By Shel Segal
Playing solid first and fourth quarters paced the Mark Keppel High boys’ basketball team to a 65-42 road win over Monrovia High on Friday night in a nonleague game.
Keppel outscored Monrovia, 18-8, last week in the opening frame and 20-8 in the final stanza en route to the victory.
Keppel coach Hung Duong said while his team played well, he was really impressed with how the Wildcats came out fighting.
“The kids played hard,” Duong said. “It was a physical game. Monrovia’s a tough team. We need to make sure we show up and play. They gave us their best shot today. I thought their kids played really well and gave us a hard time.”
Duong added the Aztecs worked well to control the ebb and flow of the game.
“We know it’s a game of spurts,” he said. “Basketball’s a game of spurts. Who’s going to make their run and can we respond to their run. We were able to respond to their run. That kind of kept us where we’re at.”
Monrovia coach Steve Goldstein agreed.
“We’ve had a lot of that this year,” Goldstein said. “Our good spurts are good and our bad spurts are pretty bad. We cut it to seven and they went on a 16-2 run there. We just haven’t been able to get enough consistency this year. But we play really well in spurts.”
Goldstein added he felt both teams battled well.
“It was physical,” he said. “We just didn’t handle the pressure out there early on, didn’t get a lot of loose balls and rebounds we probably could have. That’s where they got their separation.”
Leading the Aztecs was Adam Thompson with 17 points. Thompson shot 6-for-15 from the floor and 3-for-5 from the free throw line to go along with eight rebounds and three assists.
Helping out Thompson was Betram Mak’s 14 points. Mak was 6-for-13 shooting and 2-for-4 from the free throw line. He also picked up eight rebounds and four assists.
Also scoring in double digits were Bailey Kikuchi and Trey Shishima, who each scored 11 points. Kikuchi also had three rebounds and three assists, while Shishima had five rebounds and five assists.
Duong said he was very pleased with Shishima’s performance.
“He was solid with the ball and was aggressive,” Duong said of Shishima.