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Morse knocks Calexico from playoffs

February 20, 2001|By JON HINSHAW,Sports Writer

CALEXICO — It was a tornado of basketball when the Morse and Calexico high school boys basketball teams hooked up for a first-round CIF San Diego Section Division II playoff game here Monday.

The offenses duked it out in the first half as the squads played little defense. In the third quarter however, it was Morse that continued the fury and Calexico that lost its strength in a 28-5 Morse burst leading to a 75-57 Bulldog loss.

Morse held a 31-30 advantage at halftime but the Tigers' quickness proved more than the Bulldogs could handle in the second half. Morse point guard Eric Chamblee continually cracked Calexico's press and found his way to the basket for 13 of his game-high 25 points in the third period. Chamblee also dished three assists that led to seven more points in the period.

"They just beat our press really bad," said Calexico's Diego Lopez, who had a terrific game in the loss. "I guess we got a little lazy and they seemed to get quicker. Coming in we knew their guards would be fast and we worked on it in practice but it didn't work out."


Calexico jumped to a 4-0 lead with two easy buckets inside, both by Lopez. The Tigers turned it around and went ahead 12-6 midway through the opening quarter and had a 20-13 lead at the end of the period.

The Bulldogs showcased their firepower in the next eight minutes with an 18-point run to cut the deficit to one. Lopez scored six points and Rene Bucio added five in the surge.

"We weren't running hard in the first half. Calexico rebounded well and we had a hard time getting the ball downcourt," said Morse coach Bob Cavaiola, whose squad is 13-14 overall and finished 5-7 in the Eastern League.

The second half proved to be the difference.

After a Lopez jumper gave Calexico a 32-31 lead, the Tigers went on a 10-0 burst to go ahead 41-32. Bucio hit a jumper to break the streak but Morse responded with another 10-0 run for a 51-34 lead. Lopez hit a free throw to break that string, but the Tigers put together an 8-0 run to end the third quarter ahead 59-35.

Chamblee, who also had six rebounds and five assists, was aided by backcourt teammate Rey Guerrero, who scored nine of his 24 points in the quarter.

"In the third quarter we did a great job," Cavaiola said. "They weren't as quick as we were. I guess they're not used to inner-city basketball."

The Bulldogs (17-7 overall) were able to run with Morse in the period but their shots didn't go down. Besides missing five of six free throws, Calexico had two wide-open three pointers rim out and a couple of lay-ups pop out.

The Bulldogs tried to make a comeback in the fourth quarter against their speedy opponent. Lopez and company fought valiantly in an 18-8 run in the final quarter to cut the deficit to 67-53 with just under three minutes remaining. Lopez scored eight points in the final period and Luis Garcia threw in six.

In the final two minutes the Tigers broke Calexico's press for some easy baskets inside.

"We just didn't hit our shots and we didn't execute well," said Bulldog coach Juan Rodriguez about the third quarter. "I'm proud of this team, though. They didn't give up the entire season and they didn't give up in this game, either. This year was a big improvement over the past couple seasons and although we didn't win this game, we don't have anything to be ashamed of."

Lopez was Calexico's leading scorer with 21 points and added 12 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Bucio added 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

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