Brethren Christian has been a fixture in the quarterfinal round of the CIF Southern Section boys' basketball playoffs over the past several years. Getting there again, and then beyond, has been a goal all season for the Warriors who are on their way to the Elite Eight.
Third-ranked BC earned its sixth consecutive trip to the quarterfinals by holding off a determined Los Angeles Pilibos team, 52-42, in a Division 5AA second-round game at Ocean View High. The win sends the Warriors (23-4) to a matchup at 7 p.m. on Tuesday against Santa Monica Pacifica Christian (11-13) which on Friday upset No. 6-seed Pasadena Poly, 52-48.
"It feels good to be going back to the quarterfinals," BC Coach Jon Bahnsen said. "This was a tough game but we survived and are moving on. That's what it's all about at this point of the season."
It was a 47-42 game with just under 1:09 remaining when BC senior forward Patrick Poss came up with a key defensive rebound and at the BC end of the court, sophomore forward Cameron Griffin grabbed a huge offensive rebound off a missed free throw, hit a layup that made it 49-42. Griffin grabbed a defensive rebound after the Eagles missed a three-point shot, then drove the length of the court and was fouled on a drive to the basket. He hit one free throw with 38 seconds left to give the Warriors a 50-42 lead.
A steal by junior guard Brandon Bryson and ensuing, uncontested layin by Bryson with 12 seconds to play, finally allowed BC to put away pesky Pilibos.
"They were pesky, is right," Bahnsen said of the Eagles. "We played them in the playoffs two years ago, and they pretty much are the same type of team. They play hard and play physical."
BC was without two key players Friday with both junior forward Guy Demazeliere and senior forward Jack McInally sidelined with sprained ankles, said Bahnsen who expects Demazeliere to be back for Tuesday's game at Pacifica Christian. With the duo not available, Poss turned in a big performance for the Warriors.
"Patrick Poss had a great game and he deserves to be the player of the game," Bahnsen said. "He worked really hard tonight."
BC trailed just once, and that was at 2-0. The Warriors opened up a 12-point lead in the first quarter, were up nine (31-22) late in the second quarter, but couldn't shake the Eagles who were within 33-27 at the half. The Warriors scored the first five points of the second half, and again went into a double-digit lead at 40-29 when Bryson created a turnover which led to Griffin feeding Bryson for an easy layup.
BC took a 44-34 lead into the fourth quarter but again, Pilibos fought back. The Warriors used consecutive backdoor layups at the outset of quarter to draw within 44-38. The Warriors, though, got their lead back up to nine (47-39) on a three-point play by Griffin with 4:56 remaining.
Griffin led all scorers with 22 points. Bryson scored 13 and senior guard Caleb Keller had 11 points.
Bahnsen said that BC, the No. 2 team from the Academy League, has not advanced past the quarterfinal round of the playoffs the past five years.
"Our guys are aware of that," he said. "They had set a goal at the beginning of the season to get to the quarterfinals, and advance. "We're happy to have that opportunity Tuesday."
In other CIF Southern Section boys' basketball action Friday:
Edison 58, Rialto 43: The Chargers jumped out to a 29-15 halftime lead on visiting Rialto and went on to win the first round game of the Division 1A playoffs. The No. 6-seeded Chargers, 22-5 and the No. 2 team from the Sunset League, were led in scoring by junior guard Jake Haar who hit five three-point shots en route to a game-high 23 points, and junior guard AJ Garrity with 14 points.
Edison, now 22-5, will face either No. 11-seed Oxnard (Pacific View League No. 2) or Riverside Poly (Inland Valley League No. 4) in a second-round game at 7 p.m. next Tuesday.
Oak Park 70, Ocean View 33: The Seahawks couldn't sustain a strong start nor overcome the loss to injury of senior guard Evan Bunin in a second-round Division 3A game to the No. 4-seeded Eagles.
Ocean View, which tied for second-place in the Golden West League and finished the year 13-15, had defeated No. 13-seed Buena Park, 59-44, in a first-round game Wednesday.