Jazz Gardner leads Los Altos basketball past Diamond Bar with fifth triple-double – San Gabriel Valley Tribune
DIAMOND BAR >> Amid numerous coronavirus-related postponements in Southland, the Hacienda League men’s basketball opener continued as scheduled Wednesday between Los Altos and Diamond Bar – two teams that performed well during the tournaments in December.
An effective third quarter for Los Altos (10-3, 1-0) coupled with the shooting woes of the Brahmas in the third quarter, helped the Conquerors overcome a botched first half and secure a 54-35 victory.
The third quarter turned out to be a turning point as Conquerors’ 7-foot center Jazz Gardner proved to be the catalyst on both sides of the court. Gardner scored nine of his game-high 21 points on a 4 of 4 shot during the quarter and added a block to the Dikembe Mutombo. With 12 rebounds and 10 blocks, it was Gardner’s fifth triple-double this season.
When the Los Altos cross wasn’t blocking shots, it changed shots jumped and challenged all of Diamond Bar’s practices in the paint. Due to Gardner’s presence in the paint, the Brahmas only scored five points in the third quarter which helped push the Conquerors’ lead to double digits, 37-25.
The fourth quarter saw much the same as the Brahmas (8-8, 0-1) only managed to cut the game down to nine points before Los Altos finally secured the 19-point victory.
“We really had to fight tonight. But we got the win and that’s what’s most important, ”said Los Altos head coach Jeff Lucas. “It’s a good team and they were missing guys tonight as well. It’s a bit of a tough time for all of us during this time.
– Jorge Ramos (@byjorgeramos) January 6, 2022
Despite a second half much improved by the Conquerors, the Brahmas imposed their defensive pressure and their rigor to much success in the first half. The first half was down to two things, turnovers and 3s. The Conquerors, who had a significant size advantage, returned the ball more than 16 times in the first half and added nine more in the second half.
The Brahmas harassed Los Altos ball carriers every time on the pitch and was largely the reason neither side put more than six points clear in the first half.
Diamond Bar’s tenacious defense kept Gardner four points and Los Altos 10 points in the first quarter. However, Diamond Bar couldn’t capitalize on their success in defense as Gardner, along with the rest of Los Altos ‘long wing defenders, disrupted the Brahmas’ shot in the first quarter – they shot 2 of 16 from the field. As a result, they trailed the Conquerors 10-4.
The second quarter experienced the same offensive difficulties for the Brahmas, with one exception: their 3-point shot. Diamond Bar was 4 of 10 from beyond the arc in the second quarter and was only led by three, 23-20, at halftime.
“That’s absolutely a factor in why we were able to keep him close,” Diamond Bar head coach Henry Frierson said of his team’s defensive play in the first half. “We came up with a decent game plan and there were only a few moves that just didn’t work for us.”
Fifteen points in total in the second half by the Brahmas as well as a minor injury to the nose of junior goalie Malcolm Bell in the third quarter ultimately doomed Diamond Bar in the second half. Bell, who finished with a high 10 points, returned to the game at the seven-minute mark in the fourth quarter before being substituted about a minute later.
Bell didn’t play the remainder of the fourth quarter, but Frierson said he expects Bell to be ready next week.
The Brahmas’ home game Friday against Wilson has been postponed to a later date, Frierson explained after the game.
On Wednesday night, Los Altos expected to host Rowland on Friday at 7:30 p.m.