By Damien Alvarado - Student Reporter
In the first round of the Southern Section basketball playoffs, the Los Altos Conquerors came out on top beating Crossroads 81-70. Senior guards Jarod Lucas and Matthew Barrera led the way combining for 59 points. A flurry of threes and rebounds off the glass were key in the Conquerors victory.
After an impressive week that included a record breaking performance by senior Jarod Lucas, the Conquerors looked poised and ready to battle against Crossroads. The amount of talent and size on Crossroads' depth chart was unbelievable however, with many of their athletes over 6 feet. Top players included, sophomore Shaqir O’Neal and 6’10 freshman Henri Adiassa.
Los Al's Jarod Lucas recently became the Southern Section’s all-time leading scorer after scoring 101 points in last weeks’ final two games. This was great for the Conquerors because it allowed the fans and the team to focus on playoffs. On the other side, Crossroads has struggled throughout the year and their youth showed in the game.
Crossroads won the tip and the game was off and running. The Roadrunners tried to feed the big man Adiassa, but Los Altos sophomore center Christian Cavanias planted his feet and drew a charge. Height did not matter to Cavanias, he was outsized but he did not get pushed around. He grabbed multiple rebounds and converted on second chance buckets all night. Los Altos jumped out to a early 11-3 lead mainly due to Cavanias.
“It hurts, standing there in the paint and taking the hit. It’s something I have to do, and giving him the body because no one wants the body. That is what helped me and my teammates throughout the game,” said Cavanias.
The Roadrunners were not going anywhere however, as they started chipping away at the lead before the quarter ended with a couple scores from Yuuki Okubu and Adiassa. Los Altos led after one 20-12.
Lucas dominated the second quarter as he took efficient shots and found Matthew Barrera open for the three multiple times.
“One thing about Matt Barrera and no one really knows this is that I come in, in the morning to shoot before school around six and he’s the only other guy here with me. We get up at least about 300 shots, 300 makes, and the last couple games he hasn’t been able to shoot, but when teams double me, he made shots. He had a great game tonight," Lucas said.
In the second quarter, the Conquerors also won the battle down low in the paint, grabbing rebounds nonstop and playing aggressive defense. Cavanias allowed the Conquerors to get multiple second chance points. The Roadrunners struggled to find their shot early but cut the lead down to 43-32 going into halftime.
In the third, Adiassa cut the lead to six with 6:10 left, but Los Altos senior guard Isaiah Barcelo drove down the court and drained a deep three to get Los Al rolling once again.
Crossroads got into foul trouble early in the third, which put Lucas at the line multiple times. This factor is what ultimately lost them the game due to Lucas' ability to draw the foul and drain the free-throw.
“We just came out and played our game, defended home court, you know we wanted it more than anybody and we have great guys that got the job done," Barrera said.
Crossroads trailed the whole game and could not break through. Barrera showed his jelly skills as he did an under the rim layup to put LA up 69-61 in the fourth. After two more Lucas free throws, Barrera sealed the deal with a clutch three from the corner with 1:12 left in the game. Los Altos went on to beat Crossroads 81-70 which improves their winning streak of 16 games.
Lucas and Barrera combined for a total of 59 points as Lucas had 36 and Barrera had 23. The two were torching Crossroads from deep all night.
Los Altos advances to the second round of the playoffs at Damien High School on Tuesday at 7pm. Damien dominated Los Altos a season ago but Lucas wants revenge.
“It’s going to be a great matchup, we are going to get ready they are going to get ready, and they are a great program. It honestly should be a good one,” said Lucas.