By Ted Apodaca
Garden Grove High’s boys basketball team had an outstanding preseason, going 16-1. The Argonauts earned the top ranking in the early CIF-SS Division 5AAA poll heading into league and have remained there as of this week. Garden Grove took care of La Quinta, 68-45, in their league opener and the two are set to meet again Friday at Garden Grove at 7 p.m.
Garden Grove has improved to 21-1 and 5-0 in league play. La Quinta has looked like one of several teams that could challenge for the league title this year and the Aztecs (4-1 in league) have won four league games since the loss to the Argonauts. However, with another win over the Aztecs, the Argonauts would have at least a two-game lead in the race, with four left to play.
With big men Michael Nadeau and Tony Ta in the middle, they can create matchup problems for defenses with an effective inside out game.
“Our team’s finding its identity, playing with a lot of energy on defense,” Ken Frank said after the first win over La Quinta.
La Quinta fell behind early, but made a couple of runs to try and catch Garden Grove. After trailing 22-7, La Quinta went on an 11-6 run to cut the lead to 28-18. However, Garden Grove ended the second quarter on a 6-0 run of their own to take a 34-18 lead into halftime.
“I think we ran our stuff pretty well, our ability to get the ball to the big guys today was a little tougher because of their length,” La Quinta Coach Mark Sanchez said after the first meeting.
Sanchez said the Aztecs were able to do some good things, but just not enough to minimize a team as strong as Garden Grove.
“There are so many things you have to take away with that team, you take away one thing, they beat you with something else,” Sanchez said.
Outside shooting was key in the stretches when the Aztecs were able to pressure Grove. Sanchez said they are working to incorporate more players into the scoring to take pressure off the big players in the middle. La Quinta was ranked 8th in this week’s CIF-SS Division 5AAA poll.