La Mirada Basketball

There was little indication before last week that La Mirada would cause nationwide ramifications by pulling two of the biggest upsets of the Southern California basketball season

There was little indication before last week that La Mirada would cause nationwide ramifications by pulling two of the biggest upsets of the Southern California basketball season.

 

The Matadors followed a 91-88 win over Cerritos Gahr on Monday with an astounding 67-65 victory against defending Division III state champion Artesia, holders of the current No. 1 state and CIF-Southern Section rankings.

 

La Mirada posted its shocker in Suburban League action against the Pioneers, considered by numerous high school publications as one of the top-10 teams in the nation.

 

Before tackling La Mirada, Artesia (17-1,5-1) had been crushing opponents by 30 to 40 points per game. Last season the Pioneers finished 33-1 and trashed La Mirada twice by scores of 68-32 and 82-41.

 

 La Mirada (15-5, 5-1) trailed until the final minute, when 6-foot-7 sophomore Derrick Williams calmly sank two free throws to make it 65-64 and teammate Josh Robbins followed with a steal and layup.

 

Artesia had a chance to tie after all-CIF senior James Hardin was fouled on a 3-point attempt with three seconds left in the game. Hardin, who averages 19 points per game could make 1-of-3 free throws.

 

Williams finished with 14 points and senior Taylor Siemens had 18 points to lead the Matadors.

 

La Mirada is unranked, however its wins against Artesia and Gahr, who at 19-3 holds the No. 3 spot in the CIF-SS Division I-AA, should give coach Larry Kaupang's team some consideration.

 

Kaupang is somewhat restricted at La Mirada due to his "walk-on" coaching status. He works a day job off-campus.

 

Robbins led the Matadors against Gahr with 28 points. Williams had 23 points with 11 rebounds, and Siemens nearly reached a triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists.

 

Two 6-foot-5 senior's, Keith McGill and Stephen Kaupang stepped up defensively in both upsets by averaging nine rebounds.

 

La Mirada entered its game with Artesia following a 71-61 loss to Suburban League rival Lakewood Mayfair (14-5), who Artesia defeated 66-62. All three schools are 5-1 in league.

 

The Matadors travel to Artesia for a rematch on Jan. 31 and finish the regular season Feb. 9 against Mayfair.

 

Artesia will play seven games in nine days, including a Jan. 30 trip to Duke University to play Huntington, West Virginia. Oddly enough, the Pioneers squeeze the trip to Durham between its Jan. 29 contest with Mayfair and the Jan 31 rematch with La Mirada.


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