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Prep Boys Basketball Playoffs: Cold shooting sinks Sun Devils

APPLE VALLEY • The Apple Valley boys basketball team got off to a slow start to begin the season, but rallied to finish in second place in the Mojave River League.

The Sun Devils used the same slow-start, fast-finish concept in their CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA first round playoff game against No. 12 Claremont on Wednesday night, but with much less success.

Apple Valley fell into an 18-point halftime deficit due to horrendous first-half shooting, and a late comeback effort fell short in a 60-50 loss to Wolfpack.

The Sun Devils (15-10) were 5 of 26 from the field in the first half and weren’t too sharp on defense or on the boards either. The second quarter was particularly painful, as Apple Valley hit only one field goal and was 3 of 10 from the free throw line in a five-point effort.

As a result, Claremont (20-9) held a 35-17 lead at the break.

“We haven’t played that poorly offensively all season long,” AVHS coach Joel Lewis said. “The shots just wouldn’t go down for us. I felt like we took some good shots, we just picked the wrong night to go cold.

“For a lot of our guys it was their first time in the playoffs and they weren’t loose like they normally are.”

The Sun Devils fixed up their issues on offense and defense at halftime, and rallied to pull within eight points with 3:30 remaining at 51-43. But AVHS missed 3-pointers on each of their next two possessions, and the Wolfpack never let AVHS get any closer.

“It was a tale of two games,” Claremont coach Stan Tolliver said. “Apple Valley was just kind of getting their sea legs and then once they got them they showed they’re a good basketball team and made it a tight game.”

Even with the second half rally, Apple Valley’s shooting left much to be desired. They shot only 25 percent from the field (15 of 60) and from 3-point range (4 of 16) and were 10 of 20 from the free throw line. Claremont also outrebounded the Sun Devils by a 2-1 margin.

Apple Valley leading scorer J.T. Roach was held to six points through three quarters. He found his stroke in the fourth and finished with 15 points, but it was too late. Sheldon Lovett also had 15 points and was the only other Sun Devil to finish in double figures.

“It’s a tough loss, we just couldn’t get it going,” Roach said. “I thought we played kind of timid out there, liked we were scared to play in the bright lights.”

Omar Mahmoud scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Wolfpack, and Max Allen added 13 points while dominating the inside on both ends of the floor.

CLAREMONT (60)
Mahmoud 16, Allen 13, Edward 10, Hackett 9, Brown 7, Guerra 4, Franklin 1.
APPLE VALLEY (50)
Roach 15, Lovett 15, Crouch 7, LaMar 4, Yost 4, Clarke 3, Brown 2.

Claremont    20    15    10    15    —    60
Apple Valley    12    5    11    22    —    50

3-point field goals — Claremont 2 (Mahmoud, Hackett); Apple Valley 5 (Roach 3, Lovett, Clarke). Technical Foul — Brown (A).


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