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Les Willsey

Staff Writer,

Corona del Sol boys destroy Marcos de Niza in top 5 battle

Jan 15, 2013

When a team scores about half what they normally do they either had an off-night shooting or the opposition's defense was clicking.

Chalk up Corona del Sol's 71-39 demolition of host Marcos de Niza in a Division I boys basketball game on Tuesday night in the latter category.

"Defense was the key," Corona del Sol coach Sam Duane Jr. said. "They're a very good team. ...That's a team averaging 74 (75) points a game. Defense was the difference."

Corona (17-2, 11-0 power-ranking games) was No. 1 in the current power rankings. Marcos de Niza (14-4, 8-3 prg) was No. 5. The gap, at least for this night, was wider than the rankings indicate.

Junior guard Casey Benson scored 26 points and got the necessary complement in scoring in spurts from Adam Gleave (10 points), Bryan Siefker (9) and Cassius Peat (8). The Aztecs led throughout and wilted in one brief strech in the second quarter when their 23-9 lead melted to 25-19. Other than that, they were not in distress.

Marcos de Niza thrives on the scoring punch supplied by Richaud Gittens and Devin White. Both finished with 11 points, well below their averages of 18 and 15, respectively. Gittens couldn't get untracked in the second half, scoring just one point.

Corona, the defending Division I state champs, shot 58 percent from the field in the first half to 33 percent for Marcos in building a 33-21 advantage. The deal was sealed in the third when Marcos de Niza failed to score a field goal (0-for-7) and found itself trailing 48-28 with one quarter to play.

Corona also had a good night offensively not only in shooting, but in any situation. In sets the Aztecs were patient, particularly in the first half. When transition opportunities were there they took those. Benson was the constant scoring eight points in the first period, six in the second and eight in the third. Gleave scored six in the opening period, Peat six in the second and Siefker seven in the second half.

Siefker made a nice one-on-one spin move that resulted in a layup to end the first period and added an alley-oop, back-door dunk in the third period. He nearly belly-flopped on the way down, but bounced back to his feet  unscathed turning the wild Corona student section into a higher frenzy. The Aztecs hurt Marcos with back-door passes for layups often and found cutters a few times for easy scores as well.

"We had a lot of movement and made the extra pass," Duane Jr. said.