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Basketball News

Karlie Carlson

by Steve Fryer

ANAHEIM – The high school boys basketball playoffs are happening about three months later than they normally would.

Aliso Niguel vs. Servite on Friday was worth the wait.

Servite beat Aliso Niguel in overtime 71-69 in a CIF Southern Section Division 2A second-round game at Servite High.

Andrew Cook scored 40 points for Servite. Cook, a 6-foot-3 senior, became Servite’s single-season scoring leader with 608 points.

Aliso Niguel guard Brandon Novida scored 34 points. Wolverines junior forward Tyler Weaver scored 21 although he sat out segments because of foul trouble and fouled out in overtime.

Servite (16-13) will play at Dominguez (15-0) in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Aliso Niguel finished the season 10-7. The Wolverines (10-7) were Sea View League co-champions with San Juan Hills.

A free throw by Weaver with 14 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter gave Aliso Niguel a 60-57 lead. Cook took the inbounds pass, calmly dribbled his way into the front court and swished a 25-footer to tie it and force overtime.

“One of my teammates (Miguel De La Piedra) set a great screen,” Cook said. “I had some space and I shot it. I was pretty happy about that one.”

The teams traded the lead in the first minutes of overtime. The Friars took the lead for good, 67-65, when Cook scored off a rebound of his own miss, was fouled by Weaver for Weaver’s fifth foul, and made the free throw with 1:36 remaining.

Servite’s Bradley Smith made two free throws with 1:28 to go for a 69-65 lead. Novida made a 3-pointer from the corner to trim the Friars lead to one with 11 seconds left.

Aliso Niguel had to foul the Friars, and did so leading to two successful free throws by Cook for a 71-68 lead with seven seconds remaining. After that Servite fouled the first Aliso Niguel player to get the ball – Michael Vizcaino who made a free throw that left the score at its 71-69 final total.

Body contact was a frequent feature, as were great shots.

Cook did a LeBron James thing, rebounding the ball at the defensive end, dribbling through Wolverines the length of the court and making a backhanded layup. He was only 1 for 5 on 3-point shots, but did make shots from all sorts of locations inside the arc.

Weaver took over the game in the second quarter, scoring 11 points including three 3s. Aliso Niguel outscored Servite 20-10 in that quarter, killing the momentum Servite had built in the first quarter, to give the Wolverines as 30-27 lead at halftime.

Novida made clutch basket after clutch basket. He scored eight of Aliso Niguel’s 17 fourth-quarter points. Novida finished 15 for 17 at the free-throw line.

Servite coach John Morris was impressed by Novida and Weaver.

“Outside of the Trinity League,” Morris said, “those are the two best players we might have seen except for Damien and Fairmont and teams at that level.”

Cook was impressed, too.

“They were a very tough team,” Cook said. “But give credit to our coaches, because we had a very good game plan. And even though they (the Wolverines) went on some runs, we just kept trusting our coaching staff.”