By Alex Gonzalez
Temple City — The La Canada Spartans completed a perfect 10-0 record in the Rio Hondo league Thursday night complements to Ryan Grande’s 22-points and Kyle Brown’s game-high 27-points in their 76-67 win over the Temple City Rams at Temple City High School.
“It feels great man. To come in here, their crowd has a ton of energy, pumping us up the whole game. I just love the atmosphere,” said Grande after the game.
From the tip, both teams traded baskets in front of a ruckus Temple City crowd. Nathan Kuoch and Tag Folk led the way for the Rams which gave them a 15-14 edge after the first quarter. Both Grande and Brown were able to keep within range of TC when the two combined for nine of the 14 points in the first frame.
As the second quarter unfolded, the Rams were able to push the ball on offense and opened the game up when they started to connect from beyond the 3-point line. Four different Rams were able to sink six 3-pointers giving them an eight-point advantage before the halftime buzzer.
Brandon Torimaru and Eric Khaw each converted two helping TC close out the second quarter and giving the Rams a 41-33 lead at intermission.
Once the second started, the Spartans defense changed the pace of the game and blanketed the Rams from trying to split the season series. After every made basket, La Canada went to a full-court man defense which slowed down the three-point shooting and forced turnovers as well.
With multiple turnovers and bad shot selections by the Rams, the Spartans were able to outscore TC 20-13 in the third quarter, only trailing the Rams by one heading into the fourth quarter.
The momentum continued for the Spartans once the fourth quarter started. With the full court man still in effect, that helped erase the eight-point deficit and tying the ball game up at 56 when the quarter started.
Grande led the way in the fourth, scoring nine of his 22-points in the final frame. He also collected six rebounds in the contest.
“Coach Hofman is always giving me a lot of confidence in practice and I’ve been here before, close games in the fourth quarter. I just try to play my best basketball.”
The Spartans took control of the game with 3:18 remaining when Torimaru was hit with a technical foul following a block. Grande then converted the free-throws giving his team a five-point edge and the ball.
La Canada then was able to control the clock and convert free-throws as the game ended.
The Spartans finished a perfect 10-0 in league and 18-10 overall. Temple City took second at 8-2 and the Rams were 18-9 overall. Both teams now await to see who their opponents will be in the CIF playoffs