Knights Can’t Close

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Good teams find different ways in which to win, especially late. St. Francis High’s basketball team was in position, only to fall short.

Last Friday evening, the Golden Knights were thwarted by Saugus, 58-52, in a pool-play contest of the La Canada Holiday Classic Tournament.

In the latter stages, St. Francis had an opportunity for the victory with a three-pointer, but the shot didn’t find the bottom of the net.

With about 30 seconds remaining, the Golden Knights turned the ball over, and when the Centurions’ Jeremy Gatewood made a layup, Saugus pulled in front 54-52.

It swelled to a four-point lead when Gatewood (16 points) nailed two free throws. A few seconds later, Gatewood drilled two more from the charity stripe.

Emerson Castaneda tried to carry the Golden Knights (3-4) on his broad shoulders by scoring a game-high 27 points with 12 rebounds.

St. Francis had a 40-39 advantage after three quarters, but relinquished the lead when Ryan Webb sank a three-pointer.

Castaneda responded by nailing a three, and also scoring a hoop as the Golden Knights moved in front 45-44.

Saugus (6-1) pushed its lead to 47-45 when Mitch Davis scored from close range, and Gatewood added a trey. A three-pointer by St. Francis’ Noah Willerford tied it at 48-48.

Meanwhile, Glendale didn’t have the services of center David Yetenikyan, who suffered a knee injury.

The result was a 61-47 loss to Bonita in the La Canada Holiday tourney as the Nitros (2-4) couldn’t penetrate the painted area, and were forced to take perimeter shots. This was a hit-and-miss proposition.

Bonita did most of its damage inside primarily because Yetenikyan wasn’t there to block shots, rebound, or control the tempo. The Bearcats’ front court tallied 36 points and pulled down 32 of their 46 boards.

The opening quarter was tied, but the Nitros saw Bonita (8-2) sail to a three-point lead after 16 minutes.

Bobby Casaburi (12 points) led Glendale with 10 points at the half, followed by Sevan Pogosyan’s nine points.

Pogosyan finished with a team-best 16 points, and tallied seven points in the first quarter.

The Nitros scored only six points in the fourth quarter, while Bonita had 10 of the first dozen points.

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