BBK: Wyatt’s 20 paces Owls past Patriots

Laguna Blanca's Pierce O'Donnell takes a baby hook over Providence's Matt Eaton on Wednesday. (Presidio Sports Photo)

Laguna Blanca’s Pierce O’Donnell takes a baby hook over Providence’s Matt Eaton on Wednesday. (Presidio Sports Photo)


It might be a friendly rivalry, but Laguna Blanca wasn’t in the mood to share with Providence on Wednesday. The Owls denied the Patriots a chance at sharing the Condor League championship in a 67-42 rout to secure their second consecutive league title.

“We did not want (to be co-champions) whatsoever so we stepped up, we played the best game of our season offensively and defensively, and I think it really showed,” said Laguna Blanca senior Spenser Wyatt.

The Owls jumped on the Patriots from the beginning and took a 21-9 lead after the first quarter. The third quarter saw Laguna score 26 points with a string of 3-pointers, second-chance points and fast-break baskets. By the time the fourth quarter began, the Owls held a 63-29 advantage.

Wyatt, who led the team with 20 points and six assists, combined with Stephen McCaffery, Pierce O’Donnell and Jose Espinosa to drive the offense. McCaffery, O’Donnell and Espinosa provided matchup issues for the Patriots and allowed the Owls to dominate the interior. Espinosa collected 13 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots.

The Owls said they fed off the energy created by an exciting victory over Besant Hill in their previous game. Laguna Blanca was able to avenge an earlier loss on a game-winning shot by Wyatt.

Laguna Blanca head coach Sal Rodriguez credited Philip Fauntleroy with his defense on Patriots leading scorer Matt Eaton. The Owls deployed a box-and-1 defensive scheme on the Patriots and limited Eaton to 13 points. Judah Luberto’s 14 points were a team-high.

“I feel really good because we’re peaking at the right time,” Rodriguez said.

The loss slides Providence down to third place in the league standings behind Besant Hill, forcing the Patriots to travel for the first round of CIF playoffs next week.

Patriots head coach Steve Stokes said his team didn’t do as good of a job contesting shots as they normally do which allowed Laguna to get comfortable from the start.

“I thought early on we didn’t really bring it,” Stokes said. “We didn’t really have that level of intensity that you need in order to win a championship game or a big game like this.”

Providence was coming into the game on a roll having won six games in a row.

“It’s never easy to lose a game like this, especially when you know what’s on the line, but we’re going to have to find a way to regroup and find a way to get ready for Friday and go into playoffs,” Stokes said.

Both teams have one more regular-season game before learning their CIF draws this weekend.

Laguna Blanca's Jose Espinosa defends the Owls' basket with teammate Stephen McCaffery, left.

Laguna Blanca’s Jose Espinosa defends the Owls’ basket with teammate Stephen McCaffery, left.