By SHEL SEGAL
ALHAMBRA – Michael Granados scored 25 points, Laird Anderson, Jr. added 20 and the Keppel boys basketball team defeated visiting Bell Gardens 74-47 on Tuesday night in the Almont League opener for both teams. After surrendering the game’s opening basketball, Keppel (10-7, 1-0 AL) scored 11 straight points and led, 16-7, after one period.
Leading, 16-9, after one minute of the second quarter had past, the Aztecs went on a 10-0 run, capping it with a field goal by Anderson. Keppel went into the locker room at halftime leading, 38-24.
Anderson led the way in the third quarter, scoring seven points. Also pitching in was Nicholas Fong, who scored four of his six points in that frame.
Keppel coach Hung Duong said the Aztecs looked good on the court against the Lancers.
“It’s a good win,” he said. “Anytime you get a W in league, it’s a good win. (Bell Gardens) has always been tough and physical. We were worried about that physicality. The kids came ready to play today.”
He added he was pleased with the way his team played defense.
“We did a good job of pressuring,” Duong said. “We wanted the kids to pressure and they did a good job of pressuring. It’s just a matter of making shots and the kids made some shots today. If we make our shots we can be pretty tough.”
Duong also said while Almont League is pretty difficult, he thinks his team can do well if it stays level headed.
“We take it one game at a time,” he said. “Our goal as a coaching staff is to get a good game plan and just focus on each team. We feel can battle with anybody in league.”
Fong said he liked how the Aztecs played all around against Bell Gardens.
“Tonight, I felt like we found all the open spots in the zone,” he said. “We played solid defense and got several steals from them and just converted off of that.”
Anderson said there are some areas where the Aztecs could be doing a little better.
“When we’re up by a lot we need to work on not fouling,” he said. “We just need to maintain the lead because (Bell Gardens) just kind of came back at the end.”
Chris Ramos led Bell Gardens (4-14, 0-1) with 17 points.
Bell Gardens coach Al Cuevas said the Lancers didn’t help their own cause against the Aztecs.
“We didn’t take care of the ball very well,” he said. “Keppel, they’re not that good. We gave them a lot of easy baskets.”
He added Bell Gardens needs to start doing the basics a little bit better.
“We just need to take care of the basketball,” Cuevas said. “We turned the ball over like crazy. (Keppel) didn’t have to work very hard to score when you’re just giving up layups.”