Chargers can’t keep up with defending champs

Eisenhower’s boys basketball team is fast.

So fast, in fact, that Dos Pueblos coach Joe Zamora had his team playing 5-on-7 in practice to prepare. The strategy may have given the Chargers an idea of what they were up against, but it didn’t help them slow the Eagles down.

The defending CIF Division II-A state champs and three busloads of their fans came into Sovine Gym on Friday night and dispatched DP 75-46 in the second round of the Southern Section playoffs.

Matt McClenathen had 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his final high school game, but he and his teammates looked gassed by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.

Dos Pueblos guard Daniel Prichard

“They get up and down the court real fast, and they average like 90 points a game or something like that,” said McClenathen. “We were trying to slow the pace down, but they’re a great shooting team and there’s nothing we could do.”

Kiroy Gardner scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the first quarter for the Eagles, who took a 44-28 lead into halftime before scoring seven points in less than a minute to open the third quarter. The Eagles were hitting their pull-up jumpers, and when they drove they seemed to get to the hoop before DP could, leading to either makes or Charger fouls.

The hosts were whistled for 21 fouls on the night while Eisenhower had just 10.


“Guys like that — that can run and are quick and explosive to the basket — if you don’t see that on a daily basis it’s hard,” said coach Joe Zamora. “We were trying to recover more than getting out in front.”

The Eagles were cutting off the Chargers’ passing lanes all night, leading to 24 DP turnovers.

Though the game was already out of reach, it didn’t help when DP center Malik Heptot had to leave with a broken nose at the one-minute mark of the third quarter. It was a rough end to his career after the 6-9 center already missed the season’s first 20 games with a broken foot.

“I feel really bad for him, because he’s had a rough season as it is… Our kids really appreciate him and the hard work he’s put in,” said Zamora. “He’s meant so much to our program over the last three years, and not just on the court.”

Senior Daniel Prichard, nicknamed “Man-daid” for his numerous injuries, appropriately ended his career with a band-aid on his eyebrow after being cut.

Jay Larinan had eight points with eight rebounds and Pablo Miranda had eight points with three assists for the Chargers, who finish the season at 14-12. Eisenhower, now 24-5, got 15 points from Alex Varner and 13 from Bryan Bock.

“Obviously, we wanted to put pressure on them and they wanted to slow the game down. We had differing styles, but I think we hit a few shots and got the lead and kept going,” said fiery Eagles coach Steve Johnson.

Dos Pueblos was out-matched, but Zamora was proud of how his team went out.

“I asked them to battle the whole time, and they did for 32 minutes,” he said.


EISENHOWER — Gardner 23, Ireland 9, Lockett 2, Varner 15, Sayles 8, Garner 4, Bock 13, George 1. Totals 26 17-24 75.

DOS PUEBLOS — Prichard 2, Arroyo 3, Miranda 8, Rodriguez 2, Nelson 2, Larinan 8, Heptot 4, McClenathen 15. Totals 16 7-11 46.

Eisenhower…21  23  23  8 — 75

Dos Pueblos…16  12  12  6 — 46

3-point goals — E 4 (Gardner 1, Ireland 1, Varner 1, George 1), DP 1 (Arroyo). Total fouls — E 10, DP 21.