By Adam Stites/Garden Grove Journal
Garden Grove High’s boys’ basketball team remains undefeated, improving to 6-0 in league play after a 59-50 victory over Santiago Friday night, then followed that up with a title-clinching win on Monday night.
Despite taking a 35-24 lead to halftime, the Argonauts had to counter a late comeback by the Cavaliers that earned Santiago the lead. Garden Grove, led by senior Josh Webb’s 17 points, fought back to retake the lead late in the fourth quarter and earn the victory.
Head coach Ken Frank praised his team’s ability to play their best defense at the times when the need it most, “We clamp down at the right times like the last two minutes of last night’s game, the last half of the fourth quarter of the La Quinta game, the fourth quarter against Los Amigos.”
While the Argos are undefeated in Garden Grove league play with just four games until the postseason, they have had to rely on late game heroics in several games to come out with victories. Coach Frank, however, remains optimistic that his team will continue to improve as the season progresses and still has their best basketball ahead of them.
“What you have to consider is we were almost a month behind most teams because a lot of our poor kids were out winning the CIF title in football. When we finally got our team in mid-December we were way behind everybody else, and that’s why I really feel our best basketball is still in front of us.”
Despite Santiago’s clear height advantage, Garden Grove was able to out-rebound the Cavaliers thanks to 12 rebounds from Webb and an additional seven from junior Billy Teutimez. Coach Frank singled out Teutimez for praise when talking about his team’s ability to rebound.
“We’re undersized, Santiago had two kids that were a lot bigger than we were, but what we really try to do every single day in practice is blocking out. I’ve got a couple kids, a couple football kids that do a great job at blocking out. Billy Teutimez, for example, had four or five great blockouts on their two bigs.”
Santiago’s season, however, continues to head in the opposite direction. As the season approaches a close, the Cavaliers are 1-5 in league with all five of their losses coming within 10 points of victory. Santiago is not yet eliminated from playoff contention, but their fortunes would have to turn around quickly, starting with a victory against Rancho Alamitos on Thursday, Feb. 3 in their home gym.
The Argos locked up at least a tie for their third straight GGL championship with a 69-49 win over Rancho Alamitos. Grove is 7-0 with three games left to play.