

Estancia did outscore the Trojans, 18-16, in the second quarter. When Jon

Cantrell opened the second half with a three-pointer, Estancia closed the

gap to 38-34, but that was as close as the Eagles got. After exchanging

baskets, Uni went on a 5-0 spurt to get the lead back to nine.

Estancia closed the lead down again to six with 4:14 left on two free

throws from Simco. But a 10-2 run gave the Trojans a 73-59 point lead,

their largest since the first quarter, and Estancia did not have enough

time to stage a comeback.

"Our kids played hard," Boyce said, "We were right there. But we did not

come out focused."

Uni, a team full of shooters with itchy trigger fingers and long-range

potential, hit 10 of 22 three-pointers.

"If they hit shots," Boyce said, "we wanted a hand in their face. But

they got too many open looks."

"We were supposed to play zone, but we played half zone, half man, and

that led to open shots.

And Estancia, which shot well at 46%, could not keep up, much less come

back from the early 17-point hole.

Simco turned in his second solid game, hitting a pair of threes, and the

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