By Jim Tortolano/Garden Grove Journal
No poodles need apply.
After Garden Grove defeated Rancho Alamitos 61-45 Friday night in the Argonaut gymnasium to maintain a tie for first place in the Garden Grove League, coach Ken Frank doesn’t see a romp to the title.
“A dogfight,” he said of the rest of the GGL season. “It’s going to be a real dogfight.”
Rancho, the defending GGL boys basketball champion, got out to a 2-0 start, but suffered a loss to La Quinta last Wednesday and then to the Argos Friday to fall to 2-2. Grove, posting three straight wins after dropping its opener, is at 3-1, tied up with the Santiago Cavaliers.
In this latest installment of the longest rivalry among area high schools, Grove built a 13-7 first quarter lead and extended the edge to 27-18 by the half. Early in the third quarter, Rancho pulled to within seven on Danny Lucatero’s inside score.
But after that, Grove ran off an 11-4 string that extended its lead to 40-26 with 3:28 left in the quarter to essentially put the game out of reach.
Both teams played with passion, but one of the deciding factors was Grove’s dominance of the boards. The Argonauts were especially successful grabbing defensive rebounds, keeping Rancho from getting second and third shots after a miss.
Grove was led by Edrick Torres and Josh Huff, who each tallied 16 points. Mitchell Hesla added 11 points for the winners. Rancho’s top scorer was Gary Lemus with 13.
Frank was pleased with his team’s effort and feels the Argos are rounding into shape. “The screens are getting better, the rotations are getting better. You work hard on these things in practice and now we’re seeing them in the game.”
Grove is now 11-7 overall, while Rancho goes to 6-13.
The Argonauts will host Bolsa Grande on Wednesday, then visit La Quinta on Friday. Rancho will host Santiago on Wednesday and then visit Los Amigos on Friday.