The Lodi Flames used a pesky defense to beat the Tokay Tigers 58-48 Tuesday to advance to the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs in varsity boys basketball.
The Flames limited the Tigers to 30 percent shooting and forced 11 turnovers in the game at the University of the Pacific's Spanos Center.
The Flames will face No. 3 Modesto Christian Crusaders, a 74-68 winner over Armijo, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Arco Arena.
|Reed Doucette, left, of the Lodi Flames, looks for
room against Brian Campbell, of the Tokay Tigers, during Lodi's
58-48 win Tuesday at the University of the Pacific's Spanos Center.
The No. 2 Flames (27-4) challenged the No. 7 Tigers (20-11) from the opening tip-off and held an 18-10 advantage after the first quarter. The Flames extended the lead to 30-14 at the half.
The Tigers connected on only 5-of-23 field goals and only 3-of-6 from the line. Tokay's Jeff McDaniel finished with six points and five rebounds in the half.
"The first half killed us," Tokay point guard Bobby Caffese said. "We didn't come ready to play."
The Flames, on the other hand, were hot, making 50 percent of their shots and connecting on 13-of-19 from the free-throw line.
Ezra Kiedrowski finished with 13 points in the half, including 6-of-8 from the line. Tyler Kidd added six points for Lodi.
The Flames outrebounded the Tigers 18-13.
"We have preached to our players the importance of rebounding and holding teams to one and out on offense," Lodi coach Ken Green said.
The Tigers came out blazing in the second half and ran off four unanswered points to cut the Flame lead to 12 early in the third quarter.
Kevin Hasenfus scored to push Lodi's lead to 18 points, 38-20, with just over four minutes to play in the quarter.
The Tigers outscored the Flames 12-6 the remainder of the third.
Khayree Ford connected on a 3-point play early in the fourth to cut the lead to 11 points.
Later in the quarter Lodi's Scott Woznick hit a 3 to increase the Flames' lead to 53-40 before McDaniel connected from behind the arc to cut the lead to 53-46 with two minutes and 14 seconds to play. But the Tigers would never claw any closer as Jeff Pepper hit two key baskets and a free throw down the stretch to hold off the rallying Tigers.
"Woznick's 3 was the biggest shot of the game and Pepper came up big off the bench for us," Green said.
Kiedrowski led all scores with 20 points, Pepper finished with nine, Kidd hit for eight, Reed Doucette and Kevin Hasenfus added seven apiece and Woznick scored five points for the Flames.
"We know we could have beat them, but we dug ourselves a hole in the first half that we couldn't overcome," Caffese said after an eight-point, six-rebound performance. "If we play like we did in the second half all game we win that game."
McDaniel finished with 19 points and eight rebounds, Ford netted eight points and Matt Loechler added six points in the losing cause.
"To Tokay's credit they never gave up," Green said. "They kept battling, which is what really good teams are made of.
"We came out aggressive and even when Tokay made its run we stayed aggressive."
Green said he looks forward to his team gaining some rest and having a solid day of practice in preparation for the Crusaders.
"We need to stay close on the boards, be aggressive on offense and keep things simple. Modesto Christian is a good team. We must do the little things to win," he said.
If the Flames beat Modesto Christian, they will face a familiar foe in the championship game Saturday.
No. 4 Vallejo, which will play No. 1 Sheldon on Thursday, has knocked Lodi out of the postseason the past two seasons. Last season, the Flames - ranked No. 12 last year - upset Sheldon (No. 5) in the first round of the playoffs.
In other games:
(1) Sheldon 69, (9) Lincoln 56
Maurice Miller scored 27 points and Roman Moniak finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds as the Huskies beat the Trojans to advance to the semifinals.
(4) Vallejo 78, (5) Modesto 61
Demarcus Nelson netted 38 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals as the Apaches advanced to the semifinals past the Panthers.
(6) Modesto Christian 74, (3) Armijo
David Paris led the Crusaders with 22 points and 10 rebounds and Scott Miles added 16 points and nine boards as Modesto Christian upset the Indians to advance.
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