By Tim Peterson
(Duarte) – Duarte raced out to a big halftime lead and never looked back in a 87-47 rout of St. Monica Academy Friday night to advance to the CIF Division 5A Finals.
Danny Pina led the Falcons charge with 32 points overall, including 20 in a first half in which Duarte ran out to a 51-22 lead. The Falcons jumped out quick with a huge 29 point first quarter, then hit St. Monica with a 22-2 run to open the second quarter to ice it by halftime. Duarte outscored St. Monica 22-4 in the quarter for a 29 point lead at the break.
The Falcons cruised the rest of the way and Duarte Coach Earl Sanchez emptied his bench in the fourth quarter. The bench picked up right where the starters left off as they won the fourth 22-7.
Duarte had four players in double figures as Eli Baxter had 14 points including three three pointers, Devon Hensley had 12 inside, and Isaiah Aceves also nailed three from downtown and finished with 11.
St. Monica struggled mightily from the field all night. Peter Ford led the team with 16 points. In the second quarter the Crusaders shot two of 15 from the field managing just four points. St. Monica was never able to recover.
Next up for Duarte is a Finals matchup next weekend with Da Vinci Design Academy, 81-46 winners over Calvary Baptist.