Villa Park delivers strong effort to win CIF-SS playoff battle with JSerra
VILLA PARK – Villa Park picked the best time to play its best game.
The Spartans defeated JSerra 71-60 Wednesday in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 boys basketball playoffs at Villa Park.
Villa Park (15-11) will play a second-round home game against Peninsula of Rolling Hills Estates, which beat Roosevelt of Eastvale on Wednesday.
JSerra (18-9 overall) finished fourth in the Trinity League and are No. 3 in this week’s Orange County top 10. They were No. 7 in the final CIF-SS Division 1 rankings.
Julien Franklin led Villa Park with 24 points. The 6-foot-6 junior guard who committed to Oregon State scored 11 in the fourth quarter. He had seven rebounds and three steals, and made four free throws in the final minute.
Matt Lanzone scored 20 points with seven rebounds for the Spartans. The 6-4 senior forward made six of nine 3-point shots and made Franklin a happy teammate.
“He’s my favorite player I’ve ever played with,” Franklin said. “He gets every board, he hustles, he does everything the coach wants him to.”
All eight Spartans who played significant minutes did something to contribute to the win. That began early – five Spartans scored in the first quarter.
“We don’t win this game,” Villa Park coach Kevin Reynolds said, “unless everybody plays well. By far this is the best we’ve played all year.”
— Steve Fryer (@SteveFryer) February 15, 2018
As well as they played, no Spartan could do much about JSerra’ Joel Mensah. Mensah, a 6-11 senior who signed with San Diego State, scored 32 points. He made 9 of 16 shots, scoring off of offensive rebounds, tossed in a left-handed hook shot while crossing the lane, and put in all sorts of 10- to 16-foot jump shots but was disciplined enough to not overdo it. (He attempted no 3-pointers.)
Lanzone’s final 3-pointer was his biggest one. He made one from the baseline with just under two minutes remaining to give Villa Park a 64-59 lead.
Villa Park had a 17-14 lead at the end of the first quarter and took a 32-29 advantage into halftime. The Spartans carried a 49-47 lead into the fourth quarter.
Mensah converted a three-point play midway through the fourth quarter to give the Lions a 56-54 lead.
Lanzone made a 3 with 3:15 to go to put Villa Park ahead to stay 59-56.
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